Friday, April 28, 2017

BORN ON THIS DAY: ANN-MARGRET

I know Ann-Margret is more than 30 years older than me, but there is something about her I will always be in love with. Her looks. Her personality. Her style. My wife is surprisingly okay with my crush on the legendary actress. I am happy to be commemorating Ann-Margret's 75th birthday today. Ann-Margret was born in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, Sweden, the daughter of Anna Regina (née Aronsson) and Carl Gustav Olsson, a native of Örnsköldsvik. She later described Valsjöbyn as a small town "of lumberjacks and farmers high up near the Arctic Circle".Her father worked in the United States during his youth and moved there again in 1942, working with the Johnson Electrical Company, while his wife and daughter stayed behind.

Ann-Margret and her mother moved to the United States in November 1946, and her father took her to Radio City Music Hall on the day they arrived. They settled just outside Chicago, in Wilmette, Illinois. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1949 and took her first dance lessons at the Marjorie Young School of Dance, showing natural ability from the start, easily mimicking all the steps. Her parents were supportive; her mother handmade all her costumes. Ann-Margret's mother became a funeral parlor receptionist after her husband suffered a severe injury on his job. While a teenager, Ann-Margret appeared on the Morris B. Sachs Amateur Hour, Don McNeill's Breakfast Club, and Ted Mack's Amateur Hour.


While she attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, she continued to star in theatricals. In 1959, she enrolled at Northwestern University, where she was a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, but did not graduate. As part of a group known as the Suttletones, she performed at the Mist, a Chicago nightclub, and went to Las Vegas, Nevada, for a promised club date which fell through after the group arrived.

The group finally arrived at the Dunes in Las Vegas, which also headlined Tony Bennett and Al Hirt at that time. George Burns heard of her performance, and she auditioned for his annual holiday show, in which Burns and she performed a soft shoe routine. Variety proclaimed, "George Burns has a gold mine in Ann-Margret ... she has a definite style of her own, which can easily guide her to star status."


In 1961, she filmed a screen test at 20th Century Fox and was signed to a seven-year contract. Ann-Margret made her film debut in a loan-out to United Artists in Pocketful of Miracles, with Bette Davis. It was a remake of the 1933 movie Lady for a Day. Both versions were directed by Frank Capra.

Then came a 1962 remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical State Fair, playing the "bad girl" role of Emily opposite Bobby Darin and Pat Boone. She had tested for the part of Margie, the "good girl", but seemed too seductive to the studio bosses, who decided on the switch.The two roles represented two sides of her real-life personality — shy and reserved offstage, but wildly exuberant and sensuous onstage. In her autobiography, the actress wrote that she changed "from Little Miss Lollipop to Sexpot-Banshee" once the music began. Her next starring role, as the all-American teenager Kim from Sweet Apple, Ohio, in Bye Bye Birdie (1963), made her a major star. The rest as they say is history...


2 comments:

  1. thank you for remembering my all time fave on her birthday - just one correction its her 76th bday not 75 - and I'm glad you have a understanding wife like I do since our home office is covered in a-m pix

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  2. LOVE Ann-Margret!! She has such a vital energy on screen, though she can rein it in when necessary for the role. Her early films are by and large fluffy nonsense which she makes watchable because of her exuberance and talent.

    It's great fun to watch her in stuff like The Pleasure Seekers, Viva Las Vegas and Tommy but her finely observed work in films like Return of the Soldier (powerfully good even if she is borderline unrecognizable), Twice in a Lifetime, Who Will Love My Children and Our Sons shouldn't be ignored.

    After a brief time out of the spotlight she seems to be back at it, hope she finds a good role soon.

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