To a fabulous actress and dancer, Happy Birthday Ann-Margret
This Swedish-born actress and singer has remained one of the most famous sex symbols and actresses since the early 1960s, and has continued her career through the following decades. Born in Sweden on April 28, 1941, she came to America at age 6. She studied at Northwestern University and left for Las Vegas to pursue a career as a singer. She was discovered by George Burns and soon afterward got both a record deal at RCA and a film contract at 20th Century Fox. In 1961, her single "I Just Don't Understand" charted in the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. Her acting debut followed the same year as Bette Davis' daughter in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles (1961). She appeared in the musical State Fair (1962) a year later before her breakthrough the following year.
With Bye Bye Birdie (1963) and Viva Las Vegas (1964) opposite Elvis Presley, she became a Top 10 Box Office star, teen idol and even Golden Globe winning actress. She was marketed as Hollywood's hottest young star and in the years to come got awarded the infamous nickname "sex kitten." Some of her pictures, like The Cincinnati Kid (1965) with Steve McQueen, were hits. While others such as Bus Riley's Back in Town (1965) and Murderers' Row (1966), were ripped apart by critics. She couldn't escape being typecast because of her great looks. By the late 1960s, her career stalled, and she turned to foreign films and television for new projects. She returned and was back in the public image with Hollywood films like C.C. and Company (1970), Las Vegas sing-and-dance shows and her own television specials.
She finally overcame her image when she co-starred with Jack Nicholson in Carnal Knowledge (1971), receiving an Academy Award nomination and succeeding in changing her image from sex kitten to respected actress. A near-fatal accident at a Lake Tahoe show in 1972 only momentarily stopped her career. She made a recovery and was again Oscar-nominated in for her performance in Tommy (1975), the rock opera film of the British rock band The Who. Her film career continued successfully into the late '70s with starring roles in films like Magic (1978). She wowed the critics with her performances in Who Will Love My Children? (1983) (TV) and the remake of A Streetcar Named Desire (1984) (TV) (TV), the first of many projects to earn her Emmy nominations.
After starring in a string of forgettable films throughout the 80s, she had one of the biggest commercial successes of her career with Grumpy Old Men (1993) as the object of desire for Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and it's equally successful sequel, Grumpier Old Men (1995) with Sophia Loren. Ann-Margret has also performed with such notable leading men as Al Pacino, John Wayne, Anthony Hopkins, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gene Hackman, Vince Vaughn, and John Travolta, vintage actresses such as Julie Andrews and Janet Leigh, as well as contemporary female stars like Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz. She continues to act in the 1990s and 2000s, with lead roles in TV and independent films, and supporting roles in Hollywood mainstream pictures such as Any Given Sunday (1999), Taxi (2004/I), The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), and The Break-Up (2006).
Since 1967 she has been married to Roger Smith, and is the stepmother of his three children. Ann-Margaret is considered iconic and legendary, remaining one of Hollywood's top sex symbols and one of the most famous women in America.