Born Ann-Margret Olsson, 28 April 1941, Stockholm, Sweden
Actress/singer/dancer/entertainer: best known for Bye Bye Birdie and Viva Las Vegas. Nominated for best supporting actress in Carnal Knowledge and best actress in Tommy
Born in Sweden but adopted by America
The family moved to Valsjobyn when A-M was still a little baby. This is a little village of about 150 people located in the mountains in the county of Jamtland. It is 4 miles east of the border of Norway. A-M is named after a Swedish swimming star her mother admired. She has no brothers or sisters
She came to the United States with her mother when she was five, settling in Wilmette, Illinois (north of Chicago). A-M's father who had come to America previously, greeted them
Ann-Margret has dazzled screen and stage audiences. With her film debut in Frank Capra's final classic, "Pocketful of Miracles" in 1962 to the recent Oliver Stone directed "On Any Sunday" with Al Pacino, Ann-Margret's film career has spanned four decades. Displaying a versatility that few actresses can match has earned her love and admiration, not just for her beauty and her legend but also for herself
Ann-Margret Olsson becomes Ann-Margret. George Burns propels her into national prominence in Las Vegas.
Her meteoric rise to stardom begins with a LIFE Magazine cover story from 11 January 1963
Her early film career incls. "Pocketful of Miracles," "State Fair," "Bye Bye Birdie," "Viva Las Vegas" with Elvis Presley, "Stagecoach," and "The Cincinnati Kid." Her fairytale marriage to Roger Smith. TV Specials, record releases, Las Vegas nightclub act, and national recognition as a "superstar sex symbol" punctuate Ann-Margret's life in the fast paced sixties
In '72, husband Roger started producing all of A-M's stage shows. At 12:30 at night while doing her 12th show (in 6 nights) at the Sahara Hotel in Lake Tahoe on Sunday, September 10th, A-M fell 22 feet on stage. Her injuries included numerous bones in the face above an eye which were broken or fractured; jaw broken in two places; left arm broken; knee injured. Dr. Frank Ashley performs a 5-hour operation at UCLA Medical Center. Roger gives A-M a 20-karat diamond ring. Reports say she lapsed into a 3-day coma
A-M does a remarkable comeback opening at the Las Vegas Hilton on Tuesday, November 28th with the 'AM/PM' show. A-M picks up the nickname of 'Slugger' since she proved her strength recovering from her accident.
The Seventies truly defined Ann-Margret as an actress with Academy Award nominations for her work in "Carnal Knowledge", and "Tommy." The accident was a near brush with death and it almost ended her career but following her live performances draw record crowds in the Orient, Las Vegas and Miami. Her body of work expands with more films, TV Specials and awards
This is the decade in which Ann-Margret grows up. The eighties begin with her winning her first Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year Award. She tours the country with her Vegas act. Her film career is full speed ahead and she stars in her first of several critically acclaimed TV Dramas, and is nominated for three Best Actress Emmy's. However, her husband Roger is stricken with Myasthenia Gravis, and Ann-Margret is thrust into the toughest role of her career... she's in charge of her career and Roger's battle to survive.
A new, mature Ann-Margret emerges in the nineties. Roger's health stabilizes and new opportunities abound. She performs live at the Radio City Music Hall. She tackles new characters in TV Film Dramas and receives renewed acclaim for her acting. She films two classics: "Grumpy Old Men," and its sequel, "Grumpier Old Men" with Walter Mathau, Jack Lemmon and Sophia Loren. Ann-Margret just gets better and better
In 2001 she starred in the touring production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is playing the lead role of Miss Mona Stangley, indomitable madam of the multi-storied Chicken Ranch brothel
She really has made a whole raft of movies - and records. Add multi -TV appearances incl. mini-series. Here's a reminder of some of the best movie roles:
Emily Porter - State Fair - 62 Kim - Bye Bye Birdie - 63 Rusty Martin - Viva Las Vegas - 64 aka Love in Las Vegas Melba - The Cincinnati Kid - 65 Laurel - Bus Riley's Back in Town - 65 Dallas - Stagecoach - 66 Kelly Olsson - The Swinger - 66 Bobbie - Carnal Knowledge - 71 Nora Walker Hobbs - Tommy - 75
Oh, Jody Dvorak in Kitten with a Whip - 64 seems to have attracted a lot of attention
On TV in biopics, she's portrayed Pamela Harriman and Diane Borchardt, then the part of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire - 84. Appeared in the That's Dancing! compilation - 85
Examples of her recordings:
And Here She Is Ann-Margret's first long-player from RCA, 1961. Jazzy orchestra conducted by Marty Paich.
