Ann-Margret Shows No Signs Of Slowing Down In Her 80s And Has Even Found New Love
Jan 24, 2023 by apost team
Actress, singer and dancer Ann-Margret has been stealing hearts on stage and in film since the 1960s. She is best known for her performances in the films "Bye Bye Birdie," "Viva Las Vegas," "The Cincinnati Kid," "Carnal Knowledge," and "The Train Robbers," among others. Ann-Margret has taken home five Golden Globe Awards and has been nominated for two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards and six Emmy Awards. She won the Emmy for Best Guest Appearance at the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards for her performance in "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit."
Ann-Margret was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 28, 1941. Her family moved to the United States in 1941 and settled outside of Chicago, Illinois. In 1949, Ann-Margret became a naturalized citizen of the US. The star later attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, where she participated in theater. In 1959, Ann-Margret began attending Northwestern University but did not graduate.
Beginning her entertainment career in 1961, it was the film "Bye Bye Birdie" that launched Ann-Margret to stardom in 1963. Then in 1964, she starred alongside Elvis in "Viva Las Vegas," and they had a short romance before becoming lifelong friends.
While working on the film "Once a Thief" in 1965, Ann-Margret met her future husband, Roger Smith, who is best known for starring in the series "77 Sunset Strip." They began dating, and they were married in 1967. Ann-Margret became stepmother to Smith's three children, Tracy, Jordan and Dallas. Smith passed away in 2017, but Ann-Margret remains a loving stepmother and is now a grandmother as well. Read on to learn more about what Ann-Margret is up to now that she is in her 80s.
Ann-Margret had been pursuing her dreams since she was little before she got into the industry. In an interview with the 700 Club, the star opened up and said:
"Ever since I was 4 years old, I loved making people smile, making them think, making them feel good, feel some kind of emotion."
She told the New York Times in 1994 that she always tried to be a good girl growing up.
"I always tried to be the perfect little girl. Always tried to have the perfect little manners. Never wanted to displease my parents. But you're setting yourself up," she admitted.
The star knew that she had a gift that she wanted to share with the world, and that is exactly what she did after starring in her high school theatre before beginning her career with "Bye Bye Birdie."
After her box office hit with "Bye Bye Birdie," she moved on to "Viva Las Vegas," where she was joined by another icon who she called "E.P." In a sitdown interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Ann-Margret opened up about their first time meeting.
"It was kind of awkward," she said. "'Hi' but it was great," she added.
In 1972, Ann-Margret fell from a scaffold while performing on stage in Lake Tahoe. The accident severely damaged her face, and she needed surgery to fix it. During that time, the star received countless letters from fans wishing her well. "When I first started out," she said to Roger Ebert in 1983, "I was really, really scared when I performed before an audience. I'd look over their heads. Now there's a more personal connection. I think that some of the people who wrote those letters are in every audience. The accident really showed me something, and I'm much freer on stage now."
During her interview with Ebert, Ann-Margret was preparing to take her Las Vegas show on the road. Performing onstage really fulfills the performer, and she enjoyed every minute of it. "Going through with this tour might seem crazy, everything considered, but we both love it. I love to be onstage. It's an electric thing with me. It has been since I was 4 years old. Before the curtain goes up, I'm like a racehorse at the starting gate. I can't wait. Roger, on the other hand, never wanted to be a performer.
"He did it, but he was happy to stop. For him, it was work. For me, it isn't," Ann-Margret explained.
As much as she loves performing, Ann-Margret's schedule while filming "A Streetcar Named Desire" was rather hectic. She shared:
"I worked until five this morning, filming 'Streetcar.' It's the finest role I've ever had, and it's taking the most out of me. I'm not a technical actress, I'm an emotional actress, and if Blanche Dubois feels something, I do … I'm keeping pretty busy. But one thing I've learned is that the experiences you go through, the good and the bad, make you stronger."
She led on about her husband's illness as well as her crazy and hectic tour schedule. Ann-Margret said:
Roger Smith, Ann-Margret (1970), (Art Zelin/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
"That, yes, and other things. Going through with this tour might seem crazy, everything considered, but we both love it. I love to be onstage. It's an electric thing with me. It has been since I was 4 years old. Before the curtain goes up, I'm like a racehorse at the starting gate. I can't wait. Roger, on the other hand, never wanted to be a performer. He did it, but he was happy to stop."
She went on to add:
"For him, it worked. For me, it isn't. One's enough in the family. Roger is a producer. He loves to engineer things and coordinate things and get everything to happen all at once on schedule in the way it's supposed to. We get our little nucleus together, Roger and me and our choreographer, and we're really happy, because we really believe in putting on a show."
Not only did the star have to deal with a once-in-a-lifetime career and husband, but she also had deep battles of her own. She told the 700 Club that she dealt with alcohol problems as well.
"I dealt with it. You never really overcome it. But I dealt with it," she said. She went on to add, "You always have to be aware of it. But, I have been without it now for 32 years. All my life I've had this feeling, deep, deep, deep inside of me… my faith and my feelings."
