Did Elvis’s tyrannical manager Colonel Tom Parker get away with murder?

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Anna van den Enden had been married for simply 5 weeks when her life was brutally ended, most likely with a crowbar, on May 17, 1929.

A greengrocer’s spouse aged solely 23, she was standing in her kitchen when she was struck with such drive that, in accordance with the police report, ‘a part of the mind got here by way of the proper ear’. The killer actually beat her brains out.

The homicide came about within the information/the-netherlands/index.html” id=”mol-7bc6e640-f279-11ec-a4df-91d1660605fc”>Dutch metropolis of Breda, and to today the case has by no means been solved.

One suspect was a younger docker, a month shy of his twentieth birthday, referred to as Andreas van Kuijk — later recognized to the world as Colonel Tom Parker, the irrepressible, manipulative showman who managed Elvis Presley from 1956 till the singer’s demise in 1977.

Parker masterminded Elvis’s meteoric rise to fame because the ‘King of Rock and Roll’.

He drew on his experiences as a fairground huckster to show a boy from poor white inventory in Tupelo, Mississippi, into the most well-liked entertainer on Earth.

He promoted Elvis tirelessly, making him a TV star, then a movie star. He even inspired the younger singer to enlist within the military on the top of his fame in 1958, realising that it will additional improve his popularity.

But Parker demanded a excessive value for his experience, pocketing as much as half of Elvis’s earnings and ruthlessly controlling his life.

The proof that hyperlinks Elvis Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker to Anna van den Enden’s homicide is alleged to be circumstantial however compelling. (Pictured: Elvis and Colonel Tom Parker, signing a file contract with RCA Victor, in October 1955)

In Baz Luhrmann’s new biopic, Elvis, which is launched within the UK this week, Parker is performed by a scarcely recognisable Tom Hanks, who speaks in a guttural accent beneath layers of latex.

It is an uncommon function for Hanks. He has two Oscars and 6 nominations to his identify in complete, however one of many unwritten legal guidelines of recent cinema is that he would not play baddies.

He received fairly shut in Bonfire Of The Vanities (1990) and Road To Perdition (2002), but it is just now, at 65, that he can add an undisputed villain to his checklist of credit.

Luhrmann’s film depicts Parker as a charismatic entrepreneur and sensible showman but in addition an unscrupulous rascal — a degenerate gambler who shamelessly exploited his protege with the intention to pay his personal huge money owed.

Yet, curiously, the movie hardly delves into Parker’s exceptional background. In specific, it makes nothing of the declare that he abruptly fled his native Netherlands hours after committing a horrible homicide, and adopted a brand new identification in America. 

The damning case towards Parker has been laid out most notably by creator Alanna Nash, a self-proclaimed Elvis nut, in her meticulously researched biography The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story Of Colonel Tom Parker And Elvis Presley.

Her principle was supported by one in every of Presley’s closest buddies. ‘I do not assume there’s any doubt that [Parker] killed that girl,’ mentioned Lamar Pike, one of many so-called ‘Memphis Mafia’, as Elvis’s internal circle was recognized.

In an earlier Elvis biography — Peter Guralnick’s acclaimed 1994 guide Last Train To Memphis — Parker is just not even revealed to be a Dutchman.

Guralnick appears to simply accept the self-styled Colonel’s personal insistence that he acquired his unusual accent rising up within the foothills of the Appalachian mountains after which working in a sequence of American travelling carnivals.

The damning case against Parker has been laid out most notably by author Alanna Nash, a self-proclaimed Elvis nut, in her meticulously researched biography The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story Of Colonel Tom Parker And Elvis Presley. (Pictured: Elvis with manager Parker, playfully holding a gun to him, in the early 1960s)

The damning case towards Parker has been laid out most notably by creator Alanna Nash, a self-proclaimed Elvis nut, in her meticulously researched biography The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story Of Colonel Tom Parker And Elvis Presley. (Pictured: Elvis with manager Parker, playfully holding a gun to him, within the early Sixties)

That latter half was true; the remainder was pure invention.

Parker was truly born in Breda in 1909, the seventh little one of a poor however respectable supply driver and his spouse.

By the time he was 9 he had connected himself to the gala’s and circuses that handed by way of city. The key options of his character took root early.

As Nash writes, these included a have to hustle somewhat than make money actually, and ‘his delight within the con as the best type of inventive achievement’.

The proof that hyperlinks him to Anna van den Enden’s homicide is circumstantial however compelling. Andreas van Kuijk nearly actually knew Anna — they went to the identical church.

