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Roger Smith

Sorry, Ann-Margret, but we just have to ask:

Is it true you're a threat to the
morale of the American society

This is Ann-Margret's idea of a perfect man:

- He should be wild and virile
- Imagine a good fight between all the kissing
- If he wants to kick me, I'll let him
- If he wants to shout at me, I'll let him
- But you can betcha I'll fight back!

SE: People call you 'The Animal', why?

Ann-Margret: OK, I'll let you know. I was doing a TV-recording 6-7 years ago, and I had been singing and dancing in a bikini. Suddenly my director burst in on stage, shouting: 'My God, she's an animal, hide the kids'.

SE: What kids?

A-M: There was a school class visiting.

SE: Were you flattered by the name?

A-M: All women want to be interesting. I am just what I am. Sometimes I feel like a baby cat, a kitten, and sometimes I'm dangerous as well.

SE: These days, you're some kind of a sex-symbol?

A-M: Maybe I am. I am just what I am. I don't understand why men are so strange. You should see some of the letters I get. And some of them are from Sweden. Sometimes when I have read them, I can't sleep for days, and my husband has to hold my hand.

SE: What do they write?

A-M: How do you say it? Right, straight to the point, their inner feelings. Some do drawings, you can imagine of what.

SE: I guess that's the flipside to being a sex-symbol?

A-M: But I don't just want to be a sex-symbol, I want to sing and dance as well.

SE: Well, they say American men buy your 'hot' albums, then they go home and lock themselves with their grammophones.

A-M: I haven't heard that. But once a mother called my agent complaining that I had been in a photo in just my swimsuit. Her son had cut the picture out, and put it on his wall. She didn't like that.

SE: You drive a motorcycle...

A-M: I love it. I have a Triumph 500 cc at home. What I don't like, is people saying I just keep it as some kind of sex-symbol. That's not the case. My uncle taught me to love motorcycles when I was a kid in Sweden. I was just 10, but I made up my mind then and there that I would get me one when I grew up.

SE: Do you consider it an advantage being Swedish in the U.S.? Do you think they consider you more 'exotic' and 'free' because of that?

A-M: I haven't thought about it, but it's not impossible. You know, I don't think there's one man out there who just wants his woman to just stay home knitting. I think they want one with flaming red hair, boots, green eyes, riding a bike! I think we women have to make ourselves more exciting in some kind of way.

SE: How?

A-M: Well, by becoming tougher, get closer to them, not just sit and wait for them.

SE: You're not tired of hungry eyes?

A-M: The woman who says she is, is lying.

SE: What do you think an American male thinks of a Swedish woman?

A-M: Maybe like a 'wild' woman. Free, one who wouldn't hesitate to ask for a date herself. There was a TV-show the other year about women from Lapland, and there were shots of women castrating reindeer. I think I received over 1000 letters after that. First I got angry, why do they ask me about that, but after a while it was just fun. And so far I haven't been attacked in the street by a man.

SE: Do you keep up with what's going on in Sweden?

A-M: Yes, I do. I have many Swedish friends who keep me up to date. This fall there's an election for president, no, that's not what you call it, prime minister.

SE: You must tell me about your ideal man, what do you first look at?

A-M: His eyes. No matter what he looks like, his eyes must radiate.

SE: Explain!

A-M: Eyes say so much. I can look at a man, and see what he thinks, just by looking at his eyes... And it's not just sex. I was in Vietnam a year ago, at the front. I could see FNL-soldiers in the woods. I'm proud to be of the same generation of men and boys who fight for us there. I think that was one of the most important things that has ever happened to me, to see that horrible... and to feel their courage. I definetly want to go back as soon as possible.

I love the mature man, that doesn't mean he has to be over 50. I have met thousands of boys during the years, most of them my age. Long-haired, just into pop and fast cars. The man I want, he has a broader mind.

At the same time, he has to be wild, like me. Imagine a good fight combined with kisses and hugs. My man mustn't put me on a piedestal, if he wants to kick me, so should he, if he wants to scream and shout at me, so should he... But he must count on I'll fight back, like an animal...

SE: Today, you're a rich woman, Ann-Margret, who makes millions each year. Still, you manage to come back to Sweden, to perform for free...

A-M: I'm totally honest when I say that I had tears in my eyes when our plane passed over Ostersund just before landing. My whole childhood passed before my eyes, and I remembered all my friends from school. You see, it's so different, I live a hard life in Hollywood, I don't mean that I drink champagne och travel in fast cars all the time, but we work 12 hours a day, and sleep when we're free. Here in Sweden there's such kindness, everyone seems nice. In Hollywood, noone does anything he can't make some kind of profit from. Most things are false and ugly, lots of intriguing, fighting. It's like you're on a different planet over here.

SE: And you sang 'Violer Till Mor'.

A-M: That was the first song my mother taught me, I guess I was 5 or 6. I still know all the words to it...


By Sten Hedman


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