Elvis’ cousin describes terrible accident and huge fight with Colonel Parker afterwards

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The Colonel had shaped Elvis’ career since 1955, becoming his manager in 1956 and steering him to music and film superstardom. But in later years, many believed The Colonel suffocated his client’s artistic ambitions and locked him into a gruelling spiral of unsatisfying lightweight films and endless touring which contributed to Elvis’ decline, personally and professionally. Was a dramatic accident in 1967 the turning point when The Colonel renegotiated his contract with Elvis just days after the star suffered a traumatic accident? A contract which many believe contributed to the star’s unhappy end. SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH ELVIS’ COUSIN TELL THE POWERFUL STORY

Elvis fell and hurt his head on March 10, 1967, at home at 10550 Rocca Place, in Los Angeles, resulting in a mild concussion. He had just started engaging the services of ‘Dr Nick’ (Dr George Constantine Nichopoulos) who would become his  personal physician and dispense the increasing doses of painkillers and sleeping pills which overshadowed his final years.

Billy tells how Colonel Parker was very unhappy about the accident, but not through concern for his client’s health. Did the ruthless manager use Elvis’ weekend physical and mental state to rush through a new contract which would tie the star to a crippling 50/50 split on income?

Numerous family, friends and industry figures have commented how extraordinary these figures were in a world where typical a manager will take 10 and, at most, 20 per cent of a client’s earnings.

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Billy said: “In 1967 we lived in Rocca Place in Bel Air and Elvis had slipped in the bathtub and hit his head and it kinda caused concussion. They were getting ready for production and it was going to delay and cause the studios money…”

Elvis was about to shoot Clambake, which would be his third film release that year after Easy Come, Easy Go and Double Trouble. It was the final film he was paid $1million to star in, studios losing faith in his bankability. His box office results continued to decline and the star also fought to tackle more substantial and less commercial roles, like 1969’s Charro.

Priscilla later said that Elvis’ growing unhappiness with the type of films he was forced to make by Colonel Parker lead to binge eating. His weight ballooned, which resulted in the studios encouraging him to take diet pills – another step on the star’s slippery slope to addiction and unhealthy lifestyle.

Did it all start to go wrong after that traumatic accident? Billy describes what happened next.


Billy added: “We had the doctor come out and he gave Elvis stuff to take for the concussions and he told Elvis he needed to stay in bed for a day or two. He told me ‘Come on in here and stay with me.’ We talked about all kinds of stuff. Maybe three days later the Colonel came up there and came in Elvis’ room. They wanted me to leave so they could talk business. That was the only time Elvis didn’t have somebody by him.

“After a few minutes, I head the volume go up… The Colonel one time, Elvis next. After Colonel left I went back in and Elvis was sitting there not saying much at all just laying back.”

When Elvis finally spoke, his words haunted Billy. 

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Billy described how Elvis told him: “Damn, the next thing I’ll be working for the Colonel… He’s all upset because I couldn’t go to the studio and start filming.”

Billy said the words stayed with him: “I kept wondering what he meant by ‘I’ll be working for the Colonel.’ I think it was the time the contract came into being and I think that’s what it was.

“From then on Elvis was a little more distant towards the Colonel… It wasn’t like Elvis to say something. He never talked business with one of the guys, that was always strictly between him and the Colonel. I think that’s when the Colonel hit Elvis with the 50 percent. What leverage he used, I’ve got my speculations…”

Billy added: “He (Elvis) said ‘Things are getting tight, I’ll probably have to let some people go… It wasn’t too long after that he let Alan go and Marty go.”

Alan Fortas and Marty Lacker were two of the core members of the Memphis Mafia.

If money was starting to dry up and studios were unwilling to pay the star such large fees, it would certainly explain why Parker angled for a larger share of a smaller revenue stream.

Elvis’ spending was legendary and did not decrease until his death. With half of his earnings going to The Colonel, he was forced to work even harder to maintain his lifestyle. His excesses were matched by Parker’s own gambling addiction which drained his own considerable $100million fortune to less than $1million and left him constantly in debt to casinos. 

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