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Roger Smith

Ann-Margret's Recipes For A
Healthy, Sexy and Loving Life...
- They Can Work For You

There's something about the way Ann-Margret carries herself that catches your attention the minute you see her. It might be her walk - the way she stands so proudly. Or it might be the way her tawny hair shines as she talks with great aliveness and vivacity. It might be her figure, which is lean-limbed, small-waisted, very much in-shape. Ann-Margret is the very personification of the fit life! More thaan any other star in Hollywood, it's a case of beauty and health being synonymous.

"I was brought up this way", she muses, as she considers her health and beauty routine. "In Sweden, gymnastics are very important. You start when you are very young, when you are first learning to walk. I had my first pair of skis when I was four. All through school, I was playing baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming... you name it. And riding my bike! Oh, and dancing. I've always danced. My father and mother believed in this. My father had a great respect for fitness. He was 71 when he died and up until he was deathly ill with cancer, he was in tremendous shape. He would go walking for miles. He was a fabulous skier, my mother too, and they also danced. He would do all these things, workout a great deal. In our house, that first little house out there on Peavine Street, he had a little chinning bar.

"They instilled all this in me. And then I forgot it. It's easy to forget because, when I'm working, I love it so and I sometimes push myself too far. I had a terrible lesson - Las Vegas, Christmas before last, I fell apart! Literally.

"I'd had a busy year. There was 'Tommy' and a special and I'd finished a show at the Hilton. That was late November. We closed and left the next day for Paris to film 'The Twist'. It was so exciting, my first chance to work with director Claude Chabrol, and we shot all over Paris. Olnly, it was so cold, ten degrees below, right? After a 12-hour day, we'd come back to our hotel where it was so warm and dry.

"Leaving Paris, it took the plane 16 hours to get back to L.A. December 20, I didn't go to sleep until 2 A.M., and that afternoon, rehearsal. It was a Sunday. The next day, I rehearsed all day. Tuesday night was opening. But Tuesday I was in bed, and Wednesday and Thursday; and Friday when I did open and everything seemed fine, I got halfway through and my voice simply deteriorated. Roger sent for Dr. Hans Von Laden, and he flew in and gave me shots, just enough to get me through New Year's Eve.

"Dr. Von Laden is a fine throat specialist. He did something much more important for me than give me the shots. He showed me a film, 'The Incredible Machine', a special he'd had a part in filming. He was one of the surgeons. They used tiny, tiny cameras that went inside the body, showing how the various parts move. In the throat, it showed the vocal chords moving gently, going together, and then what happens when you cough. Each part of the body in all its wonder - an incredible machine and what we do to it sometimes!

"Dr. Von Laden gave me a lecture and it really scared me. He explained that Paris is one of the roughest of all places for a singer. It's dry. Instead of huddling inside, what I should have been doing, he said, was exercising. I should have been out running every day. I made up my mind, then and there, first to get me through my current engagement and then to get back in health.

"Exercise. It's the big key. If you exercise, you don't put on weight, you don't injure yourself by taking shots to lose quickly."

But, "never again". As soon as she finished at Las Vegas, Roger took her to Puerto Vallarta to recover. Dr. Vaon Laden had said not only not to sing, but not even to talk for ten days or so. She started jogging. Every day on the beach. "I got back into training, like an athlete", she says. "Ifind that I have more energy after running a mile than I have when I just get up. I find that if I'm tired in the afternoon, jogging a mile or riding my bike, I'll all of a sudden get a second wind".

"I began watching what I ate and eating intelligently. Chicken, fish, veal - I cut down on beef. I cut down on sweets. That's hard. I have a sweet tooth that won't quit. But instead, I eat yoghurt and honey. At night, before I go to sleep, when I have a craving for something sweet, instead of having a huge sundae, I will have yoghurt and honey, stir it around and put it in a beautiful glass and pretend. Another trick in weight-watching is to just eat halg a porion. The business of eating everything that's put in front of you may work in childhood, but you grow up and it gets harder to take off weight when you put it in.

"It's called reality and if you're smart you heed the warnings. From the time I saw that film of Dr. Von Laden's, something clicked in my head - keeping fit has become my way of life. Roger's too. He jogs right with me. Roger who has never been able to run! Even when he was a teenager, he tells me, he used to start gasping after about 20 feet. He's been telling me for 11 years that he couldn't run and I've always said, 'Roger, you can't run a mile the first day. Just gradually build up to it.' And sure enough, because he wanted so much for me to run, he's out there every morning with me and he's gotten up to a mile and isn't even tired.

"I sound like Pollyanna. I can't believe it, the way I sound. But I know how I feel and I see how Roger feels. He's always before had trouble with a low energy level. Not now! Wherever we are - Las Vegas, Miami, L.A. - we jog a mile a day, either on a track or in a park or on a beach. It's so much fun to wake up, go running and return feeling elated and proud of yourself. You feel like you're doing something. You feel healthy.

"The first lap around is sometimes difficult, you aren't too thrilled about being out there; but that begins to change on the next lap. It helps to have Roger run with me. You don't want to let each other down so you do your seven laps.

""And then we come home and eat a good breakfast, which I never used to eat. I used to starve myself all day and then eat an incredible meal - like an idiot! Now we eat a proper breakfast - scrambled eggs, toast and tea. Fruit. There's enough protein and carbohydrates in that to carry you until dinner, because I'm never hungry when I'm rehearsing. Then we'll come home and have a normal dinner. And usually, I'm exhausted, so we go to bed early.

"It's a matter of living - one day at a time. Eating that breakfast keeps you from over-extending yourself. You have something to go on. And then I have all the exercise of dancing or bike riding when I'm not dancing.

"Oh, and drinking water. Doctors tell you to drink eight glasses. It's been difficult to do but I'm doing that too. If you drink a couple of glasses before eating, you don't want to eat so much. It also is a great cleanser."

And just look at her skin! Plenty of water, the right food, exercise, sleep and you don't have to worry about makeup. In her own life, Ann-Margret doesn't use any, just lipstick. It's health that brings the glow into her face and the sheen to her hair. "I've never felt better in my life", she says. "And I love feeling good. I don't like having laryngitis. I love having all the energy in the world." And she does have it.

The fitness program has paid off. This last year she's starred in Tony Richardson's 'Joseph Andrews', 'The Last Remake of Beau Geste', filmed her specials and set new records at Vegas. Now she's doubling in brass, shuttling between Vegas and Hollywood, where she is playing one of the lovelies in love with Peter Falk in the new film 'The Cheap Detective'.

Yes, there's something about Ann-Margret. She says, "If you are proud of your health, you walk differently. You have a different strut." Oh and she does. She crosses the movie set with her eye on Peter Falk, a red fox slung over her shoulder, and you can't take your eyes off her. It's a very special brand of electricity: Ann-Margret's incredible machine, and she's determined to keep it in the best running order possible.


By Jane Ardmore


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