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Ann-Margret Became ‘the Wicked Stepmother’ Who Longed to Have a Child of Her Own for Years

Gaone Pule
Feb 21, 2022
01:00 P.M.
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Ann-Margaret has been a talented showbiz performer for four decades as an actress, dancer, and singer in nightclubs, including movies and television. Apart from a successful career, she was married to actor Roger Smith for fifty years.  

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Swedish American actress Ann-Margaret was married to actor Roger Smith whom she wed in 1967 until his death. He also served as her manager.  

The Hollywood starlet previously had a year-long affair with renowned singer Elvis Presley. Here are more details about Ann-Margret's marriage and family.  

HOW ANN-MARGARET MET SMITH & GOT MARRIED 

Ann-Margaret first met her future husband producer, Smith, when she appeared in her first feature film, "Pocketful of Miracles," in 1961.  

She was barely an adult and had not established herself as the sexy female lead known for roles opposite Hollywood stars such as Dick Van Dyke and Presley.  

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Roger Smith in a black coat with Ann-Margret in a fur collar coat pictured in 1970 in New York. / Source: Getty Images

Smith, then in his late 20s, was starring in "77 Sunset Strip," and revealed to New York magazine in 1976 that every other woman he met was infatuated with him, telling the outlet of his first impression with Margret he said

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“Every other woman I met was falling all over me. But this innocent, fresh-faced beauty only spoke to me when I spoke to her, and the rest of the time ignored me. I was impressed.” 

They would not meet again until five years later. By then, Margret's career had heightened, and Smith had separated from his wife of nine years, Australian actress, Victoria Shaw. 

Ann-Margret and husband Roger Smith pose for a photo in 1975 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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They started dating when Smith invited her to the San Francisco nightclub where he was singing. The screenwriter took out his future wife to dinner the next day, then followed a ride on his private plane. Ann-Margret told the New York Times in 1994: 

“The man I married is the man I knew I was going to marry on the third date.” 

Meanwhile, her parents disapproved of the relationship mainly because Smith was technically still married. However, that did not discourage the pair from tying the knot in a Las Vegas civil ceremony two years after his divorce got finalized.  

Ann-Margret holding a piece of wedding cake while standing beside her new husband Roger Smith, after marrying in civil ceremony on May 8, 1967. / Source: Getty Images

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On May 9, 1967, Smith, 34, and Ann-Margret, 26, wed in a cigarette-smoke-filled room at the Riveria Hotel. The bride told People once:  

“This is not the way I envisioned my wedding. I think everyone thought I was pregnant because I was crying through the whole thing. But we did it.” 

After the wedding, the duo shifted their focus to more important things. Smith helped his wife pay off her debts that totaled more than her annual salary in two years.  

Newlyweds Roger Smith and Ann-Margret cut their wedding cake after their nuptials at the Riviera Hotel on May 8, 1967 in Las Vegas. / Source: Getty Images

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He not only was besotted with Ann-Margret, but he also believed in her talent and took pride in her career. It was not long after when he started suggesting becoming her manager.  

Smith said acting no longer fulfilled him and that his spouse had "raw talent." The long trips apart from each other helped make a final decision, and he later shared

“When I met Ann-Margret, I felt happy for the first time in my life. Once I found Ann-Margret, I couldn’t stand to be without her and, surprisingly, she couldn’t stand to be without me.” 

Ann-Margret and husband Roger smith pose for a portrait in 1980 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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ANN-MARGRET WANTED SMITH TO BE LIKE HER DAD 

Behind closed doors, the couple was not as they appeared to be in public. Ann-Margret was said not to be as vulnerable as she looked, and her husband was not as strong as his image. They were mutually dependent.  

The "Bye Bye Birdie" star reportedly had a relationship with Smith like the one her mother had with her husband. Ann-Margret deferred to Smith frequently. But when it involved her career, she got her way, quietly. 

It almost seemed like he had become her ideal father. On the other hand, Smith had little public identity without his darling wife.  

