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Roger Smith

Out to please the boys!

Do you long to send his heart through the roof at a glance? Then try Ann-Margret's secret weapon. Not that she knew it would be a secret weapon, and not that it was her choice, or even that she came to like it! It was a total surprise. When 20th Century-Fox cast Ann-Margret as the dancer in "State Fair", they decided to experiment with her hair color experts decided, was an eye-catching topknot such as would have made any man come to a screaming stop in the midst of rush-hour traffic on the Hollywood Freeway.

Ann-Margret reported to Hairdressing at eight one morning where her hair was covered with a henna formula. She read, she talked on the telephone, she studied her script, she yakked with droppers-inners. (The hairdressing departement of any studio is an informal club that is checked regularly by players just to see what gives.)

At four that afternoon, after eight hours of treatment, washings, dryings, and further treatments to secure the right tone, the transformation was accomplished and Ann-Margret was swung around to face a battery of mirrors. Her mouth fell open, her eyebrows arched, her eys turned to Little Orphan Annie ovals, and she blurted "Oh, NO!" It was like getting on a merry-go-round in Los Angeles and getting off in Timbuktu. It couldn't happen... but it HAD.

She made her way home by driving down side streets to avoid seeing anyone she knew.

She slid narrowly through her home doorway to face her mother and father. Gasped Mrs. Olsson, "Ann-Margret, WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO YOU?"

Her father hurried over to lift the heavy strands of glorious red hair and test its texture between his fingers. "It feels strong. At least they didn't ruin it", he decided.

Ann-Margret raced to her bedroom to study herself again. She thought, "I never expected it to happen to me". All during high school and college days she had watched other girls experiment with their hair color, bleaching, tipping, or dyeing. She had been the only girl in her group who was completely contented with her mink-brown hair. One reason was her love for red. With dark brown hair she could wear every tint and shade from apple-blossom pink to blazing scarlet.

The favourite red suit! She dragged it from her closet and held it up beside her flaming hair. The clash was enough to deafen a man in Boise, Indiana. She wanted to hop into bed and pull the covers over her head, but she had a date that night. She had got to get dressed. The only answer was to go ultra-conservative and wear her one and only "little black". She had never liked it, but it was one of those things you have to have around for emergencies - like drizzle boots.

She zipped it up, added a strand of chalk-white beads, and studied the result. She was astonished. For a red-head, a black dress was a gasser. She added a black stroller-length coat, black patent pumps, and white gloves, and walked to the living room to meet her date.

He jumped out of his chair as if it had been wired, and uttered the yelp that Ann-Margret was to hear a dozen times during the ensuing twenty-four hours: "Oh, NO!"

Now a girl can put up with just so much explosive negative reaction (even if she, herself has started ot on the same downbeat) before reappraising the situation. "You'll get used to it", she said airily, demonstrating the power of positive thinking.

"I still say oh, NO!", glowered the beau with a stricken sickly look on his face.

So they went to a sneak preview and in ninety seconds there was nothing sneak about it. People began to gather from every direction, their way lighted by that incandescent head of red hair.

Several photographers had been alerted to the possible presence, at the theatre, of 20 Century's contract list. Among them was a top lenser who had usually expended a flash bulb or two on Ann-Margret when he saw her around town at premiers, but whose attitude had been roughly that of a maharajah upon sioght of his 47th child: nice but nothing worth fireworks.

Ann-Margret's vivid topknot changed that. The photographer behaved like a man given a shot of Instant St. Vitus Dance. He fired form a prone position, from a kneeling position, from a perch on a kleig light standard. He said, "You're electric. There's been nothing like you since I was a kid and harlow lit up the sky".

Big evening. You might say Ann-Margret painted the town red.

The following morning Ann-Margret descended on Beverly Hills to convert her wardrobe from brownette to redhead. She bought seven BLACK dresses, everything from a business girl's sheath with white cuffs and collar to a sequined cocktail gown. The sales personell were ecstatic. They persuaded Ann-Margret to try a gray crepe date dress; it was wonderful with her torchy top. never before had she been able to wear grey.

Next, she tried a white chiffon dinner dress. Marvelous. Then for the first time in her life - she bought a nutmeg-brown silk suit.

In spite of being into her charge account above her eyebrows, she decided on one more purchase: a lipstick wardrobe. None of her brownette colors were right with the bright frame of her newly burnished locks.

Being a redhead brought other changes into Ann-Margret's life. She discovered that - at public functions - she was spotted swiftly by the press, by fans, by fellow players and by studio oficials.

