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Also Known As: Ann-Margaret Olsson Died:
Born: April 28, 1941 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Sweden Profession: actor, singer, dancer, cabaret performer, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Dismissed in the 1960s as a mere "sex kitten," Ann-Margret's career outlived her hip-swiveling breakout and over the next four decades proved her tremendous talent and staying power as a singer, dancer and fine dramatic actress. She began her career on the cabaret stage, which she revisited throughout her life as a Las Vegas entertainer and TV variety show host. Her sizzling style was first showcased in the Elvis vehicle "Viva Las Vegas" (1964) as well as "Bye Bye Birdie" (1963); both of which showcased her intriguing beauty, sultry voice and high energy dancing. In the 1970s, she earned respect as a dramatic actress with her Oscar-nominated role in Mike Nichols' "Carnal Knowledge" (1971) and her Golden Globe-winning performance in the rock opera, "Tommy" (1975). The triple-threat's prolific era of made-for-TV movies included a dozen Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations for movies like "A Streetcar Named Desire" (ABC, 1984) and "Queen" (CBS, 1993). Through comedic performances, Ann-Margret experienced a big screen resurgence the following decade, revisiting her sexy image to play a middle-aged heartbreaker in the two-picture series, "Grumpy Old Men" (1993, 1995), and introducing herself to a new...

