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Ann-Margret Cried through Her Entire Wedding to Roger Smith Who Sacrificed His Career for Her

Oyin Balogun
May 02, 2022
05:00 A.M.
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Roger Smith, who would do anything for his wife, made a sacrifice for love and put his career aside as he took on the role of his wife's manager.

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The Swedish-born actress, Ann-Margret, met Roger smith in what looked like a casual meeting from which nothing serious was expected.

Smith was impressed by the actress, although little did the "Viva Las Vegas" actress know that Smith was a famous actor because she had never seen a movie he starred in.

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

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In 1966 when the "Bye Bye Birdie" star was famous, Smith ran into her again in San Francisco, where she was shooting a movie and was out on a movie date with friends.

Smith invited her to see one of his performances at a nightclub which she declined because she had an early morning scene to shoot.

Roger Smith with Ann-Margret pictured in 1970 in New York | Source: Getty Images

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Fortunately for Smith, the weather was not conducive for the scene which was to be captured in the days to come, and Ann-Margret took Smith up on his invitation where she had an exciting time and was awed by Smith's performance.

That would be the beginning of a series of dates that would follow. They had amazing moments together, and Smith did not withhold anything, including his property, from the actress to show how much he cared for her.

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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On one occasion, she wanted to go on a tour in the town of Monterey and needed to rent a car. Smith offered his car and, throwing all caution into the wind, dropped his map in the glove box with the inscription on it saying:

"Here's a map of the Monterey area. Hope you had a good time. I love you. Roger" 

After doing this on a whim, Smith deeply regretted his action because he did not know how Ann-Margret was going to take it. Luckily for him, the actress denied reading it and feigned ignorance of its content when asked. She said she followed the directions on the road and did not need to use his map.

Roger Smith with sun glasses and Ann-Margret in the back of a limo; circa 1970 | Source: Getty Images

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Later on, Smith invited the famous actress on a romantic date at the airport and surprised her when she asked who was going to fly the plane, and he offered.

Being in close proximity to the actor, his lovely and thoughtful gestures towards her made Ann-Margret grow fond of him, and it was during the date on the plane that the actress confessed that:

"Maybe that was it. Maybe that was the moment that I fell in love. I don't know. But I looked at Roger and saw the kind of man I'd dreamt of finding. He made me feel incredibly safe and secure."

ANN-MARGRET AND SMITH BECOME AN ITEM

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

Upon the third date, Ann-Margret knew what she wanted and that she had fallen head over heels in love with the "77 Sunset Strip" star. She had an overwhelming feeling of protection when she was around him. The independent actress felt good to have a reliable man in her life.

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The pretty actress cum singer was drawn to the actor by a couple of things, including his inability to lie, gentleness, and the deep respect and adoration he has for women.

Ann-Margret and Roger Smith attend the "Joseph Andrews" Premiere Party on March 9, 1977 at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

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Her occupation's stress, excesses, and demands did not faze Smith. This was because he, being an actor, had been a victim of it. Nevertheless, he knew how to help her make things better and be a pillar of encouragement. 

The "Pocketful Of Miracles" star had already begun to envision herself and the actor growing old together. It was at this juncture she said:

"At that moment, Roger seemed perfect to me." 

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

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Things were beginning to pan out just fine, but there was a dark cloud on the horizon. Smith was a married man going through a messy divorce, and he had three little children, products of the union. Anne was a tad worried about all these, which complicated her love story.

The actress was bothered about how the children would perceive her and how she would deem them. These made her unsure of their future relationship together.

Even with this dark foreboding threatening their relationship, the couple was seen a couple of times, dressed to the nines on dates and events.

ANN-MARGRET GETS ENGAGED

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Actress Ann-Margret with her husband, actor Roger Smith, at a Variety Club of Great Britain charity meet at Sandown Park, UK, 4th September 1971 | Source: Getty

Falling in love with your friend could be one of the most amazing things that could happen to one, as is seen between Ann-Margret and Smith. While they dated, it happened that for two weeks, they lost touch and could not communicate due to business which kept her busy.

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Smith made it up to her by arranging for a beautiful date, hearty meals, a long walk in the woods, breakfasts in bed, and a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park at night to cap it all up. 

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 what seemed the most beautiful night, Smith asked her what she thought about them being engaged after the ride through the park. Then, Smith went further and told her he had something to say but did not know how the actress would take it.

Smith pulled out a black velvet box from his pocket and, holding it out, allowed Ann-Margret to stew for a few seconds. Then, he affirmed his love for her with a ring, a beautiful five-karat diamond ring that looked magnificent and pristine.

