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Parker, Tomlocked

(26 June 1909–21 January 1997)
  • Stacey Hamilton

Extract

Parker, Tom (26 June 1909–21 January 1997), music promoter, best known as manager of Elvis Presley, was born Andreas “Dries” Cornelis van Kuijk in Breda, Holland, the son of a liveryman. His parents' names are unknown. Dries dropped out of school while still a young teenager to work with his father, who died in 1925. After his father's death he began working for the Holland-America shipping line and ended up in New Jersey for a brief time, living with a Dutch family there. He returned to Breda in 1927, working in the shipping business for two years until leaving Holland for good in 1929. That same year he enlisted in the U.S. Army under the name “Andre van Kuijk” and was stationed in Hawaii under Captain Thomas R. Parker, likely the source of his assumed name. His family, still in Holland, began receiving letters and cash from the United States, signed by a “Thomas Parker.” This correspondence continued until 1932, when Parker received a medical discharge from the army after being transferred to Pensacola, Florida, and suffering a knee injury....

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