Elvis Presley’s ‘electric’ affair with Ann-Margret – ‘He wanted to marry me’ | Films | Entertainment

Elvis and Ann-Margret Viva Las Vegas affair

Elvis and Ann-Margret Viva Las Vegas affair (Image: (Image: getty))

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret’s sizzling affair during the filming of ‘Viva Las Vegas’ was more than just a fling; it was an electric connection that could have changed the King’s life. Ann-Margret, who matched Elvis like no other, opened up about their intense relationship, revealing they were akin to “mirror images” with an on-screen and off-screen chemistry that was palpable.

She stood out as the only co-star to ever share top billing with Elvis and was notably the only leading lady invited to his funeral. The King’s enduring affection meant he sent her flowers until his last days, and his father Vernon even requested her presence to represent the Presley family in a 1977 TV tribute.

Ann-Margret recalled the undeniable spark between them: “We both felt a current, an electricity that went straight through us. It would become a force we couldn’t control.”

She also reflected on their kindred spirits: “Little did we know we shared a devil within. We were quiet, polite, careful. But I knew what was going to happen once we got to know each other. Elvis did, too.”

Elvis and Ann-Margret Viva Las Vegas affair: We were mirror images

Elvis and Ann-Margret Viva Las Vegas affair: We were mirror images (Image: (Image: GETTY))

Elvis and Ann-Margret Viva Las Vegas affair: They both loved fast cars and motorbikes

Elvis and Ann-Margret Viva Las Vegas affair: They both loved fast cars and motorbikes (Image: (Image: GETTY))

Even Elvis was taken aback by their connection and struggled to understand it until one of his Memphis Mafia members put it plainly: “She’s the female you.”

Before their iconic pairing in 1964’s ‘Viva Las Vegas’, Ann-Margret had already captivated audiences with her performance in ‘Bye, Bye, Birdie’. A talented singer, her bond with Elvis was deeply rooted in music, which she described as a powerful force in both their lives.

She recalled: “We experienced music in the same visceral way. Music ignited a fiery pent-up passion inside Elvis and inside me. It was an odd, embarrassing, funny, inspiring, and wonderful sensation. We looked at each other move and saw virtual mirror images.”

Viva Las Vegas: Elvis stars in 1964 teaser with Ann-Margret

“When Elvis thrust his pelvis, mine slammed forward, too. When his shoulder dropped, I was down there with him. When he whirled, I was already on my heel.”

The chemistry between the two didn’t stop when the camera rolled. They would engage in playful banter before Elvis’s entourage, stalking across the room or crawling with their backs arched pretending to be cats. Elvis would provocatively call: “You’ve got me running,” to which Ann-Margret would respond, “You’ve got me hiding.”

However, he didn’t run far, and she was easy to find as their affair exploded and they spent almost a year unable to get enough of each other while Priscilla, stuck alone at Graceland, read the gossip in the press..

Elvis and Ann-Margret Viva Las Vegas affair: Pink was her signature colour

Elvis and Ann-Margret Viva Las Vegas affair: Pink was her signature colour (Image: (Image: GETTY))

Elvis affectionately referred to Ann-Margret as Thumper (a name she used when phoning Graceland) while she called him EP. Her favourite colour was pink, and The King brought a round pink bed to grace her Beverly Hills flat.

Their mutual admiration for high-speed motorbikes bonded them further, and they would ride together. Thrill-seeker Ann-Margret kept that passion going her whole life, even sustaining three broken ribs in a crash in 2000 when she was 59.

Years later, Ann-Margret opened up about just how serious their relationship had been: “his wish was that we could stay together.” But the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll faced immense pressure to marry Priscilla, influenced by his manager and public expectations.

Priscilla Presley expressed her anger in her autobiography, recounting the moment she discovered the affair: “I picked up a flower vase and threw it across the room, shattering it against the wall.”

Elvis and Ann-Margret remained close until his death

Elvis and Ann-Margret remained close until his death (Image: (Image: GETTY))

The UK media once buzzed with rumours that Elvis and Ann-Margret were set to wed, leading to a confrontation where Elvis accused her of leaking the story, an accusation she has always denied.

Some members of Elvis’s entourage, known as the Memphis Mafia, speculate that if Elvis had remained with Ann-Margret, who overcame her own battle with alcohol, he might have avoided his tragic descent into addiction. Others argue that Elvis might have revelled in the initial excitement, but he ultimately preferred a less challenging partner and would have chosen Priscilla over Ann-Margret, regardless.

After the affair ended, Elvis made a habit of sending Ann-Margret grandiose guitar-shaped flower arrangements for the rest of his life. These gifts were traditionally delivered on the inaugural evening of each of her headline Las Vegas shows.

However, during her performance at the Hilton on August 15, 1977, the accustomed bouquet did not arrive, and she later revealed that she had sensed something terrible had happened.

Elvis Presley life and death

Elvis Presley life and death (Image: (Image: GETTY))

Elvis and Ann-Margret and husband Roger are still together

Elvis and Ann-Margret and husband Roger are still together (Image: (Image: GETTY))

The following day, a call to Graceland confirmed her worst fears – Elvis had passed away, but the news had not yet been relayed to the press.

Reflecting on their split in her memoir, Ann-Margret shared the emotional toll it took on her: “It was extremely difficult for me to write and it’s even harder for me to talk about.”

Despite rarely speaking about Elvis, Ann-Margret wanted to portray him positively in her book, saying: “There’s been so much, for some reason, negative situations surrounding his name that I wanted to show the man that I knew – generous, loving, funny, talented, gifted – and only show complete respect.”

In the end, of course, Elvis and Priscilla married on May 1, 1967, split after the birth of daughter Lisa Marie, while Ann-Margret found lasting love.

Incredibly, she tied the knot with actor Roger Smith on May 8, 1967, just a week after her ex. The couple remained devoted for fifty years until his death in 2017.

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