He matched descriptions of the chief suspect, a person seen leaving her residence behind the grocery store’s store at across the time of the homicide. As a dock employee in close by Rotterdam, he was at all times wanting money and should properly have been interrupted throughout a housebreaking.

Moreover, the killer sprinkled pepper round Anna’s physique, presumably to cease police canines selecting up a scent. Andre or Dries, as he was recognized, had skilled circus canines and would have been conscious of that ruse. Finally, and most damning of all, he skipped city. His subsequent cease was America.

Parker had been to the U.S. earlier than. Two years earlier, he had crossed the Atlantic, maybe as a stowaway, and stayed illegally for 18 months engaged on travelling reveals and carnivals.

It’s potential that he was deported, or possibly he saved sufficient money to go residence. Either means, on the evening of the homicide he left for America once more, almost certainly on a Dutch fishing vessel that finally docked in Mobile, Alabama.

He slipped, illegally, into the nation as soon as extra and resumed his life as a ‘carny’, working primarily as an elephant handler for a carnival primarily based in West Virginia.

He additionally modified his identify to Thomas A. Parker, and thereafter listed his birthplace as Huntington, West Virginia.

In Baz Luhrmann's new biopic, Elvis, which is released in the UK this week, Parker is played by a scarcely recognisable Tom Hanks (pictured), who speaks in a guttural accent beneath layers of latex

In Baz Luhrmann’s new biopic, Elvis, which is launched within the UK this week, Parker is performed by a scarcely recognisable Tom Hanks (pictured), who speaks in a guttural accent beneath layers of latex

In a way it was true: that was the place he was reborn.

Nobody is aware of for positive why he selected the identify Tom Parker. As for the grand navy title he adopted, it wasn’t solely faux.

He was made an honorary colonel within the Louisiana State Militia within the late Nineteen Forties after he helped gospel singer Jimmie Davis develop into Louisiana’s governor.

It’s potential that he by no means served within the armed forces in any respect. After all, he remained a consummate liar for the remainder of his life.

But there are information suggesting that he did be part of up, serving as a U.S. Army non-public for some 4 years within the early Nineteen Thirties, earlier than deserting and being discharged following repeated erratic behaviour. A ‘constitutional psychopathic state’ was identified — one other indication that Parker was a killer on the run.

In 1935, Parker married Marie Mott, a divorced magnificence queen with a son. They had been properly suited (Marie was additionally a compulsive thief) and it will be a principally harmonious marriage that lasted greater than 50 years.

As properly as turning into a husband, Parker was starting to make money. After getting a job with an animal shelter in Tampa, Florida, he then based a pet cemetery, charging bereaved homeowners $50 for headstones that value him $15.

Then he made the transfer that may in the end result in fame and fortune — he turned a live performance promoter and expertise manager. At first, his best-known consumer was Eddy Arnold, the nation singer often called the Tennessee Plowboy.

By this time, Parker was an imposing determine, tall and immensely fats, having piled on weight as a means of avoiding the World War II draft, simply in case his psychiatric analysis did not disqualify him.

He was loud, forceful and altogether not possible to disregard. Parker promoted Arnold brilliantly. He even, within the early years of tv, received him his personal community present.

But he was fiercely controlling, too, and previous habits died arduous.

In his carny days, he had ensured that the one means for an viewers to depart the tent was by way of an exit that led them right into a subject ankle-deep in stinking manure. Luckily, he had donkeys out there, which they had been pressured to hire in the event that they wished to remain clear.

Similarly, when Arnold bored with his management freak of a manager, he discovered himself pressured to purchase his means out of the contract. It value him $50,000.

Austin Butler as Presley in the biopic released in cinemas across the UK this week

Austin Butler as Presley within the biopic launched in cinemas throughout the UK this week 

In 1955, Parker heard early recordings by a trio referred to as the Blue Moon Boys. He preferred the musical fashion of their singer, Elvis Presley.

As a longtime music promoter, Parker started reserving gigs for them alongside their administration. He then turned Presley’s ‘particular adviser’ (with the permission of Presley’s mother and father, as he was nonetheless below 21).

Gradually, as soon as Elvis started performing solo, Parker eased everybody else out and have become his manager.

No doubt Elvis would have made it anyway, however it was Parker who masterminded his dizzyingly fast rise to superstardom.

In doing so, he not solely routinely handled individuals like dust however boasted about it, adapting an previous company maxim by saying, ‘You do not need to be good to individuals on the way in which up if you happen to’re not coming again down’.