Columnists wrote things like, "Vivid, colorful Ann-Margret at Chasen's with...". Or, "Talk about moths around a flame, you should have seen Ann-margret at the party of the month. Surrounded by an all-star cast". Or "Dazzling sight at last night's premiere: Ann-Margret in pale green chiffon".

There was another development.

Many performers are always "on". They give out at private parties as vogorously as in public appearance. They commend a room they dominate an evening.

Nobody can deny that Ann-Margret is one of the most dynamic of young performers, IN PUBLIC. In private life she is inclined to be quiet and unobtrusive. Although perfectly proportioned physically, she is slight of body - almost fragile. Her speaking voice is soft and moderatly high-pitched, a contrast to the husky Hollywood norm. At a party, as a brownette, she was often an pbserver, enjoying every moment without being observed.

Frankie Avalon, Ann-Margret saw
the sights of New York.
Dined at Danny Stradella's
chic spot, "Danny's Hideaway".

As a redhead she attracted people, both men and women, in somewhat the same way a crackling, cheerful fireplace summons an audience on a winter night.

It was about this time that Ann-Margret established what shall be known as Olsson's Law: "It's fun to be made over, once you get used to the idea, and you know it isn't permanent, and you have enough spare cash to live up to it".

When "State Fair" was completed, Ann-Margret had her hair dyed back to its natural shade. She remained dark brunette (giving her redhead wardrobe and personality a rest) until she went to work in "Bye Bye Birdie".

Columbia (which has a picture-per-year deal for two years with her) decided that she should be agolden brownette for that lively musical, so her hair was lightened to a sun-catching, creamy shade about the color of caramel syrup. With it, Ann-margret could wear most of her favourite reds.

Dig this: in one sequence for "Bye Bye Birdie", she shows up as a platinum blonde. It's a wig, but it gives the world another delicious variation on the Ann-margret theme.

There's always a funny aspect to any extreme change of appearence. Usually the party of the first part never hears candid conversation about the alteration, but Ann-Margret managed a mouse-in-the-corner bit recently.

She put her hair in one of those head-encompassing white flower wigs, and was taken out to dinner by a current boy friend. The restaurant was romantically lit, which is to say it was dim enough to have made it tough for an owl to have recognized his own mother.

Ann-Margret and her escort had been talking quitely for several minutes when they chanced to catch a remark from the adjoing booth in which two couples were seated. One of the men said: "I saw 'State Fair' the other night. That Ann-Margret is cape Canaveral in purple capris".

The other man said, "I've seen the flick three times, and I'm going again. Man, that c-r-r-r-a-z-y redhead".

Said one of the girls, "I'll bet anything that red hair is a wig".

Said the other, "And if it isn't a wig, it's a dye job. You can't con me into believing it's REAL".

The boys came loyally to the defense of carrot tops. One said, "So it's a dye job. It's a good one, it photographs like a million, and it gives the plot a boost. Any guy, city or country, would go for Ann-Margret: you can understand how the fella played by Pat Boone would go ape over her. Be quiet, girls. redheads are the MOST. Next topic?"

Ann-Margret and her date grinned at each other. he said softly, "You win - by a hair".

Young singer, Steve Wale thought he had Ann-Margret all to himself on a recent date but the fans absolutely mobbed them both.

For you and you and you who would like to be a new you and you and you, Ann-Margret has some advice:

1. Be prepared to abandon some portions of your wardrobe, and to buy some new things.

2. Be prepared to alter your makeup to fit your new color scheme.

3. Choose a hair color that will look natural if you want to be beautiful instead of absurd. For instance, a girl whose skin tone is quite dark can't hope to look well as a strawberry blonde. A girl with milk-white skin shouldn't have her light brown hair dyed black unless she wants to look as if she had escaped from a macabre Charles Addams drawing. Be conservative, at least in the first color change.

4. In order to start with a flattering shade, have the original dye, bleach, or tip done at a beauty shop. This is one time when you need to be launched by a professional. many shops will prepare the coloring for your subsequent use at home, but the initial change should be managed by an expert if the texture, vitality and pliability of the hair are to be retained.

Altering hair color is expensive. However, you may find it more rewarding than candy bars or several new recordings each week.

6. Nowadays it's considered silly to fib about coloration. If anyone asks whether or not your new color is a dye job the smart girl will say, "Yes, this is Misty Moonlight; I hope you like it. The same company has a dye called 'Sunset Peach' that would be great for you". Spread the tidings. Let everyone find her best possible self.

7. Your best beau is likely to register horror at first sight. One of two things will happen thereafter: either he will become reconciled and flattering, or you'll be able to replace him with some new and terrific type.

So, if you are dyeing to please the boys (pardon the pun)... go full steam a-head.


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