On The Way Up, her second album, was recorded in Los Angeles and Nashville on RCA in 1962. It has one "rock" side, and one "ballad" side. Produced by Chet Atkins and Dick Pierce.
3 Great Girls A compilation on RCA recorded in 1962. Ann-Margret, Kitty Kallen and Della Reeves do four songs each.
Beauty And The Beard Recorded in 1964 on RCA. Ann-Margret teams up with New Orleans trumpeter Al Hirt.
The Cowboy And The Lady Country LP from 1969 recorded in Nashville. Produced by Lee Hazlewood.
Let Me Entertain You A rather mellow American CD compilation from 1996. 21 of Ann-Margret's early "sexy" hits.
Ann-Margret 1961-1966 A fantastic 5-CD boxed set from German re-issue label Bear Family. This has it all, really. Everything she recorded with RCA including some never before released tracks. Also included are some songs from various soundtracks. It comes with a 72 page deluxe 4-colour book the size of an LP. It has full session details and lots of great pictures
Viva Rock Vegas As Fred Flintstone might say, "Let's Rock!" The Flintstones in "Viva Rock Vegas" is an over-the-cop family comedy but its soundtrack is a rock 'n' roll archeologist's Olduvai Gorge. From the blues of B.B. King to the scorching rockabilly of Johnny Burnette & his Rock 'n' Roll Trio, from Bill Haley and his Comets and Jimmy Cavello and his House Rockers to long-forgotten honky-tonker Moon Mullican, The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas (Hip-O Records) released April 25, 2000, is a rock 'n' roll mammoth.
But the Viva Rock Vegas is hardly dinosaur rock. Also featured are '90 artists such as rockin' eccentric Rev. Horton Heat, country rocker Robbie Fulks and blues belter Susan Tedeschi. Add '80's roots rockers Nick Lowe and Donnie Iris and Viva Rock Vegas qualifies as a lesson in musical geology.
Also included are selections performed by score composer David Newman (1998 Academy Award nominee for Anastasia) and one of the film's stars, Alan Cumming (Tony Award winner for Cabaret). Yet, the highlight may be Ann-Margret's "Viva Las Vegas (Viva Rock Vegas)." Originally sung by Elvis Presley for the 1964 film "Viva Las Vegas," the song has been reworked for this film for Ann-Margret, the voice and inspiration for the character of Ann-Margrock in the original "Flintstones" animated TV series of the '60's. The track also spotlights a special performance by James Burton, Elvis' great guitar player.
Recent CD release: 'God is Love' - the Gospel Sessions
Her only hit single was in the US. This was "I Just Don't Understand" a good song which peaked at 17 in Autumn 1961. The Beatles did a neat (early, live) cover which is on their 'Live at The BBC' set
ANN and ELVIS
Three years following her discovery, Ann was 22 and just coming of the explosive success of 'Birdie' - the film version of the 1960 Broadway musical which told the story of an Elvis-like rock 'n' roll singer who gets drafted
She now came to work with Elvis in July 1963 on the movie 'Viva Las Vegas'.
In Guralnick's excellent 'Careless Love' AM is described as follows ... 'Pretty, vivacious, a gifted singer & dancer whose personal magnetism and bubbly energy, overwhelmed even her substantial talents'
The pair were scheduled to have 3 duets in the movie. They hit it off real good .... lots of genuine laughter, obvious good chemistry and flirting, all leading up to electricity in the air
They soon became an item. Joe Esposito (Elvis' right-hand man) told his boss "She is a female you". Another lady said "she was his alter ego, he really liked her". They rode motorcycles together (i.e. she rode also and shared his passion for Harleys). Her character in the film was Rusty Martin and Elvis called her 'Rusty Ammo'. She was funny, sexy, a good sport and 'one of the guys'
Elvis even asked a favour from Col. Parker - would he manage her? Page 151 in the book describes the response (in brief, Colonel cleverly 'accepted' - then worked on Elvis' ego to infer that this would inevitably mean a reduction of Parker's hands on care of Presley's own interests. The matter never went any further!)
