Priscilla Presley Speaks Out About ‘Making Peace’ With Colonel Tom Parker

by Blake Ells

Priscilla Presley’s ex-husband, Elvis, died 45 years ago today. Fans gathered at Graceland in Memphis on Monday night to pay tribute to the King’s legacy. Priscilla stopped by The TODAY Show on Tuesday to talk about her former husband. She joined via satellite from the “Jungle Room” at the legendary estate. Check out the video from the appearance below.

A new generation is learning about the life of Elvis Presley. Baz Lurhmann’s new film, Elvis, follows the singer from his roots in Mississippi through being discovered by “Colonel” Tom Parker. The film’s portrayal of Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks, is not kind. As the film depicts, Parker essentially signed Presley to a lifetime contract that he couldn’t refuse at a young age and he controlled the singer’s career until the very end. During the TODAY Show appearance, Priscilla was asked if she ever made peace with Tom Parker.

“Yes, I did,” she said. “There was two colonels. There was the colonel who was the manager. And there’s the colonel that was very, very sweet and very, very nice. He took care of both of his wives; the first one who passed away, he was always there for her. And also his second wife, as well. I had dinner with them and actually, Elvis did, too, in Palm Springs. There was two sides to him. The business side, and of course, the very gentle side where he’s not working and he’s not doing anything in show business. There was two sides to him.”

Priscilla Presley Makes Peace With Tom Parker

“I think it was more…he had to live out what Elvis wanted to do,” Priscilla Presley continued. “Or what he promised Elvis, and that was that he was going to make him a million dollars. He wanted to live up to what he promised Elvis. Of course he made more than a million.”

Priscilla Presley is then asked why she is committed to maintaining Elvis’s legacy after all of these years. While he died 45 years ago, Elvis and Priscilla split nearly 50 years ago. That’s a long time that she has lived as his keeper.

“It’s a big responsibility,” she said. “But I want to carry it out and give him the things that he always wanted to do and wanted in his life. A lot of it…he wanted to sing with an orchestra. I was able to get the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to be the symphony to carry that out for him. That was his dream. Anything that he wanted to do or wished to do in life, I want to try to get that to happen.”

Priscilla Presley spoke to fans gathered at Graceland on Monday night. She still frequents the property, which is now a museum.