The Swedish-American actress, singer, and dancing legend Ann-Margret is fast approaching her 79th birthday and is still as stunning as ever. In honor of the beloved star’s enduring beauty and longevous career, here’s a look back at the highlights of her life so far.
Born as Ann-Margret Olsson in a Swedish farming town on April 28, 1941, the would-be performer experienced a humble start to life.
At the age of 6, Ann-Margret and her family moved to the north shore suburbs of Chicago, where her father, Gustav Olsson, worked as an electrician. After Gustav suffered a fall, the family moved into a funeral home in exchange for Ann-Margret’s mother working as the home’s receptionist.
According to a 1978 interview with People magazine, Ann-Margret occasionally had to endure sleeping in the same room as the caskets. However, despite her family’s hardships, Ann-Margret, the only child to her parents, described being “raised very well by a strong family,” to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“I went to church, Sunday school,” she said. “I learned all the right values.”
Ann-Margret then moved to Los Angeles as a teen, joined a college singing group, and caught the attention of comedian George Burns. Burns cast the young actress in his annual holiday show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ann-Margret began recording for RCA Victor in 1961. She got her big break with roles in Bye Bye Birdie (1963) and Viva Las Vegas (1964), in which she starred alongside Elvis Presley.
Ann-Margret then met 77 Sunset Strip actor Roger Smith in 1961. Some years later, after only their third date, the actress admitted she knew she wanted Smith to become her husband. “I knew he would protect me,” the star told People. “I knew that I could depend on him.”
The couple eloped to Las Vegas in 1967. Ann-Margret happily adopted the role of loving stepmother to Smith’s three children; the couple did not have any children of their own.
Smith sacrificed his own acting career to manage his wife; “the amount of money the two of us could generate separately wasn’t worth the loneliness,” he explained. “Roger still makes the final decisions, but we discuss everything first,” Ann-Margret clarified at the time, adding, “I choose to be in that kind of relationship.”
In 1972, Ann-Margret suffered a near-fatal fall from a 22-foot-high platform while performing but made a full recovery and returned to the stage just 10 weeks later. The actress received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1973.
In addition, she has amassed five Golden Globe awards, received two Oscar nominations, and many more accolades throughout the duration of her five-decade-long career.
Coming to represent a rare success story in terms of longevous Hollywood marriages, Ann-Margret and Roger Smith celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary together in 2017. Sadly, Smith passed away at the age of 84 just a few months after their anniversary celebration.
Ann-Margret cites being a happy person and is in great health into her late seventies. “It’s not the number,” Ann-Margret told Dispatch at the age of 75, “it’s the vibes going on. You can still go after what you want at any age.”
“You know it, you reach for it, you get it,” the actress continued. “There is still a wonderful life to live.”