He was each a masterly promoter and a shameless con artist.

As Luhrmann’s movie tells it, it was Parker who all however invented the idea of merchandising. Along with all of the ‘I Love Elvis’ badges, he had ‘I Hate Elvis’ badges manufactured on the idea that not everybody would really like him, so they may as properly make money out of his detractors, too.

He exploited everybody, however no person greater than his good-looking younger cost. His deal with Elvis was for 25 per cent (rising to 50 per cent) of all earnings, however he additionally charged him bills.

As Luhrmann's movie tells it, it was Parker who all however invented the idea of merchandising. Along with all of the 'I Love Elvis' badges, he had 'I Hate Elvis' badges manufactured on the idea that not everybody would really like him, so they may as properly make <a href=money out of his detractors, too. (Pictured: Director Baz Luhrmann poses with forged members Austin Butler and Tom Hanks as they arrive on the London screening of Elvis)” class=”blkBorder img-share” fashion=”max-width:100%” />

As Luhrmann’s movie tells it, it was Parker who all however invented the idea of merchandising. Along with all of the ‘I Love Elvis’ badges, he had ‘I Hate Elvis’ badges manufactured on the idea that not everybody would really like him, so they may as properly make money out of his detractors, too. (Pictured: Director Baz Luhrmann poses with forged members Austin Butler and Tom Hanks as they arrive on the London screening of Elvis)

He paid for nothing, irrespective of how trivial, out of his personal pocket. A sandwich, a espresso, some stationery — it was all deducted from the singer’s 75 per cent.

When he may additionally make money from others, he did. Anyone who wished Elvis to look at their venue was informed to carry $50,000 in money to the Colonel’s lodge room. Even in the event that they could not work out a deal, he would preserve 10 per cent for his time.

Predictably, his time break the bank. Journalists had been anticipated to pay $25,000 for ‘small discuss’, $100,000 for a correct interview.

Meanwhile, the extra Elvis earned, the extra the Colonel pocketed. When Hollywood producer Buddy Adler prompt turning rock and roll’s greatest identify right into a film star, Parker demanded the then-outrageous sum of $1 million per image.

Adler was outraged. ‘Not even Jack Lemmon will get that,’ he protested. ‘Then possibly he wants a brand new manager,’ got here the reply.

Parker was ferociously protecting of his star, however he was motivated nearly solely by self-interest.

He would not let every other potential business advisers anyplace close to him, telling Elvis that such individuals had been both Jews or homosexuals, or each, and due to this fact could not be trusted.

Yet he was the one who could not be trusted. In 1982, nearly 5 years after Elvis’s demise, the Presley property and Parker went right into a authorized battle, with the Colonel accused of ‘fraudulent business practices’.

That’s when the previous Andre van Kuijk made arguably essentially the most audacious transfer of his life — even by his personal breathtaking requirements — declaring that he couldn’t be sued below federal legislation as a result of he was ‘not a citizen of the United States’.

The thunderous irony was that he had hidden his Dutch background for many years, and had been shaken to obtain a letter from a nephew again within the Netherlands in 1960.

In an Eindhoven hairdressing salon, the younger man’s aunt Nel — one in every of Andre’s sisters — had picked up {a magazine} that includes Elvis, in his military uniform, waving to his followers.

But the face that basically caught Nel’s eye was that of an enormous man standing behind Elvis, captioned as Colonel Tom Parker. She knew it was her brother Andre.

Grudgingly, Parker acknowledged the connection, however was thought to have paid off his household so they would not discuss.

He could not go to them within the Netherlands as a result of he did not have a passport — one in every of two secret the reason why, in accordance with the movie, he additionally declined to organise the world tour that Elvis craved.

His personal harmful playing behavior was the opposite cause. If he may as an alternative tie his mighty star all the way down to a residency in a Las Vegas lodge, the lodge discreetly promised to cancel his colossal money owed.

Professionally imprisoned in Vegas, Elvis’s bodily and psychological health started to deteriorate. The Colonel appeared on, not particularly frightened, as a result of he knew from his good-looking lower of all of the music publishing and film offers that Elvis might be simply as worthwhile to him lifeless as alive.

So, in a means, the person who made Elvis Presley additionally killed him.

But was it a extra literal killing — that of poor Anna van den Enden — that first propelled Andre van Kuijk on the street to turning into Colonel Tom Parker?

Whatever the reality is, he died in 1997, aged 87, taking maybe his most shameful secret with him to the grave.

Elvis opens in cinemas on Friday.

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