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Roger Smith

Ann-Margret (The Girl From Valsjobyn)
The World's Sex Queen

Ann-Margret, the Swedish-born movie star, is called 'The Animal in Hollywood because her dancing is too wild and sexy for the American consorship. Now she's in Italy, and is romantically connected to internationally well-known first lover Vittorio Gassman, 45. He is called 'The Tiger' in a new film with the same name, in which he co-stars with Ann-margret, 26.

'The Animal' and 'The Tiger'. What a match.

'The Tiger' is up for an adventure with a young, fresh Swedish girl, and Ann-Margret is that girl.

Shooting takes place under a blistering Mediterrenean sun, and even if winds are strong, the weather is really hot. Ann-Margret's personal love interest, Roger Smith, is watching from a distance. An actor himself, but he happens to have a face which will only give him parts as gangsters. You can honestly say that he's the very opposite of macho-man Vittorio Gassman.

"Are you worried that this 'latin lover' will affect your relationship with Ann-Margret", I ask directly.

"My fiancée manages her career herself, and our private life has very little in common with her life as a star", he says.

The star Ann-Margret and the private Ann-Margret are really two different people, like night and day, I notice when she comes running towards us in purple stockings, mini-skirt, fur and boots.

Ann-Margret prefers to speak in Swedish, and Roger seems really irritated. He feels left out and leaves.

She still has her northern accent, when she tells me why she lost the name 'Olsson' when she became a star.

"I didn't want my family to be involved. That's why I, even in private, didn't use that name when I arrived in Hollywood. And I don't regret it, now with all the problems with the censors. There has been so much written about me as a sex queen. Every film I have made has been censored. The censors seem obsessed with me and my dancing".

You can see the anger in her eyes. "I really work hard on my dancing, and I have problems finding anything indecent in it. It's my profession, and I do it well. Why do they have to do it? I'm an artist, and they let loads of vulgarities remain in other films. I have never acted in the nude, or even in a bra and panties".

Ann-Margret believes that they hunt her because she isn't married, that that's the 'problem'. She tells us that her parents are devastated by all this.

And it is a bit unfair. Ann-Margret's fast rise to the top (five years, 14 films, top wages) has become possible thanks to her schooling, her intelligence, energy and co-operation. Not thanks to a well-organized ad campaign selling her with sex and scandals.

"Do you feel that you are sexier than your female co-stars, because that's what journalists think you are?"

"No, maybe more natural. My dancing is natural. I totally live for it, I lose control. Maybe that's why they call me 'The Animal'. Because I move and react quite instinctally".

When film collegues hear that she refuses to answer questions about her personal life, they they start playing with her. They "read" her faith in her open hand.

"I see a man close to you - Roger", one of them says.

"But he isn't the love of your life. You have only really been in love once, when you were 19".

Ann-Margret smiles, but then becomes serious. "I was 19 the only time I was in love before I met Roger".

"Are you getting married?"

"Yes, but I don't know when".

"Beware", says Gassman, who has two failed marriages behind him.

"I don't believe it's possible to live a whole life together with one person. You leave your parents as soon as you feel you can be on your own. Will you then give up your independance and start learning all over again? That seems insane".

"You're better off being free", Gassman says, flirty.

Ann-Margret laughs.

"Oh, Italian men, all they want to talk about is love. But I think they do it, because they know I blush. And to make Roger jealous. And they succeed in that!"

Deep sigh.

The camera is rolling again.

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By Ann-Mari Kjellander

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