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Roger Smith

An "animal" comes home

Ann-Margret, with the Swedish sounding last name Olsson, is coming to Sweden in the middle of November. She will attend the grand opening of her new motion picture "Bye, bye birdie". At the same time people are working hard to get her to be on Lennart Hyland's TV-show "Karusellen". Producer Allan Schulman has therefor been in contact with Nils Persson, head of Columbia Film.

– Everything is set to about 99 percent, and if nothing happens at the last minute, Ann-Margret will be Lennart's guest, says Mr Persson.

Ann-Margret is the first Swedish "miss" who has become a big hit on the US hit-lists. She has gotten herself a frontline position in the American movie and entertainment-industry. She'll arrive in Stockholm directly from London, where she "showed herself off" to Queen Elizabeth. She will be accompanied by her parents, Gustav and Hanna Olsson. They will all be visiting with relatives in Örnsköldsvik.

– Interest for Ann-Margret couldn't be bigger here in Örnsköldsvik, says editor-in-chief Olle Bylund. He met Ann-Margret in Hollywood about a year ago, and she then told him that she really was looking forward to visit the country where she was born. No-one knows, how long she will stay . When this is being written we know that Ann-Margret has to go back to Hollywood immediatly after the "Bye, bye birdie"-opening, to do another film, but from the information we have gathered, we know that Ann-Margret is interested in a short publicity-tour. She has contacted a well-known publicity-agent in Stockholm, who is making certain arrangements in case of...

Ann-Margret got her break-through when she performed "I just don't understand" dressed in tights. For some incredible reason she was dubbed "The Animal" and labelled "sexy" by smart PR-agents. She broke through as a singer, her voice is both nice and small, but it wouldn't be anything without the help of modern-day recording technique. And she is about as sexy as a glass of lemonade. But of course as sweet...

At the movies, we have seen her in "Pocketful of Miracles", a comedy she starred in, along with Glenn Ford, Bette Davis and Hope Lange. After that she got the female lead in the Rodgers & Hammerstein operetto, "State Fair". Teen-idols Pat Boone and Bobby Darin were among those who co-starred.

"Bye, bye birdie" is a pure show-film, and as such, actually one of the first Hollywood has released for a long time. When the TV-crisis began some ten years ago, show-films took the hardest blow. Since then only safe-bets have been made, because of the costs of production. Apparently "Bye, bye birdie" is considered such a safe-bet. It is based on a Broadway-musical that has been running for more than four years. The music is by Charles Strouse and the lyrics by Lee Adams. In the films twelve musical-numbers, we can see among others, Janet Leigh dancing, and Ann-Margret performing the theme-song, "Bye, bye birdie". Apart from Janet Leigh and Ann-Margret, the film is starring pop-singer Bobby Rydell, Dick van Dyke, Maureen Stapleton, Paul Lynde, American TV-star Ed Sullivan and Jessie Pearson (who actually performs a parody of Elvis Presley, the very person Ann-Margret is said to be dating at the moment!). Producing is Fred Kohlmar, directing George Sidney who is a veteran in show-films.

Ann-Margret is the first big female star, who has recently got Elvis Presley as a film-partner, in the recently shot "Viva Las Vegas". Before, Elvis' female co-stars have only been pretty-faces, with a nice bikini-line. In "Viva Las Vegas", he is together with a star of his own caliber. The film will be at theatres in Sweden some time next fall.

Ann-Margret is a star with a profile of her own and first of all, a big name in the US.

Here in Sweden, the great looking Swede belongs to the "unknown", but she knows enough publicity to realize what a visit to Sweden could mean. She, if anyone, would have a chance to make it big here, the reason is, she's got "it". Her sudden popularity hasn't gone to her head, it is said, and she speaks perfect Swedish.

In the US, Ann-Margret has been marketed hard and has recorded a surprisingly large amount of records. Apart from "I just don't understand", which made the US Top 100, sales haven't been too high. From her other recordings, only the ballad "What am I supposed to do?" has made some impact. This doesn't stop Ann-Margret from having a great success touring night-clubs around the US and being a more and more sought-after filmstar. Up to this point Ann-Margret's records haven't been doing to well here in Sweden, but now, when she visits, sales should rise, considering the covers only...

When Ann-Margret was five, her family moved (from Sweden) to Wilmette, Illinois. After she graduated from Wilmette High School, she continued her studies at the university in Chicago. She dropped out after getting an offer to go to Las vegas with a trio called The Subtle Tones. When they reached Las Vegas, the agent who had booked them shook his head, and said he was sorry, but the gig had gone to another group. Ann-Margret and The Subtle Tones had to get by doing the odd one-night stand.

Suddenly, in 1960, Ann-Margret was discovered, something that just was a matter of time. Performing at a night-club in Chicago, she was spotted by none other than George Burns, a big name in show-business. Burns asked Ann-Margret to accompany him and within a month she was on stage with him at the fashionable Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, and was really getting attention.

