Today actress, dancer and singer Ann-Margret turns 70 years young, and she's still making appearances in films and on television, most recently a few episodes of CSI, Army Wives and an Emmy-winning arc on Law & Order: SVU. I just showed a colleague a picture of her with her Emmy Award in 2010, and she refused to believe she was 70. When she isn't acting, she also finds time to record gospel albums.
My first exposure to the eternal ginger-headed majesty of Ann-Margret was in 1993's Grumpy Old Men, one of the only movies I saw with my grandfather where we were both stunned for the same reasons. Family reports have us both gasping at the same time. Up until that movie, I didn't know how hot an older woman could be, being only a decade-old dumb-ass with no life experience, and at 53, she was 43 years my senior.
The second film we discovered was 1975's Tommy, the unintentionally hilarious Ken Russell film version of The Who's rock opera. I came for the music, the footage of the band as various characters and random Jack Nicholson action, butI stayed for Miss Ann as Tommy's mother having screaming freak-outs and this foam, chocolate, and beans-infused psychotic breakdown.
Her run of films in the early '60s included a starring role opposite Elvis Presley in 1964's Viva Las Vegas, a flick that is arguably the best of his output. Okay, I liked It Happened At The World's Fair, but that movie didn't have Ann-Margret laying waste to audiences with dance moves that were illegal in half the country at the time.
Let's not forget Bye Bye Birdie, State Fair, The Pleasure Seekers, Stagecoach, and especially, Kitten With a Whip. She would be nominated for an Oscar for Carnal Knowledge with Nicholson in 1971, one of the most-forgotten films of the '70s, which is strange for a Mike Nichols picture.
I had the arduous task of collecting the best ten videos from Ann-Margret's career to date. More recent and sometime redheads like Lindsay Lohan, Emma Stone and Christina Hendricks come and go, but none of them hold a candle, or a can of baked beans, to Ann-Margret.
Carnal Knowledge, 1971
Viva Las Vegas, 1964
The Pleasure Seekers, 1964
State Fair, 1962
The Pleasure Seekers, 1964
Bye Bye Birdie, 1963
Murderers' Row, 1966
The Swinger, 1966
Grumpy Old Men, 1993
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