 The stones were set amongst petals of baguette. It shimmered under the night sky and street lamps, and at this moment, the actress was overwhelmed with love.

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

After what seemed almost like a fleeting engagement, Ann-Margret had to come down from cloud nine and face her dissenting parents, who did not think much of Smith as their daughter's soon-to-be husband. The actress' mother was not having any of it, and they both argued and ended up teary-eyed. 

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Her father did not think a divorced man with three kids and no stable employment was good enough for his daughter. Despite these oppositions, Ann-Margret stood her ground. After the engagement, the couple decided to let things be and leave marriage out of the books for now.

Ann-Margret and Roger Smith during Ann-Margret at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York on January 1, 1969 at Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York | Source: Getty Images

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They moved in together but refrained from anything more than their engagement. The actress was scared of hurting her parents further by getting married to a person they disapproved of.

Another reason for the cancellation of marriage in the meantime was because they feared they would add to the number of failed marriages in the Hollywood industry. However, Smith eventually took up managing Ann-Margret's career because she trusted him despite her initial refusal. 

THE COUPLE GETS MARRIED AMIDST OPPOSITION

Ann-Margret and her husband, Roger Smith at their wedding ceremony at the Riviera Hotel on May 8, 1967 in Las Vegas | Source: Getty Images

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On the 8th of May 1967, Smith and Ann-Margret tied the nuptial knots at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. The couple decided upon a quiet ceremony devoid of reporters and the press.

The bride's parents were still against this union, which was a source of pain for the bride. However, despite the low-key arrangements for the wedding, journalists still found their way to the venue, to the couple's surprise.

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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The bride, who wore a white piqúe micro-mini skirt with a matching piqúe fluffy short, always envisioned a traditional church wedding for herself and did not imagine being wed in holy matrimony inside this room filled with smoke. 

The bride was overwhelmed with emotion as she cried through the service. The minister had to give her a napkin to clean her smeared face. Then, recounting her experience, she said:

 "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!"

ROGER TAKES ON THE MANAGEMENT OF HIS WIFE'S CAREER 

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

After their marriage, Roger assumed the role of his wife's manager and put his career on hold. His reason for doing this is because according to him:

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"The amount of money the two of us could generate separately wasn't worth the loneliness." 

With his Midas touch, the actor moved his wife's career from $117,000 to a multi-million dollar fortune. Although the couple commented that Smith makes final decisions, they discuss them together first before implementation.

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

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The Smiths were not free from the vicissitudes of life. Once, Ann-Margret had a near-fatal fall while performing from a 22ft platform which had her in a coma for four days and destroyed the left side of her face. 

Her husband was heavily condemned when Ann-Margret went back on stage after ten weeks of being hospitalized. Ann-Margret went back on stage. Talking about this later, the actress, full of emotion, sputtered that:

  "I returned because my father had terminal cancer, and I wanted to prove to him that I would be all right after he was gone."

THE LONGING FOR CHILDREN

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

The Smiths tried for children for a while, but it did not yield any result. Medically they were confirmed to be healthy enough to bear children. Personally, it was Ann-Margret's thought that:

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"If it happens, it happens. It is up to Him" 

Actress Ann-Margret and actor Roger Smith arrive at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 29, 2010 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

She believed God to do the needful if it was meant to be. Nevertheless, she had her fair share of motherhood as she was step mum to Smith's children, a role in which she excelled. Also, after her surrogate mother role, after wakeful days and nights, she made up her mind not to adopt. She opined that:

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"Now I want to have Roger's baby. I feel as if I really have a lot of love in me to give. But if it doesn't happen, I'm not going to let it ruin my life."

THE SECRET TO A LASTING MARRIAGE

Ann-Margret attends the AARP's Annual Movies for Grownups Awards | Source: Getty Images

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Ann-Margret and Smith were together for 50 years until his death and had an amazing time together. When asked the secret to a great relationship, the Swedish-born actress quipped:

"We laugh at ourselves."

Another reason for a long-lasting marriage she revealed is, as she puts it, because "they wanted it to work." Tragically, the "Man of a Thousand Faces" actor died in 2017 at 84.

Actress Ann-Margret and actor Roger Smith attend the "Going In Style" New York premiere at SVA Theatre on March 30, 2017 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

He was diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis, which affects the muscles and nerves. Shortly before his death, the couple went out and took pictures together. Even in old age, the famous actress still looks as beautiful and captivating as ever.

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