Elvis Presley’s manager controlled the King: ‘Not a good man’

Elvis Presley’s manager controlled the King: ‘Not a good man’

The person behind Elvis Presley additionally locked down the lady beside him.

Presley’s supervisor Colonel Tom Parker was so controlling, he pressured the rock star into marrying Priscilla Beaulieu on Could 1, 1967. Decided to get these “I do’s” completed, Parker even organized the entire marriage ceremony on the Aladdin resort in Las Vegas, the place the inveterate gambler had a historical past of harmful money owed.

“He wished him tied all the way down to a girl so there wouldn’t be any scandals about girls,” mentioned James L. Dickerson, whose 2001 e-book “Colonel Tom Parker: The Curious Lifetime of Elvis Presley’s Eccentric Supervisor” was bought by Warner Bros. for the brand new “Elvis” film — starring Tom Hanks as Parker — opening on Friday.

“He thought-about girls a foul affect on Elvis.”

Priscilla was solely 14 when she met Elvis — 10 years her senior — whereas he was stationed in Germany with the U.S. Military; three years later, she would transfer into Graceland earlier than tying the knot with him at age 21. Presley — who had dated the likes of Ann-Margret, Natalie Wooden and Rita Moreno — was reluctant to wed the ingenue and cool down.

Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu on Could 1, 1967.Popperfoto through Getty Pictures

However the colourful, controversial Parker prevailed. He had an intense affect on the person who could be the King ever since discovering him and turning into his supervisor in 1955.

“I feel Elvis simply was afraid that if he stood as much as Parker, he would mess every part up,” mentioned Dickerson. “I feel he was simply frightened of that.”

An unsolved homicide

Born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk within the Netherlands in 1909, Parker had such a shady previous that there have been rumors that he was concerned within the homicide of Anna van der Enden in his hometown of Breda. The 23-year-old grocer’s spouse had been viciously bludgeoned in Could 1929 close to Parker’s household dwelling, shortly earlier than he left the nation.

To at the present time, although, the case stays unsolved. 

The King, Elvis Presley, performing in 1956.Hearst Newspapers through Getty Imag

“There’s actually no proof,” mentioned Dickerson. “However we all know that Colonel Parker was not likely a great man.”

Illegally immigrating to the US as a stowaway in 1929, he adopted the identify Tom Parker. “He thought it sounded very American,” mentioned Dickerson. And utilizing his beginning identify, he added, “would establish him as an immigrant.”

Early on, he traveled the States as a carny: “Individuals would purchase tickets to see the Dancing Chickens, and he had a sizzling plate they had been standing on to make them dance,” mentioned Dickerson.

He additionally briefly served as a personal within the military, however after he abandoned he went to navy jail till he was launched, reportedly resulting from a psychotic breakdown. (Parker would get the honorary “Colonel” title within the Louisiana State Militia for work that he did on the election marketing campaign of governor Jimmie Davis, who was a former nation singer.)

Finally, he moved to Nashville, the place he started working with nation singers reminiscent of Eddy Arnold and Hank Snow. And when Parker got down to handle Presley, he used Snow to assist persuade the younger singer’s dad and mom.

Elvis Presley with supervisor Colonel Tom Parker as he’s discharged from the Military in 1960.Bettmann Archive

“He plotted and fashioned an affiliation with Hank Snow,” mentioned Dickerson. “He knew that Elvis’ mom liked Hank Snow. So he took Hank Snow with him to speak to the mom and father.”

However then Parker promptly reduce Snow out of the deal to handle Presley. “That they had a enterprise association that fell aside,” mentioned Dickerson. “And Hank Snow mentioned that Parker was the bottom human being that had ever walked the earth.”

‘He by no means appreciated music’

Though Parker would go on to assist Presley change into rock’s first celebrity with hits reminiscent of “Heartbreak Resort,” “Hound Canine” and “Don’t Be Merciless,” the 2 didn’t precisely love one another tender.

“Parker was sufficiently old to be Elvis’ father, however they didn’t have that type of relationship in any respect,” mentioned Dickerson. “I don’t know that they ever hit it off.”

Elvis Presley pretends to carry a gun on supervisor Colonel Tom Parker within the early ’60s.Redferns

In reality, Parker didn’t even have essentially the most primary factor in widespread with Presley: “He didn’t significantly like music,” mentioned Dickerson. “He by no means appreciated music. He didn’t hearken to music.”

Nonetheless, Parker definitely profited disproportionately from Presley’s document gross sales and live shows, taking a much bigger reduce than the norm. “He began out at 25 p.c, which was excessive,” mentioned Dickerson. “Fifteen p.c was regular.”

However after Parker’s large playing money owed had gotten him into large hassle in Las Vegas, he hiked his proportion as much as 50 p.c. “His vice was playing,” mentioned Dickerson. “He might lose 1,000,000 {dollars} in a single evening in Vegas.” 

Parker additionally pushed Presley to shift his focus from music to motion pictures. And though Elvis had success with movies reminiscent of 1957’s “Jailhouse Rock,” Dickerson believes that motion pictures in the end damage Presley’s profession — particularly after he returned from a two-year stint within the Military in 1960. 

Tom Hanks and Austin Butler as Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley within the new film “Elvis.”

“It killed his music,” he mentioned. “Parker branded him as a film star, however he received horrible roles.”

Elvis additionally missed out on doubtlessly profitable world excursions, presumably as a result of Parker didn’t have a US passport.

And after Elvis’s large comeback TV particular in 1968, the next 12 months Parker signed Presley to a long-term deal performing in Las Vegas that snuffed out his momentum — and his mojo. “It simply broke his spirit,” mentioned Dickerson. “He was a profoundly sad man.”

Certainly, it was throughout these Vegas years that Presley received deep into abusing prescribed drugs. He died on Aug. 16, 1977, of a coronary heart assault.

James L. Dickerson’s e-book “Colonel Tom Parker: The Curious Lifetime of Elvis Presley’s Eccentric Supervisor” was bought by Warner Bros. for the brand new “Elvis” film.

Parker was nonetheless wheeling and dealing when he got here to the funeral carrying a baseball cap and a Hawaiian shirt. “He tried to make offers with the individuals there,” mentioned Dickerson.

And he continued to revenue off Elvis after his demise, receiving 50 p.c of his royalties till settling out of court docket with the Presley property in 1983. It’s been estimated that the deal earned Parker $100 million.

Though Parker himself would reside for an additional 20 years after Presley, till 1997, an enormous a part of him died with Elvis. “He was primarily dwelling prior to now,” mentioned Dickerson.

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