‘Elvis Biopic: Priscilla Presley Staunchly Defended Colonel Tom Parker to Tom Hanks

by Emily Morgan

The cast of the new Elvis Presley biopic recently came together at the film’s premiere in Cannes this week. Stars such as Austin Butler and Tom Hanks walked the red carpet ahead of the premiere. In addition, Elvis’ former love and ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, joined the cast and director for the special occasion. In addition to having a close relationship with The King, Priscilla also gave first-hand knowledge to the cast when they filmed the movie. 

Specifically, Priscilla defended Elvis’ former manager, Colonel Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks in the new movie. The new film focuses heavily on the relationship between Elvis and his manager, who has always been known as a villain. 

Some fans and historians praise Parker, arguing Elvis’s career would have never been what it was had it not been for him. But, on the contrary, some people believe Parker used Elvis to further his own career. They also argue he held him back from touring more or starring in blockbuster movies like True Grit and A Star Is Born

Some have also said that he pushed the star to his breaking point and took too much of Elvis’ money. When Hanks decided to take on the role of the most controversial character, Priscilla was the first to defend him. During an interview with Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show,” Hanks admitted he thought the Colonel was “both a genius and a scoundrel.”

He added: “He was a very disciplined man. But also a guy who you might want to check your wallet to make sure you still have all those fives and tens.”

Priscilla Presley defends Elvis’ former manager

Yet his opinion changed when he and his wife Rita Wilson invited Priscilla to dinner. There, she revealed her true thoughts about Parker. “I was expecting to hear stories about the distrust she had for Colonel Tom Parker over these many years,” Hanks said about meeting with her. 

However, Priscilla surprised Hanks with her response. “No. He was a wonderful man, and I wish he was alive today. He took really great care of us,” she told Hanks. However, she didn’t let him completely off the hook, admitting that he was “a scoundrel in his way.'”

However, the last surviving original Memphis Mafia member Billy Smith, felt that Parker ultimately held Elvis back.

“As far as I’m concerned, to get everything set straight, the Colonel didn’t make Elvis. He helped make Elvis, but he didn’t make Elvis. Elvis was on his way,” he once said on his youtube channel.

He added: “I think Elvis was destined to be as big as he was. But the Colonel, with his intelligence and all, he knew the right people and did it the right way to make big money. So I can’t take that from him. I think in the later years, things had changed so much in the music world and how bookings went that I think The Colonel kind of dropped behind. I liked The Colonel a lot, and I thought he was a great person. But still, facts are facts, and I think in the later years that The Colonel held Elvis back.”