Elvis’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was neither a colonel (the title was strictly honorary) nor truly named Tom Parker—he was born in the Netherlands as Andreas Cornelius Van Kuijk. However, he was an effective manager.
Parker first conceived of marketing Elvis’s image in the mid-1950s. Although it is generally agreed that Parker’s fees for managing Elvis were exorbitant (he eventually received half of the singer’s earnings), it is also agreed that Parker’s efforts served to propel Elvis into the entertainment stratosphere. Parker’s strategy of placing Elvis’s face on any item that could be marketed has been extended into the new millennium, and Elvis is annually atop the Forbes list of deceased celebrity moneymakers.