Elvis Presley ‘Viva Las Vegas’ Co-Star Ann-Margret Says the King ‘Captured Her Heart’: Here’s Why

by Joe Rutland
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Magnetism is one word that comes to mind when talking about Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret in the 1964 film “Viva Las Vegas.”

But there was a whole lot more than just acting going on between the two stars. Ann-Margret, in her 1994 autobiography, “Ann-Margret: My Story,” writes about her first meeting with Elvis Presley. The selection appears in an article from the British newspaper website Express.

“Except for a piano, the MGM soundstage where Elvis and I met was empty,” she writes. “In the background, a few of his guys hung around observing their boss, a ritual I would soon come to expect. Under the watchful gaze of director George Sidney, a studio photographer snapped shots of what the film company executives figured would be a historic moment.”

Elvis Presley Meets Ann-Margret and Both Hit it Off Pretty Much Immediately

OK, so Sidney introduces Ann-Margret to Elvis Presley and vice-versa.

Ann-Margret writes, “The significance was lost on Elvis and me. I reached out my hand and he shook it gently. ‘I’ve heard a lot about you,’ we said at the same time, which made us laugh and broke the ice.

“I’m not really sure why I was so calm about meeting the King,” she writes. “After all, this was Elvis. A man who had captured the heart of almost every woman in America. Little did I know he would soon capture mine.”

The time both spent together would increase in frequency during “Viva Las Vegas” and beyond. Yet both stars knew their romantic ways could not last forever.

Ann-Margret writes in her autobiography, though, that Elvis Presley had a lot of the same doubts and fears as regular people.

Actress Writes ‘The King’ Would Not Reveal ‘Vulnerable Side’ To Everyone

“He didn’t reveal this vulnerable side until everyone had disappeared, until those private moments when we were alone,” she writes. “After darkness had blanketed the city and we’d parked somewhere up in the hills and could look down upon the sprawl of LA or up at the stars.”

Obviously, Elvis Presley would go on and star in a number of films after “Viva Las Vegas.” They were pretty much a pattern where he was the main focus of whatever plot filled the movie, be it “Speedway,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” or another non-dramatic flick.

Ann-Margret wasn’t through with her film career, either. She would go on and star in movies like “Carnal Knowledge,” “Tommy,” and “Grumpy Old Men.” Before “Viva Las Vegas,” Ann-Margret caught attention from her role in “Bye Bye Birdie.”

By now, everyone knows that Presley’s life spiraled out of control. He died on Aug. 16, 1977, at 42 years old. Ann-Margret remains alive at 80 years old, still working when she wants to do so.

Their on-screen chemistry in “Viva Las Vegas” is striking. Take a look at this scene between Presley and Ann-Margret.

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