Who was Colonel Tom Parker and what happened between him and Elvis Presley?

ELVIS Presley’s life is back in the spotlight thanks to new Baz Luhrmann’s new biopic.

In the Elvis movie Tom Hanks plays The King’s manager Colonel Tom Parker.

Who was Colonel Tom Parker?

Colonel Tom Parker was a musical entrepreneur who was the manager of Elvis Presley.

Born in the Netherlands on June 26, 1909 and called Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk, Tom emigrated illegally to the United States at the age of 20.

He changed his name and claimed to have been born in the United States, and his Dutch birthplace and immigrant status were not revealed for many years

Previously a fair worker, Tom moved into music promotion in 1938, where he worked with Gene Austin, and then country singers Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, and Tommy Sands.

Elvis Presley with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker

Elvis Presley with his manager, Colonel Tom ParkerCredit: Alamy

How did Colonel Tom meet Elvis Presley?

Tom discovered the then-unknown 20-year-old Elvis Presley in 1955.

He quickly became the singer’s sole representative, and within months he had won Elvis a recording contract with RCA Victor.

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Elvis soon had his first commercial breakthrough in 1956 thanks to the single Heartbreak Hotel.

After this he became one of the biggest singer of all time.

What happened between them?

Colonel Tom is credited as being the man who made Elvis Presley a star.

He received more than half of the income from Elvis’s early success, which at the time was an unprecedented figure for a music manager.

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The manager negotiated Elvis’s expensive merchandising deals, TV appearances, and acting roles, but turned down offers to allow Elvis to tour overseas, potentially due to his status as an illegal immigrant, which would have been exposed.

He was also influential in Presley’s decisions to accept military service in 1958, and to marry Priscilla in 1967.

Tom rarely saw him after Elvis’s comeback in 1968, but continued in his management role until the singer’s death in 1977.

How did Colonel Tom die?

Tom made his last public appearances in 1994.

By this point, he was a very sick man stricken with diabetes, gout, and other health problems such that he could barely leave his own house.

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On January 20, 1997, Tom’s wife heard a crashing sound from the living room, and when she heard no response to her calls, she went in to find him slumped over in his chair. He had suffered a stroke.

Tom died the following morning at a hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, from complications to the stroke at the age of 87.