Elvis Presley: Fans gather at Graceland for funeral in 1977
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Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977 in his home, Graceland. The star was just 42-years-old at the time and died from a cardiac arrest before being discovered by his fiancée, Ginger Alden. His first funeral was held in private the following day on August 17, where his closest friends and family paid their respects to the late, great King. During this time, hundreds of fans congregated outside his grounds to show their support to the Presley family in this horrific set of circumstances.
According to the Lawrence World Journal, 300 people gathered outside the grounds to catch a glimpse of the proceedings.
Early in the morning, a speeding car struck a group of fans before driving away.
Two women were killed in the process, while a third was badly injured.
Captain Sam Martz of the police traffic division said the driver of the car was an 18-year-old male who was driving at 55mph in a 40mph zone.
The story goes that the driver swerved into the crowd at around 4am on the morning of August 18.
He was later charged with driving while under the influence of intoxicants and reckless driving.
Despite this absolute tragedy, later that day an enormous amount of people arrived at Graceland for the King’s funeral.
Elvis Presley stars in trailer for Double Trouble in 1967
Elvis’ public funeral was held later that day on the grounds of Graceland where more than 75,000 people attended.
Florists from all over the state brought flower arrangements to the event, and an estimated 30,000 fans passed Elvis’ coffin during a Memphis heave wave.
Flags across state buildings were lowered to half-mast and 300 national guard troops maintained order at the venue.
The funeral was not only attended by the fans of the King – but also his nearest and dearest celebrity pals.
Included in this line-up was none other than Ann-Margret, with whom he had a romantic love affair some 13 years prior during the filming of the film Viva Las Vegas.
Ann-Margret later revealed she held on tight to the hand of Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley.
Writing in her memoir, the Swedish-American star recalled: “There was so much to say, to recount. But instead, we cried.”
She then spoke of the last thing Elvis told his father about her.
Ann-Margret wrote in her book: “Vernon said softly: ‘He was so proud of you.'”
Vernon also later confirmed this meeting and chat.
He explained: “Because I was dazed with shock and misery, I didn’t see or recognise some of the people at the funeral.
“Ann-Margret and I hugged each other and cried together, but I didn’t even see her husband, Roger Smith, who was close by.”
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