The audience was spoiled with good-looking singers, but a cute kid, in black tights and a red (tight) jumper, singing with her "whole body" was unheard of. The shaking of her hips was so enegetic they made Elvis Presley look petrified.

So, success was coming to the small miss Olsson from Sweden. Record-companies were fighting for the new star and in 1961, Ann-Margret signed a long-term contract with record-company RCA and a film-contract with Fox. She recorded several consecutive singles, of which "I just don't understand" was a big hit, and sold 35.000 copies. Her film-debut came, funnily enough, not in a Fox-production, but in a film for United Artists who loaned her for a small part in "Pocketful of Miracles", in which Glenn Ford and Bette Davis starred. After that came her Fox-debut in the musical "State Fair" - alongside among others Pat Boone and Bobby Darin. Ann-Margret has been called a "female Elvis", but that's an understatement. The wiggling of her hips for instance, is extremely more intense than Mr Presley's. And what hips...

Many possible tourists who have planned a vacation in Sweden, probably will stay at home in the US to see Ann-Margret on stage, rather than to come here and watch the midnight sun...

It is quite impossible really, to describe Ann-Margret. You have to see her! And to call her sexy is not quite accurate. Sure, she has lots of "it", but most of all she's GOOD-LOOKING! GORGEOUS! Charming, cute, sweet... well it's not easy to find the right words when describing Ann-Margret, but one thing is for sure, you can understand the cold-sweat on her teacher the first time she performed in public at an amateur-contest in school...

– The petite figure, nicely packaged, with a slit, starting at the floor, not stopping til high up on the thigh... Her body's rhythmic shaking, the small hand brushing through her fantastic hair, the somehow both a little weak and sensual voice tough and tense in rockier numbers, soft and cat-like in slow ballads, remembers one of her former class-mates, of her first "debut" as a singer.

Ann-Margret is the girl who has been "going steady" with among others, Eddie Fischer, Bobby Rydell and a couple of millionaires. And now, people are even talking about a romance between Ann-Margret and ELVIS PRESLEY!

Ann-Margret is a top-chick with class. A sexy broad who is nice. Not offensive, or vulgar, but cutely sexy, fresh and very charming. Who would be surprised if Elvis have fallen for the girl from northern Sweden. On the other hand, though, Elvis' name, has throughout the years, steadily been linked to various girls. And so far, all girls have been made up by smart publicity-agents. Ann-Margret's close friends deny that something is going on between her and Elvis, but still, they don't deny the fact that the duo is seeing each other, as often behind the cameras, as in front of them...

She will definetly be heard of in the future. She is the girl who was "born to be a star"!

Even though she's enthusiastic over becoming Elvis' co-star, Ann-Margret demanded to sign the contract with MGM, a part that will take her to the absolute top: the starring part in the biggest musical MGM has produced in many years, Irving Berlin's "Say it with music". Her co-star will be Robert Gollet, the most sought-after musical-star in the US today. Apart from that, she has got a couple of more films "in the making".

"Viva Las Vegas" is the most expensive Elvis-film so far. Close to $ 2.000.000 have been spent and Elvis will bank 50 percent of the profit plus his usual "salary" of about $ 300.000. There are of course plenty of song-numbers in "Viva Las Vegas", especially since both Elvis and Ann-Margret are singing idols, but even more so since both are signed to the same company, RCA! Contracts can otherwise often be a problem, when one company doesn't want to let another use a certain voice. But in this case both artists work for the same company, and that is probably why Elvis sings duets for the first time on record - together with Ann-Margret! By the way, one of the songs the couple performs together is called "The lady loves me" and it isn't unlikely that the films title will be changed to just that, come opening day...

The story in "Viva Las Vegas" revolves around Elvis, who as racing-driver Lucky, visits Las Vegas. Together with his arch-rival he meets Ann-Margret, and help her out when her small sports-car gets a flat tire. The lovely lady disappears though, leaving neither name nor number. Both gentlemen decide to find her, with a chassi like that, they take it for granted that she is a show-girl at one of Las Vegas' numerous night-clubs, and start making the rounds. Therefor, of course, we get to see lots of beautiful, lightly dressed women. But no Ann-Margret! Finally Elvis finds her, not at a night-club, but as a swimming-instructor at his very own hotel. Elvis quickly happens to fall in the pool and Ann-Margret gets the chance to show off her life-saving skills (getting a kiss-of life was probably what he had in mind...). Further complications occur, but the ending is of course a happy one, just as it has to be in a film in which Elvis stars.

What now remains to be seen, is if Ann-Margret can charm the Swedish audience. We are really looking forward to be seeing her on Lennart Hyland's "Karusellen"!

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