MEXICO CITY (proceso.com.mx).–They say that behind an enormous fortune there is an equally great crime…
Whoever saw the movie “Elvis”, starring Austin Butler as The King of Rock & Roll and Tom Hanks in the role of his exploited representative “Colonel” Tom Parker, was surely “stung” to learn more about this sinister guy who managed Elvis’s career since he was 20 years old when he started singing in 1955 and exploited it – including “churro” tapes – until his death, at age 42, on August 16, 1977.
Something that does not appear in the movie “Elvis” is that the unusual escape of “Colonel” Parker from his country from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to the United States in May 1929, could be due to the fact that he possibly committed a violent crime against a newly married fruit and vegetable vendor in her hometown of Breda, the Netherlands. Her name: Anna van der Enden, who was 23 years old and who had her brains ripped out with a sledgehammer.
This suspicion of murder was revealed by the American journalist Alanna Nash (Louisville, Kentucky, 1950) in the book “The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley” that came to light in 2003 (Simon & Schuster). The title in Spanish: “The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley.”
A case for “The Spider”
Although Alanna Nash has no proof, she went further than the other Presley biographers in her research on the origins of the false “Colonel” Tom Parker in Holland, and discovered that, once in the United States, he had deserted from the gringo army, was confined and discharged, being declared a “psychopath”. (
But let’s go to the story of Alanna Nash, taken from an interview for the site www.elvis.com.au, the official in Australia of Elvis Presley:
“Well, first of all, the murder theory is just that, a ‘theory.’ It’s based on circumstantial evidence and someone in the Netherlands pointed their finger at him. [“el coronel” Parker] accusing him of the act, through an anonymous letter to journalist Dirk Vellenga, who documented Parker’s origins in Breda, the Netherlands.”
In 1988, Dirk Vellenga wrote with Mick Farran “Elvis and the Colonel (New York: Delacorte Press). Alanna takes up his story:
“It is clear that the letter wholeheartedly believed what the writer of the same letter said, based on what he or she had been told by the family. Dirk was a meticulous journalist and also believed that the crime was true. I think [dice Nash] that the people who criticize me for having developed this idea, or who say that I accused [al “coronel” Parker] having committed the murder, he cannot read.
“Nowhere in my book do I say he did it. I simply offer that circumstantial evidence and leave it to the reader to decide. I even state quite emphatically that there is no forensic evidence to connect Parker to the murder, but there are a number of factors that need to be considered in light of the date of his disappearance. [de Holanda] and his refusal to never return to Europe.
“Parker certainly lived his life as a man who had something horrendous to hide, who acted out of fear and who could never fix his immigration problems, even though he had a world of opportunity and legal means to do so. But he never filled out the paperwork for a passport or US citizenship. I documented that in my research. His past, whatever it really was in the breadth of it, haunted him like a ghost. And of course that lack of a passport became a serious problem for him when Elvis wanted to travel and perform on musical tours abroad.
Alanna Nash then cites that Lamar Fike (1935-2011) telephoned her telling her that he had brought up the subject in question with the Dutch family of “Colonel” Parker around 1980. Lamar had known Elvis Presley since 1954 and was with him in 1958 when he was drafted for military service in Friedberg, Germany (where according to some sources, Lamar introduced him to 14-year-old Priscilla Ann Beaulieu Wagner, his future wife), becoming one of the bodyguards and friends of the circle called “The Memphis Mafia”. Alanna abounds:
“I just transcribed that tape. here is what [Lamar] He told me: ‘I asked your sister [Adriana] about it and she was like, ‘Look, we flat out don’t say anything about that,’ and I was like, ‘Okay,’ so I felt uncomfortable and had to back off.” Lamar wholeheartedly believed in that murder story. He told me: ‘There was never any doubt that he [Parker] I wouldn’t have killed her.”
The anonymous letter Alanna Nash refers to was sent to a Breda newspaper 51 years after the woman was murdered. However, the guilt of “Colonel” Thomas Andrew Parker (whose real name was Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk, affectionately called “Drier” or “Andre” by his abandoned Dutch family) could never be proven. Anna van der Enden was the young wife of a greengrocer and they had her shop at 31 Brochstraat in Breda.
