The King of Rock ‘N’ Rock wouldn’t have reigned if it weren’t for his Colonel. To fans across the country, Elvis Presley seemed to shoot to megastardom after his 1956 national TV appearance on Stage Show, but the young singer’s career was carefully orchestrated by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, a Dutch immigrant and shrewd businessman who got his early training on the circus scene and as a cross between P.T. Barnum and W.C. Fields.

Parker immigrated to the United States as a stowaway

雷电竞娱乐Much of Parker’s early years are shrouded in mystery, possibly because he was an illegal immigrant who didn’t have a passport or become a naturalized American citizen. Though he claimed he was born in Huntington, West Virginia, his actual identity was uncovered when relatives spotted him in a photo with Presley.

, as a ship stowaway.


for Presley. He released his hits “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Blue Suede Shoes," toured the country from coast to coast, appeared on Stage Show and Ed Sullivan Show among other TV appearances, and filmed and released his first movie, Love Me Tender. 雷电竞娱乐But by March of that year, Neal was out of the picture and Parker was managing Presley full time.

Elvis Presley grins as he hands his mustering out pay to his business manager Colonel Tom Parker

雷电竞娱乐After being discharged from the Army in March 1960, Elvis Presley handed his pay to manager Colonel Tom Parker

Parker took 50 percent of Presley's earnings

Presley and Parker’s relationship throughout the years was complex. Parker pulled all the strings, including Presley’s entry into the Army, his movie deals and his Las Vegas comeback. Presley never toured abroad — perhaps because of Parker’s illegal citizenship status. On top of that, Parker was known to take half of Presley’s earnings. When asked in 1968, Parker responded, “That’s not true at all. He takes 50 percent of everything I earn.”

With Presley as his sole client, much of whether Parker defrauded the King came out after both of their deaths. Memphis judge Blanchard Tual investigated the estates on behalf of a then-12-year-old Lisa Maria Presley. Tual found that the 50 percent cut was extreme, as the standard was 10 to 15 percent, and also found that Parker had defrauded about $7 to $8 million in three years, never registered Presley’s songs for royalties and sold off 700 songs for $6.2 million (while Presley got $4.6 million).

While the case was settled out of court in 1983, the discoveries revealed more of the complicated nature of between the musician and manager. Their relationship through the decades will become the subject of yet-to-be-titled upcoming biopic by director Baz Luhrmann, starring Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor Austin Butler as Presley and Tom Hanks as Parker.