Elvis was 28 and Ann-Margret 22 when director George Sidney introduced them on the MGM soundstage where they were about to start Viva Las Vegas in 1964. “We both felt a current, an electricity that went straight through us,” she later gushed. “It would become a force we couldn’t control.”
During the course of filming, they ignited like a Fourth of July candle. A-M’s description of one uninhibited moment performing for friends: “We were both on the ground, stretched out like cats, and in a husky growl he sang ‘You got me runnin’.’ I answered in a similar voice, ‘You got me hidin’.’ As we traded lyrics, we crawled around the carpeted room…”
Despite all the purple passion, there was the small matter of a teenage Priscilla, then stashed away at Graceland and expecting to marry Elvis. “Elvis and I knew he had commitments,” A-M said delicately. “Both of us knew, no matter how much we loved each other, we weren’t going to last.” They didn’t, splitting (but remaining friends) after the film wrapped. He married Priscilla, she wed actor Roger Smith.
Love Note: “I will never recover from Elvis’ death,” she wrote in her autobiography. “He is a part of me, of my happiness and my sorrow that will never go away.”