The astute Parker saw potential problems for the movie - or more to the point - for his 'Boy'. For one thing, veteran Producer/Director George Sidney (like everyone else in her fall-out zone) had fallen under Ann's spell and was a little in love with her. He it was who was in charge for her BBB movie. For Parker's liking, Sidney was giving the girl too many close-ups and all in all, Colonel was concerned she might steal the picture
So he put the fix in. He killed one of the duets completely and recast another as a song for Elvis alone
Presley's next movie 'Kissin' Cousins' was shot in a very rapid 17 days. He kept in contact with A-M who was in London attending the Royal premiere of BBB. A story broke about her 'winning Elvis' love, or being in love with him but not knowing whether they would marry'. Elvis (who, remember, had the young Priscilla at home) was furious. How could she blab like this for all the world to know before he was ready to make any real decision to commit?
Ann called him from England swearing she hadn't said any of those things to the British Press. Just after she returned home from England, JFK was assassinated. Because of the furore over the A-M story Elvis had followed Parker's advice and packed Priscilla off back to Memphis. Ann-Margret met up with Elvis in Los Angeles and they spent the weekend together, glued to the TV
The deep feelings Elvis and Ann had for each other continued for a while but now it wasn't headed anywhere serious. Perhaps Elvis wasn't brave enough to do what deep down inside he really wanted to do? Perhaps his story may have turned out differently with Ann-Margret as his wife?
recent article by Silke Tudor: San Francisco Weekly Ann-Margret in the Flesh Beyond age 60, the legendary sex kitten has an adoring Castro crowd writhing in ecstasy
I still remember the first time I saw Viva Las Vegas. More accurately, I remember the first time I saw Ann-Margret dance, with her bed-tossed hair, those tight black leggings just hinting at sheer, and that bright red shirt rippling and wrinkling like a state flag flying in a hurricane. Even though I was watching the movie on a snowy black-and-white television set, I knew that Ann-Margret's shirt was fire-engine red; she just didn't seem like a woman who would be satisfied by any other shade. Not moving like that.
Even in my media-deprived youth, I knew Ann-Margret was hot. Every inch of her 5-foot-5 frame lit up when she danced - wild, uninhibited, and nearly ecstatic with rhythm
Her exceptional blend of neighborhood-girl authenticity and vixen abandon is what President John F. Kennedy doubtlessly noticed when he requested a private birthday performance from Ann-Margret, just one year after Marilyn Monroe had topped the same cake. Unlike Monroe, though, Ann-Margret had a vulnerability that never turned to helplessness. She never publicly pouted over Hollywood's desire to typecast her as a sex kitten; she just let the kitten grow up and get messy in such Oscar-nominated roles as the voluptuously damaged Bobbie Templeton in 1971's Carnal Knowledge or the baked-bean-and-chocolate-bathing Nora Walker Hobbs in 1975's Tommy. Between takes in her 40-year acting career, Ann-Margret has nurtured three children, one dog, at least six cats, and 38 years of marriage. Last year, she turned 60 while playing the most infamous madam in stage history, and still, she's just a shy little lady from Valsjobyn.
Delightful movie trailers, rare film tests, and truly bizarre television appearances, including some disco moments in black satin, an animated solo as Ann-Margrock on The Flintstones, and a nipple-popping rendition of Kiki Dee's "I've Got the Music in Me" as performed on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, keep the audience shouting and giggling before the man with the pink tuxedo and the "Mighty Wurlitzer" launches into an organ-fueled version of "Viva Las Vegas." In raptures, the sold-out crowd claps and sings along to the title song's chorus. Clips from 1964's Kitten With a Whip -- "She uses sex like an animal uses teeth ..." -- are followed by a slinky, bouncy, sweaty, silly live-dance routine, choreographed by Marilynn Fowler and inspired by Ann-Margret. Then baby pictures fill the screen; the crowd aaaahhs appreciatively, and continues as baby settings give way to ballet studios, which give way to school stages and sound studios and movie sets with psychedelic body painting (in 1966's The Swinger).
