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Who is Colonel Tom Parker? Elvis Presley’s director plays Tom Hanks in new movie

Colonel Tom Parker was one of the most important people in Elvis Presley’s life, and as such was a hugely influential figure in the history of rock music.

But who is the man who ran the biggest rock star on the planet, and what happened to him?

  • Who is Colonel Tom Parker?

    Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley.

    Photo: scientific


    Colonel Tom Parker was a musical entrepreneur who was Elvis Presley’s manager.

    Previously a carnival operator, Parker moved into music promotion in 1938, working with famous singers Jane Austen, and then country singers Eddie Arnold, Hank Snow, and Tommy Sands.

    He also aided in Jimmy Davis’ campaign to become governor of Louisiana.

    Parker discovered the then-unknown Elvis Presley in 1955. He soon became Presley’s only representative. Within months, Parker had won a recording contract with Elvis RCA Victor.

    Elvis quickly achieved commercial success in 1956 with his first single, Heartbreak Hotel, and then went on to become one of the world’s most famous and successful artists.

    Parker received more than half of the income from the early success of Elvis, which at that time was an unprecedented figure for a music director.

    The manager negotiated Elvis’ expensive business deals, television appearances, and acting roles, but declined offers to allow Elvis to tour abroad, possibly due to his illegal immigrant status, which he would have revealed.

    He also had an influence on Presley’s decisions to accept military service in 1958, and marry Priscilla in 1967.

    Parker rarely saw him after Elvis’ return in 1968, but he continued in his managerial role until Presley’s death in 1977.

  • Where was Colonel Tom Parker from and what was his real name?

    Tom Parker was born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk on June 26, 1909 in Breda, Netherlands.

    He was the seventh of 11 children. At the age of fifteen, Van Kuijk moved to Rotterdam, and two years later he began to want to escape to the United States to “make his fortune”.

    He entered America illegally by jumping off his employer’s ship. During his first visit there, he traveled with the Chautauqua educational tent, before returning briefly to the Netherlands.

    at Colonel, Parker’s biography, Alanna Nash claimed that there were questions about a murder in Breda that Parker might have been a suspect. This may have prompted him to avoid seeking a passport.

    In 1929, Andreas returned to the United States at the age of twenty, to find work with carnivals. He joined the US Army soon after, taking the name “Tom Parker” from the same name as the officer he interviewed for.

    He served for two years in Hawaii and then Florida, but went without leave and was charged with desertion. He was punished with solitary confinement, which led to a stint in a mental hospital.

  • Was Colonel Tom Parker a real colonel?

    Elvis Presley with Colonel Tom Parker

    Elvis Presley with Colonel Tom Parker.

    Photo: Getty


    In 1948, Parker was awarded the honorary rank of colonel in the Louisiana State Militia from Jimmy Davis, then-governor of Louisiana, and former country singer, in exchange for Parker’s campaign work.

    The rank was only honorary, as Louisiana had no organized militia.

    However, Parker used the title for the rest of his life, and became known simply as “The Colonel”.

  • Is Colonel Tom Parker married and has children?

    Tom Parker Elvis Presley

    Tom Parker, Director of Elvis Presley.

    Photo: Getty


    In 1935, while traveling with a circus, Parker met and married 27-year-old Mary Frances Mott.

    Mary had been married twice before and had a son from her first marriage.

    Some historians have had doubts about whether they were legally married at all. Author Alanna Nash suggested that perhaps the couple simply got their hands on a Bible and gave themselves a “skinny wedding.”

    During the 1960s, after many years of ill health, Mary began showing signs of dementia. Parker began to distance himself from her, and she died on November 25, 1986, of chronic cerebral syndrome at the age of 78.

    In 1990, Parker married Loanne Miller, his secretary since 1972.

  • When and how did Colonel Tom Parker die?

    Parker last appeared in public in 1994. He became so ill with diabetes, gout, and other health problems, he barely left his home.

    On January 20, 1997, Parker had a stroke. He died the next morning in a hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the age of 87.

    His funeral was held at the Hilton and attended by Eddie Arnold, Sam Phillips, and Priscilla Presley, who gave a eulogy: “Elvis and the Colonel made history together, and the world is richer, better, and more interesting because of their cooperation. Now I need to locate my wallet, because I notice there is no ticket booth in The way is here, but I’m sure the colonel must have arranged for some fee on the way.”

  • What was Colonel Tom Parker worth when he died?

    Elvis Presley and Colonel Parker

    Elvis Presley and Colonel Parker.

    Photo: Getty


    Parker ran Presley’s estate for the rest of his life, but he also sold the rights to Presley’s early recordings.

    In 1980, a judge ordered an investigation into the practices of the Parker administration, finding that the Parker administration was unethical.

    His gambling habit also greatly affected his huge fortune, and he died worth only about a million dollars.

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