Big bikes are typically typecast with gruff, unshaven macho riders in leather jackets. So when this sexy siren appeared on-screen astride a monster 500cc Triumph T100C Tiger Motorcycle in the 1966 movie, “The Swinger,” Ann-Margret made an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of baby boomers of that era. While she is a consumate entertertainer on stage, this versatile actress and singer is in real life a keen motorcyclist who was featured in the advertisements of Triumph Motorcycles in the 60s. In 1995, she was ranked 10th by Empire Magazine in its list of 100 Sexiest Stars in film history.
Born in Stockholm, Sweden as Ann Margret Olsson on April 28, 1941, she moved with her Swedish parents to the United States in 1946 and settled in Wilmette, Illinois. At a very young age she exhibited a natural ability for dancing which was nurtured by her parents who took her to the Marjorie Young School of Dance. Throughout her stay in Grant Community High School in Fox Lake, Illinois until she entered Northwestern University, Ann Margret starred in theatricals. She joined a singing group called “Suttletones” whose performances brought her from a Chicago night club to Reno where she had a chance encounter with Marilyn Monroe who was on a location shooting at that time. After her group performed in The Dunes in Las Vegas, Ann Margret auditioned for the annual holiday show of future mentor, George Burns, with whom she performed a soft-shoe routine and which opened the doors of opportunity for her in the entertainment world.
In 1961, she began recording for RCA which attempted to project her as the “female version of Elvis” because of her sexy throaty singing voice and by having her record songs that are similar in style to those sung by Elvis Presley. Some of her songs entered the Billboard Top 40. She sang the Oscar-nominated song, “Bachelor in Paradise” during the Academy Awards presentation in 1962, and during President John Kennedy’s private birthday party at the Waldorf Astoria, was also asked to sing “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home” a year after Marilyn Monroe sang her famous “Happy Birthday.” During the span of her acting and singing career, Ann Margret won five Golden Glode Awards and has been nominated for two Academy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, five Emmy Awards and two Grammy Awards.
Beneath her sexy and carefree image, Ann Margret has great affection for U.S. servicemen and veterans who put their lives on the line in the service of their country. Affectionately refering to them as “My Gentlemen,” she entertained U.S. servicemen in remore parts of Vietnam in 1966 and in other parts of Southeast Asia. Two years later, she joined Bob Hope’s special Christmas show to cheer up American troops stationed in Saigon. Towards the end of 2005, she reunited with fellow entertainers Chuck Day and Mickey Jones for an entertainment tour for U.S. servicemen at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.