Dismissed in the 1960s as a mere "sex kitten," Ann-Margret's career outlived her hip-swiveling breakout and over the next four decades proved her tremendous talent and staying power as a singer, dancer and fine dramatic actress. She began her career on the cabaret stage, which she revisited throughout her life as a Las Vegas entertainer and TV variety show host. Her sizzling style was first showcased in the Elvis vehicle "Viva Las Vegas" (1964) as well as "Bye Bye Birdie" (1963); both of which showcased her intriguing beauty, sultry voice and high energy dancing. In the 1970s, she earned respect as a dramatic actress with her Oscar-nominated role in Mike Nichols' "Carnal Knowledge" (1971) and her Golden Globe-winning performance in the rock opera, "Tommy" (1975). The triple-threat's prolific era of made-for-TV movies included a dozen Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations for movies like "A Streetcar Named Desire" (ABC, 1984) and "Queen" (CBS, 1993). Through comedic performances, Ann-Margret experienced a big screen resurgence the following decade, revisiting her sexy image to play a middle-aged heartbreaker in the two-picture series, "Grumpy Old Men" (1993, 1995), and introducing herself to a new generation with "mother" roles in mainstream comedies like "The Break-up" (2006) and "The Santa Clause 3" (2006). With her old-school foundation as a well-rounded "entertainer" and a screen versatility that allowed her to toss off sassy one-liners or elicit sympathy as a woman in crisis, Ann-Margret was a revered member of Hollywood's old guard.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
3.
 Lucky (2011)
4.
 Old Dogs (2009)
6.
 Memory (2007)
7.
 Break-Up, The (2006)
9.
 Taxi (2004) Washburn'S Mom
10.
 Interstate 60 (2003) Cameo Appearance
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1941:
Born in Valsjobyn, a tiny Swedish town near the Arctic Circle
1946:
Moved with mother to Fox Lake, Illinois, near Chicago; father had emigrated from Sweden several years earlier
:
Moved with family to Wilmette, Illinois, where they lived in the funeral parlor at which her mother was receptionist
1954:
At age 13, won a dancing and singing talent contest on a local TV station (date approximate)
1957:
Appeared on "Ted Mack's Amateur Hour" (ABC), winning prize as first runner-up
1958:
Made professional performing debut singing with Danny Ferguson's band for one summer month at the Muehlebach Hotel in Kansas City
1959:
Formed jazz combo, the Suttletones, with three male classmates at Northwestern University; worked in Chicago nightclubs on weekends
1960:
Left school; headed for Las Vegas with group to play gig at the Nevada Hotel in June; job failed to materialize
1960:
Continued on with group to Los Angeles; found agents; worked in Newport Beach, California and Elko and Reno, Nevada
1960:
Noticed by George Burns while singing and playing the maracas in the lounge of the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas; hired for $100 per night for ten nights to perform in his Christmas show at the Congo Room of the Sahara Hotel
1961:
Signed recording contract with RCA (date approximate)
1961:
First major TV appearance on the "Jack Benny Show" (CBS) led to a contract with 20th Century-Fox and her first movie
1961:
Film acting debut as Bette Davis' daughter in Frank Capra's "A Pocketful of Miracles"
1961:
Released first album "And Here She Is--Ann-Margret"
1962:
Performed the Oscar-nominated song "Bachelor in Paradise" at the Academy Awards ceremony; received write-up in <i>Show Magazine</i> that said: "In the space of three minutes, Ann-Margret became the hottest name in town"
1962:
Played sweet-but-seductive bombshell-next-door in third-rate film remake of the musical "State Fair"
1963:
Sang at President John F Kennedy's 46th birthday party, just as Marilyn Monroe had the year before
1963:
Co-starred as Kim McAfee in the film adaptation of the Broadway hit "Bye Bye Birdie"; sang on the popular soundtrack album
1964:
Performed at President Lyndon B Johnson's inaugural gala
1964:
Made motion picture exhibitors poll of top ten boxoffice stars, placing eighth; acted opposite Elvis Presley in "Viva Las Vegas"; also starred in "Kitten with a Whip" and "The Pleasure Seekers"
:
Turned down the female lead in "Cat Ballou" (1965)
1965:
Displayed plenty of cleavage in her sexy portrayal of Steve McQueen's trampy wife in "The Cincinnati Kid"
:
Inspired and voiced the character of Ann-Margrock on an episode of "The Flintstones" (ABC)
1968:
Hosted first TV special, "The Ann-Margret Show" (CBS)
1970:
Elicited some favorable reviews for her turn in Stanley Kramer misfire, "R.P.M"
1971:
Received increased critical respect and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role in "Carnal Knowledge", directed by Mike Nichols
:
Performed regularly in Las Vegas; became known for a time as 'The Queen of Vegas', 'The Swedish Meatball' and, again in reference to her Scandinavian origins, 'The Vegas Valkyrie'
1972:
Fell 22 feet from a stage platform while performing at the Sahara Hotel, Lake Tahoe, Nevada (November 10); was in a coma for three days; suffered concussion and many fractures, including ones in her left arm, jaw, and five other facial bones; returned to the stage in ten weeks
1973:
Acted opposite John Wayne in "The Train Robbers"
1973:
Starred in TV musical variety special, "Ann-Margret ... When You're Smiling" (NBC), an edited version of her Las Vegas stage act; was her most popular TV special, drawing over 51 million viewers
1975:
Earned Oscar nomination as Best Actress for her turn as Nora Walker Hobbs in "Tommy", Ken Russell's film version of the Who's rock opera
1975:
Entertained President and Mrs Ford and the Shah and Empress of Iran at the White House
1977:
Headlined as Lady Booby in Tony Richardson's "Joseph Andrews", the director's failed attempt to recapture the glory of his "Tom Jones" (1963)
1978:
Gave another well-received performance alongside Anthony Hopkins in "Magic", directed by Richard Attenborough
:
Acknowledged she was an alcoholic and began treatment
1979:
Acted with Kirk Douglas and Arnold Schwarzeneggar in Hal Needham's "The Villain"
1980:
Starred in last TV variety special (to date) "Ann-Margret's Hollywood Movie Girls" (ABC)
1981:
First film with Walter Matthau, "I Ought to Be in Pictures"
1982:
Portrayed Alan Bates' doting cousin in "The Return of the Soldier"
1983:
TV dramatic debut, "Who Will Love My Children?" (ABC); earned her an Emmy nomination; first collaboration with director John Erman who convinced her to shed her "glamour" image for the part of an Iowa farm wife dying of cancer
1984:
Scored a triumph as Blanche DuBois in the ABC-TV remake of "A Streetcar Named Desire", earning a second Emmy nomination; again directed by Erman
1985:
Played home-wrecking other woman in "Twice in a Lifetime", co-starring Gene Hackman and Ellen Burstyn
1986:
Turned in fine performance as Roy Scheider's wife in John Frankenheimer's "52 Pick-Up"
1987:
Earned another Emmy nomination for her miniseries debut, "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" (NBC), helmed by Erman; starred opposite Claudette Colbert who was returning to the screen after a 25-year absence
1991:
Made NYC debut at Radio City Music Hall
1993:
Co-starred with Jack Lemmon and Matthau in the hit comedy "Grumpy Old Men"
1993:
Picked up fourth Emmy nomination for the miniseries "Queen" (CBS), helmed by Erman; played a woman who aged from 35 to 85, ending up with a dowager's hump, bad teeth and failing eyesight (contact lenses gave the appearance of cataracts)
1994:
Portrayed madam Belle Watling in CBS miniseries "Scarlett", adapted from Alexandra Ripley's "sequel" to "Gone With the Wind"; sixth collaboration with Erman; network censors cut one of her scenes for US version
1994:
Produced (through Ann-Margret Productions) and starred in "Following Her Heart" (NBC), directed by Lee Grant; first time singing in a TV-movie; her mother helped her rehearse her role as a Swedish immigrant, guaranteeing an authentic accent
1995:
Reprised her role in the sequel "Grumpier Old Men"
1996:
Played a popular teacher who uses her wiles to convince three students into killing her husband in the fact-based NBC miniseries "Seduced By Madness: The Diane Borchardt Story"; produced through Ann-Margret Productions
1998:
TV series debut as regular, starring in the short-lived CBS midseason replacement "Four Corners"; show cancelled after three episodes aired; produced through Ann-Margret Productions
1998:
Won plaudits (and a fifth Emmy nod) for her impersonation of Pamela Harriman in the Lifetime biographical movie "Life of the Party: The Pamela Harriman Story"
1999:
Was almost unrecognizable as a wily grandmother who frames her abusive younger boyfriend in "Happy Face Murders" (Showtime); first collaboration with actress Marg Helgenberger
1999:
Portrayed the estranged mother of a football team owner (Cameron Diaz) in Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday"
2000:
Essayed the role of a 200-year-old Cinderella (who looks 55) in NBC fantasy miniseries "The 10th Kingdom"
2000:
Reteamed with Helgenberger (as Patsy Ramsey) for CBS miniseries "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town", a look at the murder of JonBenet Ramsey
2000:
Acted in Burt Reynolds' "The Last Producer" (shot in 1999); screened at Cannes; aired on USA Network in 2001
2001:
Starred as Miss Mona in a national tour of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"; debut as a musical theater performer; briefly withdrew from performances in late February to care for her ill mother
2001:
Co-starred in "A Woman's a Helluva Thing" (filmed 1999); screened at Seattle Film Festival
2006:
Joined with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston in the comedy "The Break-Up"
2006:
Cast as Santa's mother-in-law in "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause"
2007:
Co-starred with Billy Zane in the psychological thriller, "Memory"
2009:
Appeared with Robin Williams and John Travolta in the comedy, "Old Dogs"
2010:
Guest-starred on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Northwestern University: Evanston , Illinois -
New Trier High School: Winnetka , Illinois - 1959

