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Roger Smith

"The Animal" Has Come Home

Ann-Margret in Sweden to pick up an award

With a deep, hoarse and sensual voice, actress Ann-Margret, nicknamed "The Animal", confesses: "This is the 5th time I meet the King." Then she bursts out laughing.

Ann-Margret Olsson from Valsjobyn, once Elvis Presley's girlfriend, is in Sweden, and today she will meet the King and Queen at the Royal Castle to pick up the award for being Swedish-American of the Year 2001.

Yesterday, Secretary of Culture, Marita Ulvskog gave lunch for her at the Foreign Office at Gustav Adolfs Torg.

Her friends and collegues, Lill Lindfors and Robert Wells hugged Ann-Margret, who is very proud of the award. "I was totally surprised. It means a lot to me. I was born in Sweden and I have my heart here."

Ann-Margret emigrated to the U.S. with her mother when she was five, but she still speaks perfect Swedish. She started her career as a showgirl, and soon became one of America's most famous song and dance entertainers, did some 50-odd movies, had her own TV-specials and lots of album recordings.

Ann-Margret still is in contact with her Swedish relatives. "My mother would have accompanied me on this trip. She wanted so much to once again see her home country, but she didn't make it. She died on June 5.

Ann-Margret has become 60, but is still going strong in show business. "I play the lead, Miss Mona, in the musical 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas'. Until next summer we take it to 40 cities all over the U.S.

She hasn't quite given up the wild side of life. Last Christmas she crashed and injured herself while driving her Harley Davidson in Minnesota.

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By Bengt Michanek

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