Ann-Margret displays on ‘Viva Las Vegas,’ visiting troops in Vietnam: ‘Being with them has been in my coronary heart’

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(L-R) Ann-Margret and Julianne Hough attend the 24th Family Film Awards at Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City on March 24, 2021, in Universal City, California.


EXCLUSIVE: Ann-Margret was a Hollywood newcomer when she sang and danced her technique to stardom in 1963’s “Bye Bye Birdie” – and she or he nonetheless manages to go away followers speechless a long time later.

The 79-year-old not too long ago attended the 24th Household Movie Awards the place she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The star, who was as soon as billed as the feminine model of Elvis Presley, has carved out her personal profitable decades-long profession. She has gone on to win 5 Golden Globes and has been nominated for 2 Academy Awards.

Ann-Margret spoke to Fox Information about reaching fame, working alongside The King in “Viva Las Vegas,” heading to Vietnam to go to our troops, in addition to her marriage to actor/producer Roger Smith.

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(L-R) Ann-Margret and Julianne Hough attend the 24th Family Film Awards at Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City on March 24, 2021, in Universal City, California.

(L-R) Ann-Margret and Julianne Hough attend the 24th Household Movie Awards at Hilton Los Angeles/Common Metropolis on March 24, 2021, in Common Metropolis, California.
(Picture by Amy Sussman/Getty Photos)

Fox Information: How does it really feel to be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this level in your life?
Ann-Margret: Nicely, to start with, I really feel so very blessed right now in my life. All the pieces’s so thrilling. However what can I say? I don’t anticipate something. And when issues like this come my manner, I simply really feel so grateful. I’m so grateful. I really feel really blessed that I’m nonetheless being remembered.

Fox Information: Julianne Hough did a efficiency in your honor. What did you consider it?
Ann-Margret: She’s superb. She’s a triple menace. She sings, dances and acts. She’s a terrific woman and I loved assembly her.

Fox Information: What has saved you going as a performer?
Ann-Margret: Vitality! I’ve a lot power. *laughs*. However ever since I used to be 4 years outdated, I wished to be a performer. I used to be nonetheless in Sweden. My household, all of us lived collectively below one home and we might harmonize on a regular basis. We had been a really musical household, all the time. So it has all the time felt very pure. And I might all the time carry out any time we had folks come over. When mom and I got here to America, daddy had already come right here about 5 years in the past and it was throughout World Warfare II. So after all, we needed to wait as a result of the struggle was happening.

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Swedish-American actress Ann-Margret poses with an ocelot in a promotional still for 'Kitten With A Whip', directed by Douglas Heyes, 1964. 

Swedish-American actress Ann-Margret poses with an ocelot in a promotional nonetheless for ‘Kitten With A Whip’, directed by Douglas Heyes, 1964. 
(Picture by Silver Display Assortment/Getty Photos)

Lastly, daddy despatched us tickets and we arrived outdoors of Chicago – Fox Lake, Illinois. I used to be six years outdated. I began college and I discovered methods to communicate English in a short time. My mom discovered from my aunts and uncles. So it took her a short while longer. However all through that journey, our love of music by no means left us. And that love of performing has by no means left me.

Fox Information: How nervous had been you to tackle the movie “Bye Bye Birdie”?
Ann-Margret: Oh my goodness. I had no thought how a lot that movie would change my life. I didn’t know what all of it meant. I simply saved working very arduous at it and did my very best. And I beloved it. I feel it exhibits. I by no means wish to know what’s going to occur to me in life. I wish to be shocked.

Fox Information: The movie options so many display screen legends. What was your relationship like with the solid?
Ann-Margret: It was nice. My goodness. Bobby Rydell and I’ve remained pals this whole time. [My husband] Roger noticed him carry out in lots of locations since then. He not too long ago despatched me his ebook and I discovered concerning the trials and tribulations he went via. However that’s referred to as life, proper? He went via such terrible issues. He’s effective now and we’re nonetheless nice pals. 

