‘We both wanted it to work’

Ann-Margret has led a decades-long career in Hollywood, but the star’s greatest accomplishment was her marriage to Roger Smith.

The former leading man, who starred on the ’60s series “77 Sunset Strip” as a private eye, passed away in 2017 at age 84.

The couple tied the knot in 1967 and remained together until the actor’s death.

“When I look back at my life, I am most proud of my marriage,” the actress recently told Closer Weekly. “We both wanted it to work. And it did work. We were together night and day. We loved each other and we were always in each other’s corner.”


Roger Smith and Ann-Margret, circa 1970. Art Zelin/Getty Images

Since Smith’s death, the “Viva Las Vegas” star has lost interest in the pastimes they shared, such as skiing, the outlet reported. However, the star said she hopes to return to the slopes soon. Ann-Margret still lives in the same Los Angeles home that she and Smith bought together in 1968.

To keep her motivated, Ann-Margret said she has a group of friends from over the years who created a walking group.

“On Monday, there might be three of us,” Ann-Margret explained. “Another day, there might be 15. We go to a different place every weekend to walk. I’m excited to go.”

The 80-year-old is also excited about what’s to come. She has a new album titled “Born to Be Wild,” a collection of her favorite songs.


Actress Ann-Margret and actor Roger Smith attend the "Going In Style" New York premiere at SVA Theatre on March 30, 2017, in New York City. <span class="copyright">Jim Spellman/WireImage</span>

Actress Ann-Margret and actor Roger Smith attend the “Going In Style” New York premiere at SVA Theatre on March 30, 2017, in New York City. Jim Spellman/WireImage

“It’s all ‘60s music. My era!” she revealed.

Back in April, Ann-Margret recalled to Fox News Digital what it was like bringing “Viva Las Vegas” to life. The musical paired her with Elvis Presley.

“Just thinking about ‘Viva Las Vegas,’ or anytime someone mentions it, I smile,” she said at the time. “It was one of the happiest times of my life. George Sidney, who directed ’Bye Bye Birdie’ also directed ‘Viva Las Vegas.’ And believe it or not, I had never seen E.P. perform.”

“I know that’s hard to believe, but I hadn’t!” she shared. “I really got to see it when we were rehearsing, singing and dancing with each other. But we moved very much the same. And he loved his mother. I loved my mother and father. I had a great time. We were friends ‘till the end. I had a great time.”

Ann-Margret as Rusty Martin and Elvis Presley as Lucky Jackson in the musical film "Viva Las Vegas," 1964. <span class="copyright">Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images</span>

Ann-Margret as Rusty Martin and Elvis Presley as Lucky Jackson in the musical film “Viva Las Vegas,” 1964. Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Ann-Margret also described how heading to Vietnam to meet our troops impacted her over the years.

“It still has an impact on me to this day,” she explained. “I went in 1966 and 1968. I had gotten a long letter from G.I.s who wanted me to come over and see them. And of course, I wanted to go over the next day! But I had to wait. But I still have all the notes and letters I received from so many gentlemen. And ladies, too. Being with them has been in my heart the entire time and it will never, ever leave my heart. Never.”

“I remember I went to the hospitals and saw those babies,” Ann-Margret shared. “We were all in the same age group. But when I saw them, I just cried and cried. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nurse. All I could do was perform for them. With every performance I did, I was expressing my love for each and every one of them.”


Ann-Margret touring American bases in Vietnam. <span class="copyright">Getty Images</span>

Ann-Margret touring American bases in Vietnam. Getty Images

“I went to an event in Las Vegas not too long ago and there were two gentlemen from Vietnam,” she continued. “It felt wonderful to hug them, kiss them and just talk to them. I’m so thrilled that they’re here on American soil. I’m an emotional person. It’s just so hard for me to put into words what I feel for those men and women. That will never go away. And I will always love them. That will never leave me, no way. When those G.I.’s wrote to me, I really wanted to go the next day. But they’re in my heart.”

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