Now in theaters, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis explores Elvis Presley’s complicated relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. But what became of this man after the death of the singer in 1977?
As the singer’s manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker is one of the key figures in the life of Elvis Presley and therefore has a key role in the biopic Elvis directed by Baz Luhrmann and currently in cinemas. Played on screen by Tom Hanks, he is shown in the film as a rogue and ready to do anything to increase his financial wealth.
When the singer died in August 1977, Parker kept a low profile. He continues to touch, however, thanks to his previous contracts made during the lifetime of Elvis, to live very well from his old job. He will never be anyone’s manager again after the loss of his exclusive star.
Remember that during the lifetime of Elvis, Parker would have received half of the sums received by his artist equally. However, in the profession, the percentages of agents oscillate rather from 10 to 25% maximum. In 1993, Parker told the television :
I only got 50% when Elvis wasn’t performing and I was creating things, but when it comes to movies, [ses prestations à Las Vegas] and of his music, I received 25%.
However, this version was challenged in 1980 by Lisa Marie Presley (daughter of the singer and 11 years old at the time), who via her representatives sued her father’s former manager on the grounds that he was indeed touching well half of the singer’s income including those generated after his death, which was considered excessive by the heirs. He was also accused, along with RCA Records, which pressed Elvis’ records, of conspiring to steal millions from the heirs.
There will never be a trial since in 1982, Tom Parker signs an agreement before going to court. The heirs pay him 2 million dollars so that he is no longer associated with anything related to Elvis and this for a period of 5 years unless authorized by the court.
For the tenth anniversary of Elvis’ death in 1987, Parker appears alongside Priscilla Presley and on the surface, the relationship looks good and both parties are united in commemoration. In fact, in any case, Parker will never again be entrusted with any business of any kind related directly or indirectly to the singer.
“Colonel” Parker died of a heart attack in 1997, twenty years after Elvis Presley. At his funeral, Priscilla read this eulogy:
“Elvis and the Colonel made history together, and the world comes out richer, better and much more interesting because of them together. And now I have to find my wallet, because I noticed that there there was no ticket office to come here, but I’m sure the Colonel planned a toll on the way out”.
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