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Roger Smith

My Relationship with Elvis was special

In 1946, a little five year-old girl stood aboard the big steamer, bound for the U.S., singing 'Violets To Mother'. 17 years later, she was Elvis Presley's girlfriend. Today, Ann-Margret form Valsjobyn, is 60, and is named 'Swedish-American of the Year'.

Last week we read the fairytale-come true about Norwegian Mette-Marit. The story about the little girl from Jamtland who in 1946 emigrated to the U.S. with her mother, is also a fairytale-come-true. Her father was already there, and the first thing the newly reunited family did, was go and see a show at th Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Ann-Margret was cuter than that era's big childstar, Shirley Temple. She could sing too, and loved to perform. The family decided Ann-Margret should be an entertainer, moviestar and actor. They took the train to Hollywood, and Ann-Margret was put in acting- and dance-school.

Filming with Elvis
Her parents worked round the clock to be sure Ann-Margret had the best education she gould get. It paid well. She was discovered by comedian George Burns, broke through in the film 'Bye Bye Birdie' in 1963, and starred with Elvis Presley in 'Viva Las Vegas'. The King of Rock'n'Roll and Ann-Margret became a couple, and made the headlines.

Ann-Margret had become the sexiest woman in Hollywood, and became known as 'The Animal'.

"Elvis and I had a very special relationship", Ann-Margret said a week ago. More than that she won't say. "I respected Elvis in life, and I will respect him in death as well, I keep what we had to myself", she said to the tabloid Expressen.

Many accidents
Ann-Margret has been married to ex-actor Roger Smith for many years. Today he is her manager and her constant companion. She has made over 50 films, and starred along such greats as Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, John Wayne and Jack Lemmon. She was best friends with John F Kennedy.

But she has also had her downs. She has been treated for alcoholism, which she tells all about in her memoirs. Today she won't drink anything stronger than water.

She has also twice almost lost her life. In 1971 she fell from a 6-meter high platform during a performance. Nearly all bones in her face were crushed, but she was back on stage within a year!

Last year she crashed while doing her favourite pastime, motorcycling. Several broken bones, and a long rest was the result.

It was however, a happy and healthy star who visited our king here in Stockholm, to pick up the award as 'Swedish-American of the Year'. "We have met five times before, and we're old friends" she said in almost perfect Swedish, and gave the king a bearhug.

Ann-Margret did her last fantastic performances in Stockholm, at the China Theatre, in 1982 and 1983. You bet she's welcome back. The king will be in the front row!

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By Titti Jahn

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