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Roger Smith

Ann-Margret: Pioneer Spirit

Ask Ann-Margret why the star of more than 43 films is tackling her first TV series in what should be the golden years of her career and the 56-year-old actress-singer bursts into laughter. "I find this whole thing hilarious", says the Swedish-born star, who grew up outside Chicago in a family that didn't own a TV set until she was in eighth grade. "My husband, Roger Smith, made two series - "77 Sunset Strip" and "Mr. Roberts" - and I remember how tired he was after those 18-hour days, but fools rush in. Besides, I've done features, recordings, mini-series, TV-movies... Except for Broadway, this is the only thing I haven't tried".

Certainly, the credits amassed by the legendary performer read like a top 10 list of the last three decades. Discovered by George Burns while still a student at Northwestern University, she made her film debut playing Bette Davis' daughter in the 1961 film "Pocketful of Miracles". She starred in "Bye Bye Birdie", earned an Oscar nod for her work in "Carnal Knowledge", and most recently costarred in the hit "Grumpy old men" movies. And she has already made her mark in television with variety specials as well as Emmy-nominated TV-movies like "Queen" and "The two Mrs. Grenvilles".

"Look, I'm amazed myself", says the actress of her long and varied career. "But I don't question it". She adds that she is braced for the long commute from her Beverly Hills home to the set in the San Gabriel Mountains.

"As long as I can work, I will work. Besides", she says, "I don't think the freeway will be that crowded when I'm heading home at four in the morning".

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