Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Birthdate: April 28, 1941
Famous Years: 1960-Present
Currently Known For: "Papa", "Going in Style"
|Networth: $20 Million||Famous For: "Bye Bye Birdie", "Viva Las Vegas", "The Cincinnati Kid"|
April 28, 1941
"Papa", "Going in Style"
"Bye Bye Birdie", "Viva Las Vegas", "The Cincinnati Kid"
A veteran of stage, screen and music, Ann-Margret is one of the most famous Swedish performers to ever make it to Hollywood, if not the most famous. For more than 50 years, Ann-Margret has been dazzling audiences, first starting out in the 1960s and is still working today.
Ann-Margret (born with the last name Olsson) was born in Sweden on April 28, 1941 and moved to the United States a year later, and quickly knew she wanted to be a performer. “Ever since I was four years old, I loved making people smile, making them think, making them feel good, feel some kind of emotion,” she said. Ann-Margret performed regularly as a child and grew up in northern Illinois, eventually attending Northwestern University.
After leaving college early in hopes of becoming an entertainer, Ann-Margret started to perform with a group known as the Suttletones, sticking around in the Chicago area. They would then make their way to Los Angeles after a planned show in Las Vegas was cancelled, but she would make her way back to Sin City to open up for acts such as Tony Bennett. It was then that she was discovered by George Burns, who enlisted her talents in his show. “Everything that came from that performance - those ten days and ten nights in Las Vegas” are what changed her career.
Planning on becoming a singer, Ann-Margret landed her first recording deal when she was just 19 years old with RCA. Meeting Burns is what helped her get that big break, and there were many that felt she could become the female equivalent of Elvis Presley (more on him in a bit). Not every career path ends up being exactly the way it’s planned, though.
To start of the 1960s, Ann-Margret had landed a job with 20th Century Fox, inking a deal that would keep her on screen for at least seven years. For the first time, she was featured in a film in in 1961 in “Pocketful of Miracles”, and followed it up the next year with “State Fair”. After another starring role in “Bye Bye Birdie”, the biggest part of Ann-Margret’s career was right around the corner.
It was in 1964 that she met Elvis Presley while filming the movie “Viva Las Vegas”, which instantly put out rumors that the two were a couple. The rumors were never directly addressed at the time, with Ann-Margret being very reserved on the topic for decades. “He was terrific. He was just terrific,” she would eventually say. “And he had such great talent that he never had a chance to show. I think he would have been a wonderful dramatic actor.”
Following the memorable role with Presley, Ann-Margret would continue to star in a slew of movies throughout the decade, and would then get into television. She had her own television special on CBS, and in the 1970s would return to the big screen. Some of her more memorable movies from the decade include “Carnal Knowledge” that landed her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and “Tommy”, which earned her the same award nomination. Later in the decade, she’d pick up several more award nominations for her roles in “Joseph Andrews” and “Magic”.
When the 1980s came around, Ann-Margret was still being featured in movies, but this time many of her roles were on television. She would earn a pair of Golden Globe Awards and another nomination for her TV movies such as “Who Will Love My Children?”, “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles”. The TV movie roles would continue will into the 1990s, and she had her returns to the silver screen every now and then with movies like “Any Given Sunday” and “Newsies”.
Ann-Margret would get away from the small screen for the most part in the new millennium. Instead, she focused on blockbuster movies in smaller roles such as “The Santa Clause 3”, “The Break-Up” and “Taxi”. She’s worked with the likes of everyone from John Travolta and Robin Williams to Pat Boone and Bobby Darin during her career, with plenty of awards to show for it.
Ann-Margret had been married to actor Roger Smith since 1967, as she said that she knew on their third date that they were bound to get married. Even as he was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, he and Ann-Margret shared a strong bond that saw their marriage last for 50 years, which is almost unheard of in show business. “Both of you have to want it to work, and we (did),” she said. Sadly, he would pass away in 2017 at the age of 84, but not before a long life that was complete thanks to Ann-Margret.
Despite the loss of her husband and now being in her late 70s, Ann-Margret hasn’t shied away from show business just yet. In 2017, she would star in the Zach Braff-directed film “Going in Style”, and followed it up the next year with a role in “Papa”. She’s also been on television recently, starring as June in the show “Ray Donovan”. Ann-Margret’s workload isn’t as full as it once was, but that doesn’t mean she’s retired by any stretch. It’s her personal life that matters to her most these days, saying “Friends and family. That’s what it is. That’s what it’s all about.”