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Ann-Margret enjoys RMC honor

"This is beautiful," said actress Ann-Margret in her soft voice when she entered the Great Hall of Prescott Commons on the Rocky Mountain College campus.

Decorated with greens, bouquets and fine furniture, the former dining room played host to the star, as well as many of RMC's patrons.

"It's part of bringing the community to the campus," RMC President Michael Mace said. "We're trying to fund our scholarships with evenings like this."

Ann-Margret was the guest of honor at the RMC President's Reception and Dinner. Earlier that day, she received an honorary doctorate of music and fine arts from the college.
"It's unfathomable to me," she said. "I didn't graduate from Northwestern. I wanted to, but show business came along."

Beginning her career in the 1960s, Ann-Margret starred in many films with Elvis Presley in those years and is most remembered by a new generation of movie-goers for her roles in "Grumpy Old Men" and "Grumpier Old Men," alongside Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. Her career continues with roles in upcoming films, "All's Faire in Love," to be released this year, and "The Voice Within," to be released in 2012.

"I'm exhausted," she said, laughing.

But, seriously, she still enjoys her work.

"This happens to be my passion," she said. "It's all I ever wanted since I was 4 years old in a little village called Valsjobyn in Sweden."

Ann-Margret recently returned to her hometown, where, she said, the snow was shoulder high.

"I just rolled around in it," she said.

Her travels brought her to Billings as the guest of Mace and his wife, Karen, for commencement and the scholarship dinner.

"I have a feeling that the producer of one of the films I did in Canada, he was a graduate of Rocky - I know he was behind it," Ann-Margret said.

For Mace, bringing the movie star to campus is part of introducing the students to the larger world.

"It's just fun to have celebrities at celebrations like this," he said. "Let the kids see successful people. We're trying to expose the students to a lot of different people."

And Ann-Margret is the epitome of celebrity, gracious with children, fans and small mammals, yet she claims not to understand her widespread appeal.

"I have no idea," she said. "Because I'm me and it's the way people see me, I guess."


From The Billings Gazette




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