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Roger Smith

How a little girl from Jamtland
became Hollywood's favorite

Hollywood has a new Swedish girl to talk about. First there was (Greta) Garbo, then (Ingrid) Bergman, then (Anita) Ekberg, then (Maybritt) Wilkens, and now there is Miss Olsson. Her stage name is Ann-Margret. A simple and sweet girl from a small village in the County of Jamtland has become America's favorite girl in less than a year.

'Go out and play for a while, Daddy wants to listen to Ann-Margret!' That old saying has become a classic in the U.S. A little girl, born Olsson in Valsjobyn in Jamtland 19 years ago, has taken the breath out of every man in in America. Her name is Ann-Margret, and it is also her stage name, and even more, the name people in Hollywood talk about the most today. Ann-Margret - the girl that is called 'The Animal' for the way she sings and dances, and who is 'x-rated' on LP's because of her sensual, sexy voice.

Ann-Margret Olsson was born in Jamtland and when the family left Sweden for the U.S. in 1947, she was only 6. She started school, and the family settled down in Illinois, in a little town called Fox lake. Ann-Margret's mother and father decided that they would give their daughter the best education there was, with singing-, dancing- and pianolessons. Something they themselves hadn't had.

Ann-Margret was excellent in everything and won several amateur contests during her time at the Northwestern University. In 1960, with one year left at college, she started to dream of a career as a singer and dancer. During the summer she travelled a bit with two classmates, Bobby Clark and Vernon Hacket, on drums and bass. One day she suddnly said: 'Hey guys, let's go to Las Vegas, it's where the action is!' Bobby and Vernon were hesitant, sure Ann-Margret is a fantastic girl, and they were pretty good as a group, but Vegas... no.

Well, they went to Vegas anyway. Ann-Margret managed to persuade them and in July 1960 they boarded the train. They had about $20 between them, but once in Vegas, anything could happen. They called themselves The Subtile Tones (sic)

They arrived early one morning and not a person was in sight. So this was where they were going to make their fortune. Ann-Margret, Bobby and Vernon looked for a job for two days. On the third day they happened on a small nightclub in a dark alley, called Club 200. They went in through the stage door, and in the dark inside a man was sitting at a table in the middle of the place, doing his nails.

Ann-Margret said: 'We're looking for a job!'. 'What can you do?' the man said. 'I sing and dance and the guys back me up', Ann-Margret replied. The man with the nails said hesitantly: 'OK, you're in. You start tonight, you get $10 per night. See you at seven o'clock'.

So, at 9.34 PM, on July 14, 1960, Ann-Margret sang for a paying audience - she couldn't believ her luck! They were a huge success, but after a week they were out. We need variation, the clubowner said.

Ann-Margret made another major decision. back at the hotel, they counted their money: It was just enough to take them to Hollywood. Now Bobby and Vernon backed out. They lent Ann-Margret the fare to Hollywood, then they went home..

With $5 in her pocket Ann-Margret reached the movie capital. She found it easier than in Las Vegas. In Hollywood there's a talent scout behind every trash can, and Ann-Margret found her scout in George Burns, who asked her to sing a song....

When she entered the stage where she was to perform, it was all dark on stage. A light came on, Burns and everybody else tried to remain calm. Ann-Margret was dressed in black fishnet stockings, she had let her hair out, and she sang with a dark and low voice. Her body vibrated and she moved to the rhythm. She sang 'Teach Me Tonight', and the gentlemen were sweating. 'Crazy, she's a find!' She just had to sing that one song, then the recording contract was ready to sign. And now, America is at her feet. She has done two films, 'Pocketful of Miracles' and 'State Fair' with pat Boone. She has also done several excellent recordings.

19 years old, Ann-Margret from Valsjobyn in Jamtland is a star, and she makes about $100,000 a month.

'The Animal', Ann-Margret is a weet and nice girl. She seldom gets angry, at the most when her agent says she is America's answer to Brigitte Bardot.

'I don't want to be sexy, I want to be an actress, and I don't think I'm sexy myself. But I don't mind other people thinking I am'. All this she says in Swedish - with a bit of an accent, but still. Because Ann-Margret is proud of being from Jamtland and Sweden.


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