Viva Las Vegas: Elvis stars in 1964 teaser with Ann-Margret
This month, Elvis Presley has been celebrated in cinemas with the release of the new Baz Luhrmann biopic, Elvis. Although the movie shows off some of the biggest moments of the star’s life, it did miss out one key person: Ann-Margret.
Elvis met Ann-Margret just before they started filming a movie together, Viva Las Vegas, in 1963. Ann-Margret described their first meeting as “electric,” and it was the beginning of a passionate affair that almost dragged the King away from his long-term lover, Priscilla Presley.
Ann-Margret has been very open about Elvis in the past. She wrote about him extensively in her memoir, My Story, which detailed the love and commitment the pair shared during their relationship.
They were not together for very long, but their connection was unquestionable. And to this day, Ann-Margret is very careful about what she says about the King.
This cautiousness was displayed clearly during her interview with Charlie Rose in 1994. During which she was reluctant to bring the star up.
Eventually, the journalist became very direct. “EP,” he said. “Why are you so reluctant to talk about him? Even when I’ve watched you in conversation, it seems that there was… kindred souls who saw in each other something deep inside that you both knew, that you both had. And it’s almost now as if you’re trying to protect that?”
Solemnly, Ann-Margret replied: “Oh, yes.”
Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret had a relationship for just over a year
Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret met on the set of Viva Las Vegas
Speaking 17 years after Elvis died on August 16, 1977, she revealed: “Our relationship was very strong and very serious and very real. It was extremely special. It was very strong.”
When pressed further, the star revealed she did not want to tarnish the King’s memory in any way.
“We were together for one year and he trusted me,” she said. “And I do not want to betray his trust in death.”
Ann-Margret obviously remembered Elvis extremely fondly. But, beneath it all, there was still a lot of anger within her about how the King died.
Ann-Margret and her husband Roger Smith
Elvis Presley performs ‘Hound Dog’ in 1956
Many reports had been written of how the King had become overweight and was, generally a has-been. Fans now know he was trying to break back into Hollywood – but in more dramatic roles, rather than his rote musical romantic comedies.
And this was not how Ann-Margret wanted to remember Elvis. “I knew him very, very well,” she continued. “There’s been so much written that has been negative about him that I want to celebrate his life [and] the man that I knew.”
With this in mind, Ann-Margret slammed those who dulled his reputation.
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Ann-Margret raged: “He was so gifted, it makes me extremely angry that all of a sudden all these people who made fun of him right near his death, all of a sudden – posthumously right after he passed on – were writing reams and reams of stories on him [about] how gifted he was.”
She asked: “Why couldn’t they have done that when he was alive?” Despite this, she still has a special relationship with the star.
“I cherish his memory,” she confessed. Unfortunately for the couple, their relationship was not meant to be.
Just over a year after they started seeing one another, Elvis and Ann-Margret split up. And the actress remembers exactly why.
Ann-Margret wrote in her memoir: “We continued to see each other periodically until we had dated for almost a year. Then everything halted. We knew the relationship had to end, that Elvis had to fulfill his commitment.” (sic)
This “commitment” she mentioned was no doubt Priscilla Presley, who Elvis had not yet married at that time. While the King was rolling around with Ann-Margret, Priscilla was in Graceland, dutifully awaiting his return.
But when she found out, there was hell to pay. She demanded he end the relationship, and he did. He proposed shortly thereafter.
A few short years later Elvis and Priscilla were married on May 1, 1967. Just one week later, Ann-Marget married her husband, Roger Smith, on May 8, 1967. They are still together to this day.