Gasps, grunts, and giggles proliferate in the theater as Ann-Margret writhes in cocoa sludge and baked beans in Tommy, but there's not a whisper as she delivers Blanche Dubois' always-censored speech about a soft boy and a revolver. Finally, the feature attraction, Viva Las Vegas, erupts on screen. And erupt it does. No one can imagine how lascivious this rock 'n' roll classic can be until he's viewed it with a Castro Street crowd. Whistles, howls, and guffaws punctuate the subtle innuendo about car engines and hydrogen bombs, but Ann-Margret doesn't need punctuating. During her song-and-dance routines, the crowd seems satisfied to stomp its feet and clap boisterously
It's quite a shift of gears, then, when Ann-Margret arrives at last, in the flesh. Although she is buxom and betasseled in bright red western raiment, designed by Bob Mackie for her lead role as Mona Stangley in the touring production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Ann-Margret is, as always, soft-spoken and demure. This real-life shyness, the quality that allied her with Elvis Presley more than her swiveling hips, led reporters to sneer in the '60s, but tonight the interviewer is childhood friend and former People Are Talking host Ann Frasier, and, for a moment, Ann-Margret's upper lip disappears beneath her smile.
Frasier leads Ann-Margret from Sweden, where her mother sang folk songs for a town of 150, across the ocean aboard the Gripsholm to New York City, where her father immediately took her to see the Rockettes with an Al Jolson movie at Radio City Music Hall.
"It was so huge and so, so beautiful," says Ann-Margret in a voice filled with husky excitement as she scoots to the edge of her seat and stares up at the gold-gilt ceiling of the Castro Theatre. "I couldn't speak a word of English, but I had never seen anything so beautiful. Thirteen years later, I was on a marquee. I still can't believe that."
Frasier invites her to talk about George Burns, who discovered her singing in a nightclub and brought her on tour; and Montgomery Clift, who brought her to the set of The Misfits when she was still singing with a band; and Bette Davis, who taught her the meaning of a close-up; and Jack Nicholson, who taught her how to cry; and Mike Nichols, who believed she could be a serious actress; and Roger Smith, her husband and manager, who believed she could be anything. But Frasier skirts the subject of Elvis, a tender topic that still makes Ann-Margret teary. (A-M and Roger Smith were among the very few celebrities to attend his funeral)
Folks wanting "dish" will have to wait. Folks wanting Ann-Margret get tales about a fluffy white dog named Missy and owning the same house for 34 years. They get a glimpse of what it's like to stare into the business end of a giant baked-bean cannon while pretending not to see it; they get to chuckle at a woman's age, even if it's not really 105, and learn facts about real-life Texas madams; they get to hear rousing renditions of the Illinois New Trier High School cheer; and discover how music can make a polite small-town girl feel free
The 'Other Half' of the storybook marriage, Roger Smith was a bigger star than Ann-Margret when they first met. A regular on the blockbuster TV hit show "77 Sunset Strip" for five years, (1958-1963) he also had a promising film career.
The Official web site promises more to follow about their fairytale relationship, their partnership with legendary producer Alan Carr, Roger's battle with a near fatal disease Myasthenia Gravis and their 35 years together as one of Hollywood's most revered couples
Latest Info: Ann-Margret began 2003 with a new show, opening at Resorts International Hotel in Atlantic City, February 14-16, and Las Vegas March 27 - Apr 2. Many other dates to be announced!!!!
for 'Articles and Stuff' http://home.swipnet.se/~w-60241/Ann-Margret/various/various.html
Book: AM's autobiography, "My Story" came out in 1994. Co-written by Todd Gold, it's not a tell-all thing but still a must for the dedicated fan. Sadly, no filmography or discography
Ann-Margret wrote about her problems with alcohol and depression in the biography
Ann-Margret is also one of the fortunate, few (John?) ladies who can boast having had SAO stalwart John Pashley's hand up their skirt. Lucky -------. Maybe when JP has overcome his imminent rematch with the medics, he could consider regaling us with an (expurgated) tale or two concerning his exploits with 'Rusty'
Colin Kilgour - April 2003
|These pages were originally published as "This Is My Story" in the
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please contact Dik de Heer at firstname.lastname@example.org