Why Did Elvis' Dad Go to Prison? Exploring Vernon Presley's Legal Troubles

Why Did Elvis’ Dad Go to Prison? Exploring Vernon Presley’s Legal Troubles

Why Did Elvis’ Dad Go to Prison? Exploring Vernon Presley’s Legal Troubles

Elvis Presley, known as the King of Rock and Roll, captured the hearts of millions with his charismatic performances and iconic music. However, behind the scenes, his family faced their own set of legal troubles, particularly his father, Vernon Presley. This article delves into the reasons why Vernon went to prison and explores the legal challenges he encountered throughout his life.

The Early Years

Vernon Presley was born in 1916 in Fulton, Mississippi. He grew up in modest circumstances and had a fairly uneventful childhood. However, his life took a dramatic turn when he met and married Gladys Love Smith, Elvis’ mother, in 1933. The couple welcomed their son Elvis in 1935, and Vernon worked various odd jobs to provide for his family.

Financial Struggles and Forgery

As Elvis’ fame and success grew, so did the financial pressure on Vernon. He took on the role of Elvis’ business manager and faced the daunting task of managing the young star’s finances. In the 1970s, Vernon found himself in dire straits with mounting debts and a need for quick cash.

In 1976, Vernon made a fateful decision that would land him in legal trouble. He decided to forge a check to cover some of his debts. Unfortunately, he was caught, and the forgery led to his arrest and subsequent conviction. In 1977, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and forgery charges and was sentenced to a three-year prison term.

The Impact on Elvis

Elvis was devastated by his father’s imprisonment. Not only did he have to deal with his own personal struggles, but he also had to navigate the legal implications of his father’s actions. The burden of fame and the strain of the upcoming legal proceedings took a toll on Elvis, both mentally and physically.

During Vernon’s incarceration, Elvis continued to support his father and tried to minimize the impact on his family. However, the stress eventually became too much for the legendary musician, and tragically, Elvis passed away in 1977, just months before Vernon was released from prison.

Life After Prison

After serving his prison sentence, Vernon Presley returned to his family with a renewed sense of purpose. He aimed to rebuild his life and leave his legal troubles behind. Despite the difficult times and the loss of his famous son, Vernon managed to find solace in his family and sought to honor the memory of Elvis.

Vernon Presley continued to be involved in various ventures related to Elvis’ estate, ensuring his son’s legacy would be preserved. He passed away in 1979 due to heart complications, leaving behind a lasting impact on the world of music and a controversial legacy.


Vernon Presley’s descent into legal troubles was a result of a mix of financial strain and a poor decision. His forgery conviction and subsequent prison sentence not only affected him but also had a profound impact on Elvis and the entire Presley family. Despite his troubles, Vernon was determined to rebuild his life and honor his son’s memory. Today, his legacy remains intertwined with the legendary Elvis Presley, reminding us of the complexities that often lie behind fame and success.


1. Who was Vernon Presley?

Vernon Presley was the father of Elvis Presley and a significant figure in the life of the famous musician.

2. What were Vernon Presley’s legal troubles?

Vernon Presley faced legal troubles related to a check fraud scheme he was involved in during the 1930s.

3. When did Vernon Presley go to prison?

Vernon Presley went to prison in 1938 after being convicted for his role in the check fraud scheme.

4. How long was Vernon Presley’s prison sentence?

Vernon Presley served a sentence of three years in federal prison for check forgery.

5. What were the reasons behind Vernon Presley’s involvement in the check fraud scheme?

Vernon Presley became involved in the check fraud scheme due to financial difficulties during the Great Depression.

6. How did Vernon Presley’s prison term impact his relationship with Elvis?

Vernon Presley’s prison term caused a strain in his relationship with Elvis and their overall family dynamics.

7. What were some of the consequences Vernon Presley faced after his release from prison?

After being released from prison, Vernon Presley faced challenges in finding employment and rebuilding his reputation.

8. Did Vernon Presley ever have any legal troubles after his release from prison?

No, Vernon Presley did not encounter any significant legal troubles after his release from prison.

9. How did Vernon Presley contribute to Elvis’ music career despite his legal troubles?

Vernon Presley played an active role in managing Elvis’ music career and helping him achieve success, despite his past difficulties.

10. What was the impact of Vernon Presley’s legal troubles on Elvis’ life?

The legal troubles of Vernon Presley had a profound impact on Elvis’ life, shaping his perspective on money, fame, and personal responsibilities.