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Roger Smith

Roger Smith

Roger Smith was born on Sunday, December 18th, 1932, in South Gate, California to Dallas and Leone Smith.

He loved to sing and dance, and when the family moved to Nogales, Arizona, a small town on the Mexican border, he appeared in every theatre production at Nogales High School. He was president of the school's acting club.

He was also a star linebacker on the high school football team.

While attending the University of Arizona, in Tuscon, on a football athletic scholarship, he won several amateur-show prizes as a singer and guitarist. He and a friend won a school talent show, and they appeared on the the television talent show, [Amateur Hour], hosted by Ted Mack (as was A-M later on).

During his 30 months' active service in the Naval Reserve, Roger renewed his singing at various public and private functions. While stationed at Honolulu, he met film star James Cagney, who suggested that Roger might try for a career in Hollywood.

In 1956 Roger married Australian actress Victoria Shaw (real name: Jeanette Elphick). Victoria, 21. They had 3 children, Tracey, Jordan and Dallas.

In 1957 he signed to a Columbia Pictures contract, and appeared in such films as 'No Time to Be Young' and 'Operation Madball', and played a small role on the television sitcom 'Father Knows Best', produced by Columbia's TV subsidiary Screen Gems.

Cagney recommended that Roger be hired to play Creighton Chaney (aka Lon Chaney Jr.) in the Lon Chaney biopic 'Man of 1000 Faces' (1957). The Lon Chaney film led to a long-term contract with Warner Brothers, and the co-starring role of Jeff Spencer in Warners' Television detective series '77 Sunset Strip'.

Roger did another role in another Cagney film 'Never Steal Anything Small'. Roger was then asked by director Morton Da Costa to portray the older Patrick Dennis in 'Auntie Mame'.

In 1961, Roger met Ann-Margret for the first time.

Also in 1961, Roger left '77 Sunset Strip' after doctors discovered a blood clot in his brain.

Roger begins divorce proceedings with his wife Victoria in 1964, and begins to date Ann-Margret. He toured in the play 'Sunday in New York'. He also did a nightclub act in Milwaukee. Roger plays a detective in the film 'For Those Who Think Young'.

Roger met Allan Carr in 1964, with whom he struck up afriendship and Carr became his manager. They later formed a company together, Rogallan, who among other things produced 'C.C. & Company'. Roger also wrote the script for it.

In 1965, Roger recovered sufficiently to do NBC's 'Mr. Roberts' series in 1965. (It lasted one season.) It was during this period he was diagnosed with [myasthenia gravis], a muscle disorder, which forces him to retire from professional work. Roger's divorce was finalized.

Roger gave A-M an engagement ring (a five-carat diamond ring) in 1966 on a horse-drawn carriage in Central Park, New York.

Roger married Ann-Margret on Monday, May 8th, 1967 at the Riviera in Las Vegas. For a time Roger managed her career.

Since then Roger occasionally makes public appearances with Ann-Margret at those times when his disease is in remission. Needless to say, Roger and Ann-Margret love each other very much.

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Filmograpy for Roger Smith

Most of this info is from Gary Wheeler's Ann-Margret Magazine

 

 

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