Many people will remember Toms Parker for many different reasons. We can talk about his Dutch heritage, his marriage to Mia Farrow, and even his management of Elvis Presley, and how he refused to let him tour outside the United States. But, we will never forget his bravery and kindness. Here are a few things you may not have known about Tom Parker.
Toms Parker’s Dutch heritage
In 1982, Toms Parker claimed his Dutch heritage. In 1993, he was interviewed in Dutch by Dutch television director Jorrit van der Kooi. At that time, Parker was unaware that his sister, Adriana, had died a few years earlier. It was then that Parker revealed his true origins: he is of Dutch descent.
Parker’s background was not known to many in the U.S., but his family in the Netherlands recognized him. During the early 1960s, he posed in a photo with Presley, who recognized him in the image. In 1961, his brother Adam “Ad” van Kuijk visited him in Los Angeles, and introduced him to Presley. During that visit, Parker and Presley made a connection that led to the discovery of Parker’s real Dutch heritage.
Parker was also born in the Netherlands. He became known as Colonel Toms Parker and managed Elvis Presley from the 1950s to 1977. His Dutch heritage made him a unique individual with as many myths as legends as his celebrity client. However, despite his Dutch roots, he was an effective manager and made plenty of money, and even possessed a substantial net worth when he passed away.
His marriage to Mia Farrow
Toms Parker’s marriage to Mia Farra is not the only scandal in Hollywood. The actress has dealt with a variety of personal scandals in her career. Mia’s family suffered from a number of tragedies, including her blind sister Tam, who committed suicide by taking an overdose. Her brother Thaddeus later shot himself, and her sister Lark suffered from addiction and ultimately died in poverty after developing Aids. In addition to her marriage to Parker, Mia has four children from Previn, one from Allen, and 10 more adopted children.
When Parker married Mia Farrow, the couple was in their thirties. Parker had already married a woman from the carnival circuit who was just a few years younger than him. The two struggled to survive during the Great Depression, and eventually met and married each other. They later worked as short cons and traveled the country to find work. During their time together, Parker claimed they were able to live on $1 a week, which is equivalent to $20 in 2021 dollars. As a result, the two were able to hide their illegal status by marrying people who were already established.
Parker’s marriage to Farrow was fraught with scandal. Although they were married for three years, the marriage was never formally declared. Parker remained Elvis Presley’s manager until his death in 1977. Parker also reportedly had an affair with Priscilla Beaulieu, but they remained friends.
Parker denied the scandals and claimed his Dutch heritage before the marriage, but he later confessed to his true origins. Parker had a close relationship with the Dutch people, and they often spoke in Dutch. In the Netherlands, the singer’s sister had died a few years before her death.
His management of Elvis Presley
Toms Parker’s management of Elvis Presley was not without controversy. The Memphis radio personality took Presley under his wing when his contract with Bob Neal expired. Parker was responsible for negotiating Presley’s merchandising deals and TV appearances. He also served as Presley’s adviser, helping him accept military service and marry Priscilla Beaulieu. Parker also managed Presley’s estate after his death. The scandal surrounding Parker’s management came to light in the 1980s when he was found guilty of unethical management. He refused to sign Presley up with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).
In 1956, Parker became Presley’s sole representative and won him a recording contract with RCA Victor. Presley had his breakthrough with the hit song “Heartbreak Hotel” and became one of the most popular entertainers of all time. Parker received more than half of the enterprise’s profits, and he also negotiated lucrative merchandising deals and TV appearances. Parker was also responsible for Presley’s decision to enter the military in 1958 and marry Priscilla Beaulieu in 1967.
Parker was a brilliant promoter but he had a narrow, finance-driven vision. He focused on profits and failed to consider the cultural impact of Presley’s music. This led him to steer Presley toward projects that removed him from the allure of his music. The film portrays Presley’s relationship with Parker in a more human light.
Parker’s management of Elvis Presley drew criticism from music industry experts. The former manager was accused of self-dealing and overreaching while managing the singer. In fact, he was paid more than 50 percent of Presley’s earnings, which was well outside industry norms. It is estimated that Parker defrauded Presley of $7 million to $8 million in three years. It was not the first time that a celebrity’s manager was accused of overreaching. Parker was also the manager of Hank Snow and Gene Austin.
His refusal to allow Presley to tour abroad
Elvis Presley played just three concerts outside the United States in his career, including three Canadian shows during his 1957 tour. Despite rumors of an international tour, Presley’s manager, Toms Parker, refused to allow the singer to perform in other countries. Parker’s reasoning was that foreign venues were too small for an artist of Presley’s calibre.
Parker had a questionable past. Shortly after arriving in the United States, he had married Marie Francis Mott. She was a former carnival worker and already had a son, whom Parker had adopted. It was unknown to Parker that she had previously given up her other son for adoption, and that her son had a physical disability. Parker chose to marry into a ready-made family in an effort to conceal his illegal status.
Parker acted as Elvis’s manager during his time in the military. Parker wanted Presley to tour overseas in order to keep his popularity high. He also wanted him to record five singles before his induction. This ensured that RCA Victor would have enough material to release over the next two years. Parker, however, refused to let Presley tour in West Germany until he had mastered the German language.
Parker and Presley were not the closest of friends. However, their relationship grew closer after the Colonel arranged the sale of Presley’s back catalog to RCA in 1973. The singer received just $2 million of the money, after taxes. The rest of the money went towards his divorce settlement with his ex-wife Priscilla.
Parker and Presley’s relationship came to an end in the late 1970s due to Presley’s prescription drug abuse. The manager did not know how to help the singer, and he did not want to create too much negative publicity that could limit his earning potential. As a result, Parker almost quit in 1973 and demanded a two million dollar buy-out to cancel the contract. However, Presley’s father was able to convince the singer that he did not have the money to pay Parker to end the relationship.
His relationship with Colonel Parker
The infamous Toms Parker-Colonel Parker relationship was never explained by the Colonel or by his family. Elvis’ manager, Bitsy Mott, who spent many years on the road with the Colonel, was asked about the Colonel in 1980, and said that the Colonel was “a mystery.” Mott didn’t know what the secret was.
While Colonel Parker resisted the investigation, he continued to visit the area. His family sent a brother to visit him. The brother received the visit coolly, and he was worried that the family was only after money. He remained silent about Dries’ glamorous new life. His brother had not spoken to him about his own life, and he had only talked about selling sparrows as canaries.
Colonel Parker’s relationship with Presley was complicated. The two men had a close relationship for 28 years, and Parker was a major manager. Presley was a big star, and Parker had secured a national audience through television, which was feared by most other managers. Parker was the one calling the shots in Hollywood, and the Colonel was a major star. After Elvis’ father died, the Colonel was sued by Elvis Presley’s estate.
Colonel Parker had served in the army for several months. He was then discharged. He was later diagnosed with a psychotic breakdown. He reportedly ate until he weighed 300 pounds. In the end, he was never found guilty of desertion, but it was a clear indication of his psychopathic tendencies.
Colonel Parker’s relationship with Elvis Presley was fraught with scandal. In early 1955, he began setting his sights on the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He placed Presley on tours as an opening act for Hank Snow and eventually, he bought a controlling stake in Presley’s management contract from Sun Records for $35000.