Ann-Margret on Elvis Presley and Viva Las Vegas as ‘one of the happiest times of my life’ | Music | Entertainment

The Swedish-American actress took Hollywood by storm in the early 1960s, starring opposite Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas. Ann-Margret turns 80-years-old today and was recently honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 24th Family Film Awards. At the event, she opened up about singing and dancing with The King of Rock and Roll in one of his best-loved movies.

Speaking with Fox News, Ann-Margret was asked what makes her smile about her time on 1964’s Viva Las Vegas with Elvis.

The 80-year-old replied: “Just thinking about Viva Las Vegas, or anytime someone mentions it, I smile.

“It was one of the happiest times of my life. George Sidney, who directed Bye Bye Birdie, also directed Viva Las Vegas.

“And believe it or not, I had never seen EP perform.”

READ MORE: Elvis Presley death: ‘Ann-Margret had to be pulled away from coffin’

Ann-Margret continued: “I know that’s hard to believe but I hadn’t! I really got to see it when we were rehearsing, singing and dancing with each other.

“But we moved very much the same. And he loved his mother [Gladys, who died in 1958].

“I loved my mother and father. I had a great time. We were friends ‘till the end. I had a great time.”

Following Elvis Presley’s death on August 16, 1977, she travelled to Graceland to attend the funeral the following day.

Ann-Margret added: “But no. I did the best that I could at the time and then it’s over.

“You always think, ‘I hope it works. I hope people are entertained.’ But sometimes it doesn’t work. But you keep at it if you really love it.”

Interestingly, her and Elvis’ Viva Las Vegas set mischief ended up in the final cut of the movie.

According to The King’s cousin Billy Smith, who was there during the shoot: “[George Sidney] was wild about Ann-Margret, just totally obsessed with her. During Viva Las Vegas, he kind of wanted [her] standing out more so than Elvis. And as a director…they can interfere a lot with the way things go.”

However, Elvis soon caught on to the director’s plan and knew just how to deal with the situation without jeopardising his relationship with Ann-Margret or the crew.

Billy, speaking on the Memphis Mafia YouTube channel, continued: “You’ll notice Ann-Margret does everything a little better than Elvis in the movie, especially when you see the skeet shooting.”

In that scene, her character Rusty would make a hit and Elvis’ Lucky was supposed to just look at her in reaction, but The King decided to make a face so they’d have to redo the take.

Before long Elvis was messing around in similar ways with Ann-Margret throughout the rest of Viva Last Vegas. To read more, click here.


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