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Ann-Margret Olsson (born April 28, 1941) is a Swedish-American actress, singer, and dancer whose professional name is Ann-Margret.
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Ann Margret was born Ann-Margret Olsson in Valsjöbyn, Jämtlands Iän, Sweden, the daughter of Anna (née Aronsson) and Gustav Olsson, a native of Örnsköldsvik. She grew up in a small town "of lumberjacks and farmers high up near the Arctic Circle". Her father worked in the United States during his youth and immigrated back in 1942, working with the Johnson Electrical Company, while his wife and daughter stayed behind. Ann-Margret and her mother moved to the United States in November 1946, and her father took her to Radio City Music Hall on the day they arrived. They settled just outside of Chicago in Wilmette, Illinois. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1949. She took her first dance lessons at the Marjorie Young School of Dance, and showed natural ability from the start, easily mimicking all the steps. Her parents were supportive of her love of dance and her mother handmade all her costumes. Mrs. Olsson worked as a funeral parlour receptionist after her husband suffered a severe injury on his job. While a teenager, Ann-Margret appeared on the Morris B. Sachs Amateur Hour, Don McNeill`s Breakfast Club and Ted Mack`s Amateur Hour. Through high school, she continued to star in theatricals and she attended Northwestern University for a time, where she was a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, but did not graduate. As part of a group known as the "Suttletones", they performed at the "Mist", a Chicago nightclub and went to Las Vegas for a promised club date which fell through after they arrived. They plugged ahead to Los Angeles and through agent Georgia Lund, secured club dates in Newport Beach and Reno, where Ann-Margret had a chance encounter with Marilyn Monroe, who was on location for The Misfits. Monroe noticed the striking girl in a crowd of onlookers, then chatted privately with her, offering her encouragement. The group finally arrived at The Dunes in Las Vegas, which also headlined Tony Bennett and Al Hirt at that time. George Burns heard of her performance and she auditioned for his annual holiday show, in which she and Burns did a soft-shoe routine. Variety proclaimed, "George Burns has a gold mine in Ann-Margret...she has a definite style of her own, which can easily guide her to star status".
Ann Margret started recording for RCA in 1961 but her recording career was not as successful as her concurrent movie career. Her first RCA recording was "Lost Love" from her debut album And Here She Is: Ann-Margret, produced in Nashville with Chet Atkins on guitar, the Jordanaires (Elvis Presley`s backup singer), and the Anita Kerr Singers, with liner notes by mentor George Burns. She had a sexy throaty singing voice and RCA attempted to capitalize on the `female Elvis` comparison by having her record a version of "Heartbreak Hotel" and other songs stylistically similar to Presley`s. She scored the minor hit "I Just Don`t Understand" (from her debut album) which entered the Billboard Top 40 in the third week of August 1961 and stayed six weeks, peaking at 17. Her only charting album was The Beauty and the Beard (1964) on which she was accompanied by trumpeter Al Hirt. She also sang at the Academy Awards presentation in 1962, singing the Oscar-nominated song "Bachelor in Paradise", which caused a sensation and brought her offers for television and live concerts. Her contract with RCA ended in 1966.
In 1961, at nineteen, she filmed a screen test at 20th Century Fox and was signed to a seven-year contract. Ann Margret made her film début in a loan out to United Artists in Pocketful of Miracles, a remake of the 1933 Bette Davis vehicle Lady for a Day. Both versions were directed by Frank Capra. She followed that role with the successful 1962 remake of Rodgers` and Hammerstein`s musical State Fair playing the `bad girl` role of "Emily" opposite Pat Boone. She had tested for the part of "Margy", the `good girl` but she seemed too seductive to the studio bosses who decided on the switch. The two roles mimicked her real-life personality--shy and reserved off stage and wildly exuberant and sensuous on stage. As she summed up in her autobiography, she would easily transform herself from "Little Miss Lollipop to Sexpot-Banshee" once she stepped on stage and the music began.
Her next starring role, as the all-American teenager "Kim" from Sweet Apple, Ohio, in Bye Bye Birdie, made her a major star. The premiere at Radio City Music Hall, sixteen years after her first visit to the famed theater, was a smash hit--the highest first-week grossing film to date at that theater. Life magazine put her on the cover for the second time and announced that the "torrid dancing almost replaces the central heating in the theater". She was asked to sing "Baby, Won`t You Please Come Home" at President John F. Kennedy`s private birthday party
Couple Profile Source
New Trier High School, Winnetka, Illinois, USA
Northwestern University, Illinois, USA
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Anna Aronsson Olsson
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Actress, Singer, Former dancer
www.imdb.com/name/nm0000268/, www.allmovie.com/artist/p1846, www.discogs.com/artist/Ann+Margaret
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