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Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) is a corporate entity created by the "Elvis Presley Trust" to conduct business and manage its assets.
After Elvis Presley's death, Elvis's will appointed his father, Vernon Presley, as executor and trustee. The beneficiaries of the trust were Vernon, Minnie Mae Presley (Elvis's grandmother), and Lisa Marie Presley.
After Vernon's death in 1979, Priscilla Presley was named as one of three trustees by his will. By 1980, Lisa Marie was the only surviving beneficiary named in Elvis's will.
Priscella and the new trust decided to open Graceland to the public, and in 1981 hired Jack Soden to execute the opening and oversee the operations. Graceland officially opened for tours on June 7, 1982. After Graceland opened to the public, the enterprise's fortunes soared and eventually the trust grew to be worth over $100 million.
According to Sean O'Neal, "Elvis is a cultural icon today, but he didn't become that way simply because of his talent and good looks. There was money to be made ... so a company was founded to create this icon, and it has controlled his image ... "
The author describes EPE as a "well-run marketing machine" that runs on tight regulation of Elvis's images and lawsuits, when necessary. EPE, for instance, "absolutely refuses to licence a product picturing an overweight Elvis." Since 1979 "EPE has filed more than a hundred lawsuits to assert the estate's exclusive right to Elvis's name and likeness."
Later, EPE was wholly owned by the "Elvis Presley Trust" and Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley until February 2005, when Robert F.X. Sillerman and his new media and entertainment company "CKX, Inc." acquired an 85% interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., including its physical and intellectual properties.
Lisa Marie Presley retains a 15% ownership in the company and continues to be involved, as does her mother Priscilla Presley. Lisa Marie retained sole ownership of the mansion itself, as well as her father's personal effects.
The company endeavors to turn Elvis Presley's former estate into an international tourist destination.
Graceland is now statistically the second most visited private residence in the United States, behind the White House.
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