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  • Born

    28 April 1941 (age 77)

Ann-Margret (born April 28, 1941) is a Swedish actress and singer who was born Ann-Margret Olsson in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland, Sweden. She moved to the United States when she was young and grew up in Wilmette, Illinois. She attended Northwestern University and was discovered singing in a nightclub by George Burns. She was often referred to as a "sex-kitten" and the "female Elvis".

Ann-Margret started recording for RCA in 1961, but her recording career was not as successful as her concurrent movie career. She had a sexy, throaty singing voice comparable to Eartha Kitt or Nancy Sinatra, and RCA attempted to capitalize on her "Female Elvis" comparison by her recording a version of Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" and other songs stylistically similar to Presley. She scored one minor hit, "I Just Don't Understand" (which entered the Billboard Top 40 in the third week of August 1961 and stayed 6 weeks, peaking at #17.) Her only charting album is The Beauty and the Beard (1964), on which she was accompanied by trumpeter Al Hirt. The contract with RCA ended in 1966.

Years later, she returned to music at the end of Disco era. Her 1980 album, "Ann-Margret" became a success with both singles, "Midnight Message" and "Love Rush" reaching the Top 10 of the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. In the early 1980s, the album was followed up with the single, "Everybody Needs Somebody Sometimes" and the B-Side "Hold Me/Squeeze Me." Ann Margret has continued to record music sporatically since then.
Film career

In 1961 she also made her film début for in Pocketful of Miracles, starring Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, and Hope Lange, a remake of the Oscar-winning 1933 film Lady for a Day; both versions were directed by the great Frank Capra. She followed that role with the successful remake of Rodgers' and Hammerstein's musical State Fair in 1962. Her next starring role, as the all-American teenager in Bye Bye Birdie, made her a major star. When she filmed Viva Las Vegas with Elvis Presley the two began an affair that received considerable attention from the gossip columnists in various media. The reports led to a showdown with a very worried Priscilla Beaulieu, which she recounts in her 1985 book, Elvis and Me, including Ann-Margret's attempt to "cut her off at the pass" with a press announcement that Ann-Margret and Elvis were engaged to be married. Although he ended the affair, Presley remained a friend and continued to send her flowers at the opening of each of her stage appearances until he died. Of all the Hollywood starlets he had worked with or had a relationship with, Ann-Margret was the only one to attend his funeral.
In 1963, Ann-Margret was featured and guest-starred, in animated form, in an episode of Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones as "Ann-Margrock." Decades later, she recorded the theme song to the live-action film The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas in character as Ann-Margrock. The song she recorded was a modified version of the "Viva Las Vegas" theme.\

In March 1966, Ann-Margret and entertainers Chuck Day and Mickey Jones teamed up for a USO tour to entertain U.S. servicemen in remote parts of Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia. She still has great affection for the veterans and refers to them as "my gentlemen". Ann-Margret, Day and Jones reunited for an encore of this tour for veterans and troops at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada in November 2005.

In 1971, she starred in Mike Nichols's Carnal Knowledge, marking a change from her sex-kitten musical roles, garnering a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The following year, while performing at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, she fell 22 feet from the stage and suffered injuries that put her out of commission for several months. Throughout the 1970s, Ann-Margret balanced her live performances with a string of critically acclaimed dramatic film performances that played against her glamorous image, including Tommy in 1975, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In addition, she has been nominated for ten Golden Globe Awards, winning five times including Best Actress for Tommy. She also did a string of successful TV specials, starting with The Ann-Margret Show for NBC in 1968. Now in her mid-60s, she continues to act in movies.

In 1994, she published an autobiography titled Ann Margret: My Story (ISBN 0-399-13891-9). She has been married to actor Roger Smith since 1967. Smith suffers from myasthenia gravis, and Ann-Margret has devoted much of her life to caring for him.
In 2001 Ann-Margret made her first appearance in a stage musical, playing the character of Mona Stangley in a new touring production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

She has also filmed the movie "Mem-o-re", where she stars with Billy Zane and Dennis Hopper.

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