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Roger Smith and wife Ann-Margret during the 48th Academy Awards at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on March 29,1976 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

Since he gave up his career and dreams to oversee hers, he became content with being clingy. To Ann-Margret, Smith was the ideal partner. He loved planning and details and had an excellent business mind.  

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She recalled once that she lived with her beloved husband for three years before trusting him enough to allow him to take over her career. The 80-year-old admitted she was slow in entrusting people. Smith himself shared about his wife: 

“Her drives were stronger than mine. My goals have changed many times, but she set out to be exactly what she is. And she got it.” 

Ann-Margret and Roger Smith pictured at John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 11,1969 in New York. / Source: Getty Images

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After he stopped acting, Smith turned to his screenwriting career to be with his wife. But he soon moved full-time into his career as Ann-Margret's mentor-manager-father. 

Smith shared that he often said that he got bored with acting, but among other things, he was lonely. He divulged that when he met Ann-Margret, she was different: 

“Unlike anyone I had ever met, she made me a better person. She wanted me to be like her father, and I wanted to do it for her.” 

"It's corny but true; by doing what she wanted, I liked myself much better. Being with her was more important than all my childhood dreams about being a famous actor," he continued

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Ann-Margret and Roger Smith during After Dark Ruby Awards at Waldorf Astoria Hotel on March 17, 1975 in New York City, New York. / Source: Getty Images

THE COUPLE LONGED TO HAVE KIDS TOGETHER  

When Ann-Magret got nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her stint in 1971's "Carnal Knowledge," she became dependent on pills and alcohol.  

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A year later, while performing in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, she fell from an elevated platform on stage and broke her left arm, cheekbone, and jawbone.  

After piloting a stolen plane from Burbank, California, Smith came to her rescue and rushed her to surgeons at a UCLA medical center.  

Ann-Margret after suffering a near fatal accident in a fall from a platform during her act in Lake Tahoe, has the cast on her broken left arm signed by her spouse, Roger Smith. / Source: Getty Images

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Ann-Margret could not work for ten weeks because the facial reconstructive surgery she underwent required wiring her jaws shut. An earlier report had revealed that she had broken a kneecap which could endanger her dancing career.  

But sooner than later, she returned to the stage almost entirely normal again. After that, the couple longed to have children together. Smith already had three kids from a previous marriage. The "52 Pick-Up" star revealed in October 1985 that she and her husband had been trying to have a baby for thirteen years.  

Ann-Margret and her husband of fifty years, Roger Smith, during their visit in New York City, New York. / Source: Getty Images

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The pair even attempted to use a fertility pump and an experimental device that injected into her stomach a hormone to aid ovulation.  

Even though Ann-Margret, then 44, and her spouse of eighteen years had his kids, she still wanted children of her own after failing to succeed for years: 

“The point is, if I meant to have a child, I will have one. Whatever my higher power feels is right for me, I will accept. I know this may sound simplistic, but I believe in the serenity prayer.” 

"God, grant the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference,'" the singer continued.  

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Ann-Margret and Roger Smith during a sighting at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1972 in New York. / Source: Getty Images

THE WICKED STEPMOTHER OF THE WEST 

In an interview with Interview Magazine in July 2014, Ann-Margret got asked whether she took in Smith's children as her own and responded: "The wicked stepmother of the west." 

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She agreed on being a disciplinarian and shared what values the kids were already familiar with. When asked what she learned earlier in her life that her parents infused on her, Ann-Margret said

“Respect. I met them when they were 3, 6, and 7, and now they’re not. Two of them are doctors. Well, I don’t want to get into that because it’s very private.” 

Ann-Margret and Roger Smith pose in the press room at the 2010 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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Her stepdaughter, Tracy, is now 64 years old. Stepson Dallas is 60, and his older brother Jordan is 63 years old. Their stepmother is still close with all of them to date.  

Meanwhile, the head of the family, Smith, had suffered for more than two decades from myasthenia gravis, a nervous system disease that later went in remission.  

Sadly, Smith died on June 4, 2017, at age 84. After battling a terminal illness for many years, he passed away at a Los Angeles hospital. He is survived by his wife Ann-Margret and his three children with whom she still has a close relationship. 

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