Viva Las Vegas: Elvis stars in 1964 teaser with Ann-Margret
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Today, on April 28, 2022, Ann-Margret turns 81-years-old. Elvis Presley’s life changed forever in 1963 when he first met her, just before they started filming their movie together, Viva Las Vegas. Sometimes described as “the female Elvis”, Ann-Margret made an extraordinary impression on the King of Rock and Roll almost instantly.
Before long, the pair were embroiled in a romantic love affair that lasted just over a year. But, of course, there was one issue with their relationship: Priscilla Presley.
At the time, Priscilla had been living at Graceland for a while and had only followed Elvis to the USA for two years. Behind the scenes, Elvis had promised to eventually marry Priscilla, but for just over 12 months, his focus was elsewhere.
Elvis and Ann-Margret spent as much time with one another as possible. This was not just some Hollywood fling, however. The pair truly found kinship in one another and created a strong relationship.
Ann-Margret later described Elvis as “her soulmate” and spoke fondly of how lovely and honourable he was to her during their time together. Things were easy between the couple when they were filming together in Las Vegas, but during breaks in shooting, Elvis would return to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.
When the star returned home, he would often speak with Ann-Margret over the phone – but would employ some cunning tactics to keep the calls secret.
The main ploy was that Ann-Margret would call and tell Elvis’ housekeeper that “Thumper” was calling.
Elvis Presley stars in trailer for 1967 film Easy Come, Easy Go
This secret codename for Ann-Margret would allow Elvis to know that his mistress had called without alerting Priscilla to what was going on. And it worked too. Priscilla was none the wiser and never found out about the sordid relationship behind-the-scenes – until the press got involved.
Ann-Margret recalled in her memoir, My Story, that the press in the UK published an inaccurate report about her and Elvis getting engaged. Before long, the USA publications were reporting the same.
Memphis Mafia member Sonny West remembered the event in his memoir. He wrote: “The story still went out and caused a tidal wave of publicity that Elvis couldn’t fend off, and it caused him to break his own ‘golden rule’: Even if you’re caught in the act, never admit to it.”
Elvis was forced to tell Priscilla the truth. He had been having an affair. The young woman was so furious she threw a vase at a wall in a fit of anger.
Shortly thereafter, Elvis broke things off with Ann-Margret and officially proposed to Priscilla. They were married a few years later, on May 1, 1967.
Ann-Margret herself married exactly one week later, on May 8, 1967. Even after all these years, though, Ann-Margret will still not speak candidly about Elvis and their relationship together.
Ann-Margret told Charlie Rose: “Our relationship was very strong and very serious and very real. It was extremely special. It was very strong. We were together for one year and he trusted me. And I would not want to betray his trust in death.”
She added: “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.”
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