Elvis Presley: Linda Thompson recalls in 2019 calling Graceland
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Although The King was with Ginger Alden when he died, they had only been dating for seven or eight months. Linda was Elvis’ last long-term girlfriend. They had split up in December 1976 after four years together, and many among the family and Memphis Mafia had expected them to marry. Elvis’ cousin Billy Smith recalled recently how Linda looked after Elvis and that the star himself had once said: “If I date somebody else and Linda is gone for a while, if I ever call her and say I need her, she’s there.” The former beauty went on to build a hugely successful career as a songwriter and married two other famous men. Linda still regularly appears on red carpets in her right, and often accompanied by her handsome and famous sons.
Elvis and Linda met at a private late-night film screening on July 6, 1972, to which the star had invited friends and, as usual, pretty girls. Linda’s brother was one of The King’s bogyguards but she was also Miss Tennessee Universe at the time. She went with Miss Rhode Island, Jeannie Lamay.
Linda later described how Elvis wasted no time approaching her: “He sat next to me and started pulling the old ‘yawn and putting the hand around the seat…’ He started nuzzling me and I said ‘Jeanie, we have to go.’
“And he said, ‘honey, you know I’m not married anymore…I’ve been separated since January and we’re getting a divorce. She’s met someone else and moved on.’ And I said, “I’m sorry to hear that, but you should have married a Southern girl.’”
Elvis and Linda were together until the end of 1976. Linda was regarded as a stabilising influence but finally gave up waiting for the star to settle down.
Billy Smith added: “She was there for him. When they parted, they parted friends. I think she loved him, I know he loved her.”
The couple did not have any children together but Linda went on to have two sons from her first marriage to world-famous athlete and Hollywood star Bruce Jenner.
In 1980, Linda met Olympic Decathlon gold medallist and world record holder Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn). At the time, he was a major international star, businessman, Hollywood actor and Playgirl cover model.
They married on January 5, 1981. Two sons followed, Brandon and Brody Jenner.
The marriage ended in 1986 but both sons became famous in their own right on shows like The Hills.
Before transitioning to Caitlyn, Bruce, of course, went on to marry his third wife Kris Jenner and became involved in the biggest reality TV show of all time.
Brody also appeared regularly in seasons 8-11 of Keeping Up With The Kardashians alongside his step-sisters Khloe, Kim and Kourtney, and half-sisters Kylie and Kendall Jenner.
Brandon followed his mother’s footsteps into the music business with his wife Leah.
Linda had also built her own successful entertainment career. As well as regular work on the country music variety television show Hee Haw she had small acting roles on Starsky & Hutch, Fantasy Island and Beverley Hills 90210.
From 1985, she also started a successful second career as a pop and country music lyricist.
Linda helped write songs for Kenny Rogers, The Backstreet Boys and Celine Dion, as well as Josh Groban’s debut hit To Where You Are.
She found herself at the heart of the music industry during her second marriage, to Canadian composer and producer David Foster from June 22, 1991 until 2005. His glittering career includes numerous hits for the likes of Barbra Streisand, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston.
Together, Linda and David were nominated for an Oscar for Houston’s I have Nothing from The Bodyguard, which remains the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time.
In 1996 they also wrote Dion’s Olympic anthem The Power of the Dream and in 2003 they won an Emmy for their song Aren’t They All Our Children?
In the past two decades, Linda has remained a fixture on film and music red carpets, often with Brody on her arm. She lives in Malibu, California, near her neighbour and longtime friend Jane Seymour.
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