Notes

She has an official web site at www.ann-margret.com

Named Female Star of the Year by the United Motion Pictures Association three times

Received PHOTOPLAY Magazine's Gold Medal Award as Most Popular Actress in both 1971 and 1972

Awarded a citation for outstanding performances for her tours of Vietnam and the Far East, presented by former President Lyndon B Johnson

"When I die, I want Ann-Margret to dance on my coffin. If you don't see me in five minutes, you'll know I'm dead for sure." --John Wayne

"What I'm happy about is there's no bitterness in me. About anything. How can I be bitter when my life is so good." --Ann-Margret quoted in USA Today, February 9, 1994.

About the dichotomy of her sexy image and her spiritual beliefs, Ann-Margaret told the Los Angeles Times (February 5, 2002): I know it sounds really strange. But [the religious side] is a part of me that I have not had a chance to show. I've always believed in the Lord, and I really felt good being able to express myself that way."

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Burt Sugarman. Executive, producer. Prominent Hollywood businessman; briefly engaged in 1962; married TV host Mary Hart in 1989.
companion:
Elvis Presley. Singer, actor. Co-starred with Ann-Margret in "Viva Las Vegas" (1964); romantically involved for a time c. 1964; the two remained friends until Presley's 1977 death.
husband:
Roger Smith. Producer, writer, personal manager, businessman, former actor. Together since 1964; married on May 8, 1967; served as wife's personal manager; starred on TV series, "77 Sunset Strip" (ABC, 1958-63); has three children from a previous marriage; suffers from muscle-debilitating disease myasthenia gravis.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Gustav Olsson. Electrician. Had worked for a time in the USA during his youth; emigrated back to the USA in 1942 shortly after Ann-Margret's birth when he got a job with the Johnson Electrical Company; mother, initially reluctant to leave Sweden, and Ann-Margret followed in 1946.
mother:
Anna Olsson. Funeral parlor receptionist. Mother went to work after father became too ill to continue with his job at the electric company.
step-son:
Jordan Smith.
step-daughter:
Tracey Smith.
step-daughter:
Dallas Thomas Smith.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Exercises For the Tired Businessman"
"Ann-Margret: A Photo Extravaganza and Memoir" Delilah Books
"Ann-Margret: My Story" G.P. Putnam's Sons

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