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Elvis Presley’s Maid Said No One Talked to Him About His Drug Use Because They Wanted His Life to Be as ‘Comfortable’ as Possible



As the 1970s wore on, Elvis Presley’s drug use ramped up. The musician had long relied on sleeping pills to deal with persistent insomnia, but he took them in increasing amounts. Those who were close to him took note of this and felt concerned for his health. Still, they continued to give him drugs when he asked for them. Graceland cook and maid Nancy Rooks shared that everyone was too concerned with Elvis’ comfort to refuse him.

No one in Elvis Presley’s life wanted to talk to him about his drug use

Rooks worked for Elvis for years and grew familiar with the drugs he took to treat his insomnia and various ailments. She explained that after Elvis’ death in 1977, people often asked her if she recognized that his drug use had grown dangerous. Rooks said she was more concerned about the pain Elvis experienced.

“People have asked me over the years if I had seen how bad the prescription use had become,” she wrote in her book Inside Graceland: Elvis’ Maid Remembers. “As I look back on it, the only thing I can remember is watching him in pain a lot of the time, and seeing him feeling the tremendous stresses of keeping up with a schedule that would have been impossible for most people to tolerate, and I think it just became normal to see him trying to do things to accommodate that demand.”

Still, Rooks and the other people in Elvis’ life felt concern for him. They were more worried about his overall comfort, though.

“It’s not that so many of us were not concerned for him, it’s just that it became so routine,” she said. “Looking back on it, I remember Aunt Delta telling me, just several months before, as we stood out by the racquetball court one morning, that she was afraid that if ‘If he doesn’t stop taking so many drugs, I’m afraid he’s going to die.’ But, even so, she continued to take him whatever medications he would ask for. We just all wanted to try and make his life as comfortable for him as we could.”

Priscilla Presley said her husband believed he knew what he was doing

While Rooks’ main concern was Elvis’ comfort level, others were afraid to confront him. Elvis believed he knew what he was doing, and he did not want to hear anyone tell him otherwise.


“People go, well why didn’t anyone do anything?” Priscilla Presley said, per People. “Well, that’s not true. People there in the inner group did, but you did not tell Elvis Presley what to do. You did not. I mean, you’d be out of there faster than a scratched cat. They would try and no way. He knew what he was doing.”

Whenever she questioned him during their relationship, he would pull out medical books to prove he’d read about every drug he took.

Frank Sinatra reached out to Elvis Presley about his drug use

As Elvis’ health declined, even people outside his inner circle grew concerned for him. In 1975, Frank Sinatra, who had once despised Elvis, reached out in an effort to help him. After he called Elvis, who was in the hospital in Memphis, Sinatra recounted the conversation to Tom Jones and publicist Chris Hitchens.

A black and white picture of Frank Sinatra and Elvis standing together. They both wear suits.

“I told him he’s got to look after himself and quit fooling around,” Sinatra said, per Express. “He’s too young to die, and I told him so.”

Elvis died of a heart attack in 1977.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

Source: Cheat Sheet


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