In short, the also author of “Elvis and The Memphis Mafia” (1994) and “Baby, Let’s Play de House: Elvis Presley and The Women Who Loved Him” (2010), this one about the girls who loved the King, concludes :
“It appears that ‘Andre’ van Kuijk was in Breda at the weekend when Anna was murdered. He had been a dog trainer, so he was well aware that the police used German Shepherds to sniff out criminals for clues. He could perfectly well know that if he sprayed a bag full of pepper he would confuse the dogs’ sense of smell. Anna’s crime was too violent…”
On May 17, 1929, the woman was killed with possible blows from a metal bar. Almost certainly “Dries” knew the victim, since he and Anna went to the same church. The crime is supposed to have been committed at the same time that he fled to the United States. A longshoreman at the Rotterdam docks said that the future “Colonel” Parker was always short of fair.
Alanna Nash was one of the few reporters who saw Elvis Presley’s open coffin on August 18, 1977.
Since then she has been intrigued as to why “Colonel” Parker had attended the funeral at Graceland dressed in a short-sleeved blue Hawaiian shirt and a Panama hat, smoking a cigar and justifying his attire, because according to him “Elvis would not have liked it.” I liked that you showed up wearing a tie at his funeral.”
What was learned later was that this Parker dressed in that clothing because he wanted to make his way among the mourners, moving them away in order to separate Vernon Presley, father of Elvis, and make him privately sign a contract where he guaranteed himself half of the future profits of his company, Elvis Presley Enterprises, as in the past, in the leopard thought that “Elvis records are worth more dead or the same as when he was alive”.
But Elvis’s widow, Priscilla Beaulieu, who had divorced the King of Rock & Roll in 1973, having procreated in 1968 the little great heiress, Lisa Marie Presley, was not going to stay with her arms crossed. Ella Priscilla sued “Colonel” Parker for “mishandling” and ten years later, in 1983, she won this lawsuit. (
Dineke Dekkers, in April 1967, published “Tom Parker…American or Dutch?” in “It’s Elvis Time.” And after Elvis’s death, Tom Parker’s previously unknown Dutch past became known, thanks to the two volumes of Peter Guralnick’s biography that came to light in 1998. Alanna Nash is barely mentioned in the second, “ Careless Love. The Unmaking of Elvis” (Little Brown. “Careless love. The deconstruction of Elvis”). The plot of the movie “Elvis” in this regard was taken by the Australian director Baz Luhrmann and his three screenwriters, mainly from the chapter “The Secret of Colonel. January 1961 to January 1962”, by Guralnick.
In circulation for just over two decades, Alanna Nash’s volume has in turn provoked contrasting controversies for closely following in the footsteps of that enigmatic guy born in 1909 and declared a “psychopath” by the US Army. However, the murderous “the colonel” theory has been generally accepted as true, but unsubstantiated… and has remained so since “the colonel” died in 1997.
“Yes, it could have been a coincidence,” Alanna says of the girl’s death in Holland and Parker’s escape, “of course. I do not say without reservation that he killed this woman. I offer it as a theory, a possibility. Even her Dutch family admits that possibility, although they believe as I do that if he killed her it was an accident.
“I will say that [Parker] he had a wonderful ability to compartmentalize facts and feelings in his mind. If something bothered him too much, he was ready to store it in the dark part of his consciousness, but he always had trouble keeping it there. Certainly whatever happened to him in Holland led him to abandon his family, with whom he had very close ties, and he simply cut them off, so that must have been an event of a very serious nature. He missed them, but he never wanted to inform anyone in his family of his problems (…) ”
If the journalist Alanna Nash spoke up to three times with Tom Parker in Las Vegas, it intrigues her that she never asked him: “Why did you leave Holland, why did you change your identity, why did you never write to your family in Breda?” Perhaps she never had the elements to question him if he fell in love with a fruit and vegetable seller from Breda in 1929, even less if he killed perhaps to rob her store and flee to the United States. The case was closed.
Did Alanna allow herself to be seduced by that old gambler whom she describes as “very charismatic”? There will be those who secretly think that Parker “came at the price”, an accusation of little weight if we take into account that she has a master’s degree from Columbia University and is a professional for “The New York Times”, releasing in 1978 her successful biography of singer Dolly Parton, “Dolly”, and who has managed to successfully promote serious projects such as “Golden Girl: The Story of Jessica Savitch” (1988), about an NBC news reporter who died at the age of 36 –book that inspired the movie “Up Close & Personal” (1996).
Alanna Nash got deep into the subject of The King of Rock & Roll, publishing in 1995 “Elvis Aaron Presley: Revelations from the Memphis Mafia”. In 2008, she also wrote “Elvis: From Memphis to Hollywood.” On the back cover of her book “Baby, Let’s Play House” (HarperCollins) she was described as “the first journalist to see Elvis Presley in her coffin.”
Ora yes that after seeing “Elvis”, Baz Luhrmann’s film, several mysteries to be solved remain in the inkwell of questioning…