http://nypost.com/2013/10/05/ann-margre ... xy-legacy/
Ann-Margret dishes on sexy legacy
By Barbara Hoffman
October 5, 2013 | 8:45pmhttp://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/20 ... argret.jpg
Photo: Getty Images
She starred in “Kitten with a Whip” — but these days, actress Ann-Margret’s the woman with the daredevil pussycat.
“Hold on a moment, please,” she tells The Post. “My cat Harley knows how to open doors, and he’s jumping on the handle . . .” A pause, and then that famously silky-smoky voice is back on the line, recalling “Bye Bye Birdie,” the 1963 film that launched her career — and led to a co-starring role with Elvis Presley, onstage and off.
The King is dead — in the actress’s maddeningly discreet ’92 memoir, she called him her “soulmate” — and Ann-Margret is 72, her fabulous legs still kicking. She’s coming to New York this week to be honored by Career Transition for Dancers, a group she’s supported for all of its 28 years (info at nycitycenter.org).http://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/20 ... nmarg2.jpg
Ann-Margret, seen with Elvis in “Viva Las Vegas,” called The King her “soulmate.”
“I’ve seen some of my dancers going through that transition and it’s so hard,” says the former Ann- Margret Olsson, a natural brunette-turned-redhead. “With the passion they have for the dance, they don’t study anything else! Then, all of a sudden, there comes a time when they have to change professions . . . ”
Singer, dancer, screen siren — and, for 46 years, fiercely loyal wife to Roger Smith, the suave “Sunset Strip” star now battling Parkinson’s disease — Ann-Margret’s gone through lots of transitions herself. She came to America from Sweden at age 6, without knowing a word of English. Enrolled in dance class, “I watched the teacher and mimicked what she did.” Here’s what else Ann- Margret tells us.
Is it true Marilyn Monroe “discovered” you?
I saw Marilyn, but I never actually met her. I was with a group from Northwestern [University] and we were playing Reno, where they were shooting “The Misfits.” Montgomery Clift came in and asked us if we wanted to see where they were shooting. It was out in the desert somewhere. I sat down and Clark Gable came over and sat beside me. Marilyn’s standin was my stand-in for years, Evelyn Moriarty. She [later] told me that Marilyn had seen me [that day], and she gave me a little makeup case of Marilyn’s. It was pink.
What’s your memory of “Bye Bye Birdie”?
The way I was cast! [Director] George Sidney had seen me, unbeknownst to me, when I was at a club. I was dancing with this gentleman — I think we were doing the twist. Mr. Sidney wanted to see me to talk about “Bye Bye Birdie.” I knew what the part was like, but I didn’t have the clothes I thought [the character would] be wearing, so I had a heck of a time looking in my closet. I wore a wool pleated, rust-colored skirt and a white blouse and alpaca cardigan — clothes I never, ever wore. Mr. Sidney was smiling, because he knew I’d never wear that kind of outfit.
And that famous shot of you, singing in the wind?http://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/20 ... nmarg3.jpg
Screen siren Ann-Margret arrives in New York this week to be honored by Career Transition for Dancers
Six months after shooting, Mr. Sidney had the idea for the front and back of the movie. They had this thing — it was like a treadmill, only really high up, in the middle of nowhere. There was a wind machine going and I did the front and the back of the movie walking on this treadmill. Columbia, the studio, said, “No, we don’t need that.” They certainly didn’t want to pay for it, so he paid for it himself. Then, when they saw the final cut, they reimbursed [Sidney.]
What was Elvis like?
He was great. He teased me all the time. You know what? I really don’t talk about him, because it’s very private, what we had. [Long pause]
Ever have one of his peanut butter-banana sandwiches?
Oh sure. They’re good! [Laughs]
You’ve had so many famous co-stars. A few words, please, about Dean Martin.
I named one of my cats after what he called me: Sweet Thing. “Hi, sweet thing!” He was just charming, and so graceful — he was a boxer. He could dance!
Jack Nicholson, from “Carnal Knowledge”?
He was so giving. I did one of my dramatic scenes and I had to really bear down and be very emotional . . . and he shouted so much that he went home with laryngitis.
You’ve lived through far worse. That fall you took off a Lake Tahoe stage in 1972?
I fell 22 feet on my face and my left side. But I call myself ‘The Perils of Pauline.’ I’ve had motorcycle accidents! About two weeks ago, I was helping Roger get up and he stumbled. I saw his head about to slam into the wall and I went running. He fell on top of me and I hit the wall with my arm. There’s 59 stitches. But you know what? We’re still here. And Roger didn’t hit his head.
Yes, here you are, and still beautiful.
I work out three times a week with a trainer. And I go walking with three of my former dancers every Saturday morning in LA.
You serenaded George Burns on his 100th birthday. Who’d you like to serenade you?