Viva Las Vegas: Elvis stars in 1964 teaser with Ann-Margret
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Elvis Presley had his life changed in 1963 when he started working on his new film Viva Las Vegas (which was released this week, March 13, back in 1964). While the King of Rock and Roll had enjoyed affairs with plenty of actresses during his time in Hollywood, when he met Ann-Margret he fell head-over-heels for her. The pair’s sordid connection quickly blossomed from a lust-filled venture to a loving relationship. But Elvis struggled with his own conscience during the relationship, as well, as he had left his girlfriend, Priscilla Presley, waiting for him at home in Graceland.
While Elvis was in Las Vegas, he spent every minute of every day with Ann-Margret. Late-night dates turned into weekends together.
One day, however, it all came crashing down for Ann-Margret. After Priscilla eventually learned about Elvis’ affair with Ann-Margret, her parents got involved. And so did his boss, Colonel Tom Parker.
Priscilla’s parents and Colonel Tom put pressure on Elvis to marry the young girl sooner rather than later, or else his image be tarnished for bringing such a young woman from Germany to the USA.
When Elvis’ decision was made for him, he “abruptly stopped seeing Ann-Margret,” according to Marty Lacker, a member of the Memphis Mafia. The King ghosted Ann-Margret. Lacker spoke about the King’s relationship with Ann-Margret in the Alanna Nash book “Elvis and the Memphis Mafia”.
After Elvis stopped talking to Ann-Margret, she tracked Lacker down in Vegas and demanded answers.
She yelled at him: “What the hell is wrong with your boss? One minute we’re in love, and the next minute I don’t hear from him again. He won’t even take my calls.”
And Elvis knew Ann-Margret was calling him, as they had worked out a secret code to make sure her calls to Graceland weren’t screened.
When Ann-Margret regularly called Elvis at Graceland they didn’t want to tip off Priscilla about their relationship, so they gave her a codename. When Ann-Margret called his home, she said her name was either Bunny or Thumper.
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Lacker went on to say this method of cutting off women was something Elvis did frequently.
Lacker said it was “the way Elvis did things”. Before adding: “It was part of his weakness.”
Shortly thereafter, Elvis and Ann-Margret had broken up. Less than a year later, he had proposed to Priscilla. And a year after that, on May 1, 1967, they were married.
In the meantime, Ann-Margret moved on; she met Roger Smith, a Hollywood producer. And just seven days after Elvis got hitched, on May 8, 1967, she married Roger.
Elvis and Ann-Margret remained on great terms, though. Elvis frequently attended her Las Vegas residency shows in the years that followed. And he sent her flowers in the shape of a guitar on every opening night of her new shows.
When Elvis died on August 16, 1977, Ann-Margret was the only person from his Hollywood life to attend his funeral.
When she arrived at Graceland she met Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley, and embraced him. He told her: “He [Elvis] was so proud of you.”
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