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Of all Elvis' leading ladies, Ann-Margret will always be Number One. Not because she was the sexiest, or the best actress (although she certainly qualifies on both counts!), or because "Viva Las Vegas" was that great of a film (but for an Elvis film, it's pretty good!), but because the on-screen chemistry between them was NOT ACTING. It's probably why Viva Las Vegas is still one of the best-remembered of both Elvis' and AM's films. Watching the film today, what comes across is two talented stars at the peak of their confidence, enjoying each other's company, and having fun! And that's pretty much what was happening off-screen, too! But don't just take my word for it; get it straight from the source (Ann-Margret: My Story). Needless to say, when people think of actresses in Elvis films, Ann-Margret is almost always the first to come to mind.
Although born in Stockholm, Ann-Margret Olsson was raised in the town of Valsjobyn, Sweden, a small mountain village. At the age of five, she and her mother joined her father in America. Growing up near Chicago, she was performing in a group by age 16. She appeared on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour around that time singing "Them There Eyes". At the age of 19, she was discovered by George Burns in Las Vegas. She appeared on "The Jack Benny Show", and was soon in the movies with "Pocketful of Miracles". Her first important role came in 1963 with "Bye, Bye Birdie", a musical about a rock star who is drafted into the army (hmmm...).
Viva Las Vegas immediately followed. As Rusty Martin, Ann-Margret sang "My Rival", "Appreciation", and duetted with Elvis on "The Lady Loves Me". The duet "You're The Boss" was recorded for the film but not used. Since Ann-Margret was on the same record label as Elvis at the time (RCA Victor), it's surprising that there was no soundtrack album released including both artists. (Elvis only did this once: see Nancy Sinatra). However, nowadays, you can get the Viva Las Vegas soundtrack which includes both the duets.
According to AM's autobiography, she and Elvis hit it off almost immediately when they first met. They had a lot in common, both in their public images, and their private personalities. In fact, the very contrast between "wild in public" and "shy in person" was one of their most notable similarities. They shared a deep belief in God. They were both very close to their families. For both stars, their fame came overwhelmingly fast, and a tight-knit family was both a comfort and a safety net. Oh, yeah, and they both kind of liked music a little bit, too!
Although the British press reported them engaged, AM and Elvis soon went their separate ways. They remained friends afterwards, attending each other's concerts in Vegas, whenever they were in town. (Ann-Margret and her husband Roger Smith were among the very few celebrities who attended Elvis' funeral.) In 1971, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for "Carnal Knowledge", and in 1975 for Best Actress for "Tommy". Between theatrical films, TV movies, and her night club act, AM has kept herself quite busy. Among her most recent successes was a role as Cinderella in the fantasy mini-series 10th Kingdom, as well as an appearance in the film, Any Given Sunday, a notable guest role on the popular TV series Touched By An Angel, and an appearance with friend Burt Reynolds in The Final Hit. She also starred in the musical "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas", which was her first stage role!
- When I first started this page, J.W. Smith's Ann-Margret page was the only other one out there (and it's gone now). There are quite a few to browse, and all have something unique to offer! These are sites that I visit on a regular basis just to see if they've updated or added anything... I suggest you do the same...
The Official Ann-Margret Site! - Apparently it was Roger's idea to put up a website for AM (well, after all, he IS her number one fan!) Check it out! Film clips, photos, bio, fan club info and more!
Luis' Ann-Margret Page - from the guy who brought us the excellent Debra Paget pages, so you know it's a great collection of photos! Luis has 13 pages worth of AM photos here, plus a bunch of video clips!
Do your Ann-Margret research! These are the AM books worth seeking out!
Ann-Margret: My Story, by Ann-Margret and Todd Gold - The autobiography! Either the print version or the audio-book, you gotta get yourself a copy!
Ann Margret : A Dream Come True : A Photo Extravaganza and Memoir, by Neal Peters and David Smith. - Another must-have on every AM fan's list! This coffee-table book is chock full o' great photos!
Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, by Peter Guralnick - The second half of Peter's great two-volume biography of Elvis, this one covering the movie years and beyond. Print or Audio-book version.
Elvis and Me, by Priscilla Presley and Sandra Harmon - Life with Elvis from Priscilla's view, including her take on Elvis' relationship with Ann-Margret.
Buy Ann-Margret's music on CD, streaming or download MP3s
The AM box-set!
Ann-Margret: The Definitive Collection
Nice 2-Disc Set!
The Essential Ann-Margret
Another Great 2-Disc Set!
The Viva Las Vegas soundtrack!
Contains the duet version of "Today, Tomorrow, and Forever"
or download from iTunes!
A&E Biography - Ann-Margret: Sugar & Spice
"BIOGRAPHY tells the story of the still-vibrant star through extensive clips from her films, rare photographs and interviews with friends and confidantes...From teenage sensation to accolades, awards and respect, join BIOGRAPHY for the triumphant tale of Ann-Margret."
Search eBay for some Ann-Margret Stuff!
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