Elvis Presley is known as the King of Rock and Roll, but in order to get that title he had to work hard. For his entire career, there was one man by his side, pushing him to do more and helping him achieve a level of fame that was unheard of at the time. However, that man is probably one of the most controversial characters in history.
Colonel Tom Parker signed on as Presley’s manager in 1956. Ever since, the mystery surrounding him has everyone wondering what the truth is. With so much controversy spanning so many years, it’s a lot to break down, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started with the truth about where he came from.
Colonel Tom Andrew Parker claimed to have been born in Huntington, West Virginia. He said he worked with carnivals, helping out with elephants and even managed a palm-reading booth, before he realized his talents as a music promoter.
The problem was, if anyone had ever bothered to look into his past, they would find that there was no Tom Parker from West Virginia.
Parker hadn’t even been a Colonel in any military! While he had served in the U.S. Army, he never made it past the rank of private, and was actually released from the army after being diagnosed as a psychopath following a “psychotic breakdown” in the 1930s. When the draft of World War II came around, he allegedly ate so much that he ballooned up to 300 pounds so he would be considered unfit for service.
However the truth about his identity didn’t come out until after Presley’s death. The Colonel made it well into retirement before anyone realized that Parker wasn’t who he claimed to be.
It turned out that “Colonel Tom Parker” was actually not born in West Virgina, but actually was Andreas van Kuijk, born in the Netherlands.
It’s suspected that the Colonel was an illegal immigrant, and worked for a travelling carnival when he first arrived in the country.