Ann-Margret has always been extremely open about how her faith life has gotten her through some of her toughest moments. When she experienced hard times in the past, she said she would simply step outside.
"I mean you go outside and you see flowers. You see the trees. You see all your loved ones, you see… and then you think of Who created it all," the star revealed.
The icon also opened up and said that the reason she has worked so hard her entire life is because of her love for her family.
"Friends and family. That's what it is. That's what it's all about," she said proudly.
The star's long career hasn't gone unnoticed either. Over the course of her career, the lady has taken home a handful of nominations as well as awards.Ann-Margret (1970s), (Darlene Hammond/Getty Images)
The star has had a long-lasting impact because of not only her successful work projects but also her generous heart too. Ann-Margret traveled to South East Asia multiple times during the Vietnam War to perform for American troops on land and sea.
"I was there in 1966 and 1968, and oh boy you talk about heart bumping oh!" the star remembered. Her love and impact on the world stretch far and wide. One reason people love her so much is because of her relationship with her husband, Smith. Speaking with the New York Times, she said she knew almost right away she would go on to marry Smith.
"The man I married is the man I knew I was going to marry on the third date," she said. Ann-Margret also told People in 2017, "I knew he would protect me. I knew that I could depend on him. I sensed it completely," she said. In May of 1967, she and Smith finally tied the knot.
"This is not the way I envisioned my wedding," she admitted. "I think everyone thought I was pregnant because I was crying through the whole thing. But we did it!"
The couple's marriage was not easy or simple. Between her near-death fall and his diagnosis of myasthenia gravis, a nerve-and-muscle disorder, the couple was tested. However, the award-winning star said even through all of that, their marriage was more than worth it.
"It's very simple actually," she said. "We both want it to work." She and Smith didn't have children, but she was a stepmother to his three children from his marriage to Victoria Shaw.
"I met them when they were 3, 6, and 7," she told Closer Weekly. She sounded like a proud stepmom when she said, "Two of them are doctors."Elvis Presley, Ann-Margret (1964), (Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty Images)
Ann-Margret turned 81 in April 2022, and she is still keeping busy. However, now that her husband has passed away, the star spends her free time with his children and grandchildren. "Her stepdaughter Tracey and stepsons Jordan and Dallas all adore her," an insider told Closer Weekly. "She is a doting grandmother to all their kids. She sees them, speaks to them and Zooms with them all frequently."
Losing Smith in 2017 was devastating for Ann-Margret, especially because, as her manager, she and Smith spent all of their time together. "They couldn't stand to be apart from each other, being on film sets on opposite ends of the country," a friend of the couple said. "Roger stepping in as her manager was a way for them to always be together."
After spending 50 years married to Ann-Margret, Smith passed away from complications due to myasthenia gravis. However, Ann-Margret has not given up on enjoying life and holds on to her husband's memory. "She lets herself be sad, but also cherishes the years they had together," the insider added. "She believes he is still watching out for her."
Ann-Margret is still working in Hollywood even now and has no interest in slowing down. She has consistently worked in television throughout the majority of the early 2000s. She starred in the 2021 film "Queen Bees" in a star-studded cast that included James Caan, Ellen Burstyn and Christopher Lloyd. "You're not dead when you reach a certain age," she said. "You have to keep living and not sit at home and watch TV alone. You have to participate."
The legendary performer explained, "I always think that age is a natural progression, and I'm ready for it. Whatever! I'm going to be the best 85-year-old I can be."Ann-Margret, Roger Smith (1975), (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)
The star actress also still makes time for activities that she loves, like riding her purple Harley motorcycle.
"You know being outside with the wind and rain whatever out there. It's just exciting," she said. Not only is she making time for herself, but she has also found love again. The woman who was married for nearly 50 years opened up to CBS and shared how her perspective on love is different than it was before.
"It's a nice feeling. He's not a stranger, you know?" she said. Between riding her motorcycle for fun, seeing her new boyfriend, and being famous, Ann-Margret is still very busy.
"My whole life, how can this happen?" she said as she reminisced on her life and career full of success and fame. "I'm so thankful for everything," the living legend added.
"I'm very thankful that I have another day yep," Ann-Margret ended her interview.
In May of 2022, Ann-Margret was awarded an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Humane Letters by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Over the course of her career, she has acted in more than 50 feature films and has acted in over 18 television shows. The living legend still lives in her Los Angeles home that she and her late husband Smith bought together in 1968. These days the star looks forwards to her walking group.
She told Fox News in February of 2022 that having this group gives her something to keep her active and look forward to.
Ann-Margret (2022), (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
"On Monday, there might be three of us," Ann-Margret explained. "Another day, there might be 15. We go to a different place every weekend to walk. I'm excited to go," she said.
Can you believe that Ann-Margret is still working after all these years in Hollywood? She is a living icon! If you love this legend, be sure to pass this on to other huge fans of hers!