Ann-Margret (b. April 28, 1941) is a Swedish-American movie star, dancer, and singer with powerful, sultry contralto vocals who became famous beginning in the early 1960s. Over her long and distinguished career, she has starred/co-starred in dozens of hit movie musicals and dramas that include "Bye Bye Birdie" (1963), "Viva Las Vegas" (1964), "Carnal Knowledge" (1971), "Tommy" (1975), "Newsies" (1992), "Grumpy Old Men" (1993), "Grumpier Old Men" (1995), and "Going In Style" (2017), and she is also a veteran stage performer. As a recording artist, the multi-talented entertainer is best known on the pop charts for the lovelorn "I Just Don't Understand" (1961).
Born Ann-Margret Olsson in Stockholm, Sweden, she and her mother joined her father in the U.S. in 1946 where the family settled in Wilmette, Illinois. She took singing and dancing lessons as a child and began performing on "Ted Mack's Amateur Hour" and other shows while in her teens. She entered Northwestern University in 1959 and with fellow students, formed a group known as the Suttletones that performed locally and, through their agent, also secured show dates in California and Nevada. While in Las Vegas, she auditioned for George Burns who added her to his annual holiday show lineup. In 1961, she filmed a screen test at 20th Century Fox and was signed to a contract. That same year, she began recording for RCA Victor and released her debut album, "And Here She Is...Ann-Margret." Her fame took off in 1963 with the movie adaptation of the musical, "Bye Bye Birdie," in which she co-starred with Dick Van Dyke, Maureen Stapleton, Janet Leigh, Paul Lynde, and Bobby Rydell, and her star continued to rise with the 1964 blockbuster, "Viva Las Vegas," in which she co-starred with and performed alongside Elvis Presley.
Ann-Margret debuted on the Pop/Rock charts in 1961 with the Marijohn Wilkin/Kent Westberry-penned "I Just Don't Understand," which reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became her biggest hit. This Chet Atkins-produced smash, which features fuzz-tone guitar instrumental backing, was followed by several hits through 1969 that include "It Do Me So Good" (1961), "What Am I Supposed To Do" (1962), "Bye Bye Birdie" (1963), and "Sleep In The Grass" (1969), the latter performed as a duet with Lee Hazelwood. Other ca. early 1960s songs for which she became well known include the catchy "I Ain't Gonna Be Your Fool No More" performed as the cartoon character, "Ann-Margrock," in the TV animated series, "The Flintstones." Ann-Margret had a resurgence in popularity on the charts years later with the steamy disco smashes, "Love Rush" (1979), "Midnight Message" (1980), and "Everybody Needs Somebody Sometimes" (1981), which reached #8, #12, and #22, respectively, on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.
Ann-Margret has remained active to the present day as an actress, singer, and recording artist. Along with a holiday album, "Ann-Margret's Christmas Carol Collection" (2004), her more recent recordings include the Grammy-nominated "God Is Love: The Gospel Sessions" (2001) and its 2011 sequel, "God Is Love: The Gospel Sessions 2." Her numerous honors and accolades include five Golden Globe Awards, seven Golden Laurel Awards, an Emmy, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- For more info about Ann-Margret and her current projects, visit ann-margret.com.
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