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Actress Ann-Margaret (L) and actor Bobby Rydell attend the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences screening of the newly restored, 'Bye Bye Birdie' at the AMPAS Theatre on April 27, 2011, in Beverly Hills, California. 

Actress Ann-Margaret (L) and actor Bobby Rydell attend the Academy of Movement Photos Arts and Sciences screening of the newly restored, ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ on the AMPAS Theatre on April 27, 2011, in Beverly Hills, California. 
(Picture by Michael Buckner/Getty Photos)

Fox Information: When did you notice that you simply had been well-known? When did the whole lot really change for you?
Ann-Margret: It began altering instantly after “Bye Bye Birdie.” And through “Viva Las Vegas”. And by the point “Kitten with a Whip” got here alongside, you simply couldn’t deny it anymore! *laughs*.

Fox Information: It’s been mentioned that as quickly as you grew to become a star, you acquire your dad and mom a home.
Ann-Margret: I put it of their names, too. I used to be simply so thrilled as a result of they did the whole lot on the planet for me. Daddy was an electrician and mom was a housewife. However they did the whole lot for me. They had been very, very scared once I was going to Los Angeles as a result of they’ve heard tales about Hollywood. I’m an solely youngster and I used to be raised very strictly, however lovingly. They had been simply so scared that I might go along with individuals who would damage me. However that second meant a lot to me. I nonetheless get emotional once I give it some thought.

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Ann-Margret has led a decades-long career in Hollywood.

Ann-Margret has led a decades-long profession in Hollywood.
(Picture by Silver Display Assortment/Getty Photos)

Fox Information: You all the time seem easy in your dance routines. The place did your confidence come from?
Ann-Margret: I’m glad it appears easy *laughs*. Nicely, I completely beloved it. Once I was a bit of woman in Sweden, I got here from a small village generally known as Valsjöbyn. I assume I’m the black sheep who determined to develop into a present enterprise woman.

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John Wayne holding Ann-Margret in publicity portrait for the film 'The Train Robbers', 1973.

John Wayne holding Ann-Margret in publicity portrait for the movie ‘The Prepare Robbers’, 1973.
(Picture by Warner Brothers/Getty Photos)

Fox Information: You labored with John Wayne early on in your profession. What shocked you essentially the most about him?
Ann-Margret: Oh, I didn’t know what to anticipate. However when he hugged me, it’s just like the world was hugging me. He was so large and vast with that booming voice. We had been taking pictures in Durango, Mexico and my dad and mom got here down to go to me. He was so nice with my dad and mom. So completely welcoming and mild with them. And anyone who was nice to my dad and mom was on a throne in my eyes. I used to be pals with him endlessly. He was by no means [pretentious]. He had so many pals and each single individual beloved him. 

Fox Information: What’s one reminiscence out of your time filming “Viva Las Vegas” and dealing with Elvis Presley that makes you smile at present?
Ann-Margret: Simply interested by “Viva Las Vegas,” or anytime somebody mentions it, I smile. It was one of many happiest instances of my life. George Sidney, who directed “Bye Bye Birdie” additionally directed “Viva Las Vegas.” And imagine it or not, I had by no means seen E.P. carry out.

I do know that’s arduous to imagine however I hadn’t! I actually obtained to see it once we had been rehearsing, singing and dancing with one another. However we moved very a lot the identical. And he beloved his mom. I beloved my mom and father. I had a good time. We had been pals ‘until the tip. I had a good time.

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Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley in the musical film 'Viva Las Vegas', 1964. 

Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley within the musical movie ‘Viva Las Vegas’, 1964. 
(Picture by Silver Display Assortment/Getty Photos)

Fox Information: One of the vital vital moments of your profession was while you went to Vietnam. How a lot of an affect did assembly these troops have on you?
Ann-Margret: It nonetheless has an affect on me to today. I went in 1966 and 1968. I had gotten a protracted letter from G.I.s who wished me to return over and see them. And naturally, I wished to go over the following day! However I needed to wait. However I nonetheless have all of the notes and letters I acquired from so many gents. And women, too. Being with them has been in my coronary heart your entire time and it’ll by no means, ever depart my coronary heart. By no means.

