Did Elvis really call out and fire Colonel Tom Parker on stage in Las Vegas?

Warner Brothers

Baz Luhrmann’s telling of the Elvis Presley story in the feature film Elvis is also the story of his manager Colonel Tom Parker, played with creepy menace by Tom Hanks.

During a pivotal scene towards the end, Elvis (Austin Butler,) confronts Colonel Tom Parker about hiding his past, having massive debts, and keeping Elvis in a “gilded cage” in Las Vegas because he was an illegal immigrant who couldn’t leave the country with Elvis. Did this jaw-dropping event happen in real life?

The truth is that Elvis Presley never knew that Colonel Tom Parker wasn’t from West Virginia like he claimed to be. Elvis died before that information was exposed.

Parker was from the Netherlands and immigrated to the U.S. illegally when he was 20 years old. His original name was Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk.

So, in essence, that dramatic scene from the film was a work of fiction, but it is connected to a real event. Elvis called out someone on stage, but it wasn’t Colonel Parker. It did, however, lead to Elvis firing Tom Parker.

Embed from Getty Images

During his stay at the International Hilton in Las Vegas, Elvis went to visit the home of an employee he’d struck up a friendship with because the employee’s wife was dying of cancer. Barron Hilton, the owner of the hotel, fired the employee over the visit because he said they violated a rule prohibiting hotel employees to have contact with the talent of the shows.

Elvis was furious about the firing, and told his audience during a Las Vegas show that Barron Hilton “wasn’t worth a damn.” This made Colonel Tom Parker upset, and the ensuing argument led to Elvis firing Tom Parker in Elvis’ private quarters. Tom Parker fired back that he quit, and then went to draft of a bill of all the expenses he claimed Elvia owed him.

It’s unknown exactly how much Tom asked for but it was in the millions. The movie shows the bill being over $8 million, but it could have been as low as $2 million or as high as $10 million.

As in the movie, Elvis did decide to rehire Colonel Tom Parker because he didn’t think he can pay the high sum.

Web Analytics