Fox Information: What’s one second with a soldier throughout your go to that left an enduring impression on you?
Ann-Margret: I keep in mind I went to the hospitals and noticed these infants. We had been all in the identical age group. However once I noticed them, I simply cried and cried. I’m not a physician. I’m not a nurse. All I may do was carry out for them. With each efficiency I did, I used to be expressing my love for every certainly one of them.

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Thousands of service personnel listen to Ann-Margret sing one of her numbers during a show in Vietnam, circa 1966.

1000’s of service personnel hearken to Ann-Margret sing certainly one of her numbers throughout a present in Vietnam, circa 1966.
(Picture by PhotoQuest/Getty Photos)

I went to an occasion in Las Vegas not too way back and there have been two gents from Vietnam. It felt great to hug them, kiss them and simply speak to them. I’m so thrilled that they’re right here on American soil. I’m an emotional individual. It’s simply so arduous for me to place into phrases what I really feel for these women and men. That may by no means go away. And I’ll all the time love them. That may by no means depart me, no manner. When these G.I.’s wrote to me, I actually wished to go the following day. However they’re in my coronary heart.

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Ann-Margret at a U.S. base in Vietnam. 

Ann-Margret at a U.S. base in Vietnam. 
(Getty Photos)

Fox Information: Trying again at your profession, do you could have any regrets? Is there one thing you would like you may have executed otherwise?
Ann-Margret: Hmm, , at any time when I see my motion pictures, I normally see them in a screening room. I see it one time and that’s it. You possibly can ask my pals. I simply see them one time and that’s it. However no. I did the perfect that I may on the time after which it’s over. You all the time suppose, “I hope it really works. I hope persons are entertained.” However generally it doesn’t work.  However you retain at it should you actually like it.

Fox Information: You’re nonetheless acknowledged as a intercourse image. How do you are feeling concerning the title?
Ann-Margret: What can I say? I feel it’s great. I like it. I really feel very joyful that any person sees me that manner. It’s within the eye of the beholder. In order that’s very, very good. 

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Ann-Margret, circa 1965. 

Ann-Margret, circa 1965. 
(Picture by Silver Display Assortment/Getty Photos)

Fox Information: What’s life like for you at present?
Ann-Margret: I’m dwelling in the identical home that Roger and I purchased in 1968. I’ve three step-children and we raised them right here. Considered one of them handed away a month after Roger handed away. Roger and I had been married 50 years. Depend them, 5-Zero. We nonetheless would have been married besides he grew to become very sick and handed away in 2017. We had simply had our 50th anniversary. Massive, large occasion. And each room right here on this home is simply him and I. 

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Roger Smith and Ann-Margret in the back of a limo; circa 1970; New York.

Roger Smith and Ann-Margret behind a limo; circa 1970; New York.
(Picture by Artwork Zelin/Getty Photos)

Fox Information: What was the key behind such an enduring marriage?
Ann-Margret: We each wished it to work. You possibly can’t have one individual bending over backward to make it work. Each of it’s a must to need it. And we each did. Roger wished to dwell so badly. He simply saved coming again and coming again. But it surely was simply an excessive amount of [in the end]. It was an unbelievable marriage.

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Ann-Margret and her husband Roger Smith in 2017.

Ann-Margret and her husband Roger Smith in 2017.
(Picture credit score ought to learn BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP through Getty Photos)

Fox Information: What do you hope folks will get out of your journey to Hollywood?
Ann-Margret: Right here’s the factor. I’ve all the time been enthusiastic about performing. I did a display screen check at 20th Century Fox the place they only had me singing and dancing. Subsequent factor they bleached my hair orange and I went on from there! You must be actually enthusiastic about your work, no matter it’s. No matter your work is, you do the easiest which you could. You can have quite a lot of nos, however should you’re enthusiastic about it, you simply carry on doing it. 



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