Ann-Margret accomplished a lot as an actress throughout the last six decades, but her beautiful marriage with Roger Smith was another proud achievement. The Viva Las Vegas actress was married to her late spouse for 50 years until the actor’s death in 2017.
The Bye Bye Birdie star first met Roger around the time she made her film debut in 1961’s Pocketful of Miracles. The two became acquaintances, but their romance began five years later when they met for the second time in 1966. According to reports, Roger invited Ann-Margret to one of his performances at a nightclub in San Francisco, which was then followed by a series of luxurious dates.
While recalling his first impression of the Swedish-born actress during an interview with New York Magazine in 1976, Roger said he was “impressed” by how disinterested she seemed in getting to know him. “Every other woman I met was falling all over me,” he remembered. “But this innocent, fresh-faced beauty only spoke to me when I spoke to her and the rest of the time ignored me.”
Ann-Margret wasn’t in a rush to fall in love, but once she started dating Roger, it didn’t take long for them to establish an unbreakable bond. The couple tied the knot in a Las Vegas civil ceremony after a year of dating in 1967. “The man that I married is the man I knew I was going to marry on the third date,” she sweetly told the New York Times in 1994.
The Grumpy Old Men actress and the Man of a Thousand Faces actor enjoyed more than 50 years of wedded bliss together. Sadly, Roger died at age 84 in June 2017 following a battle with a terminal illness, Ann-Margret’s agent Jack Gilardi announced at the time. Roger had also struggled with the nerve disease myasthenia gravis for many years up until his death.
Considering the duo created endless wonderful memories together, Ann-Margret will always “[cherish] the years” she had with the 77 Sunset Strip alum. “She lets herself be sad,” an insider told Closer Weekly in December 2020, but “she believes he is still watching out for her.”
In February 2022, Ann-Margret told Closer that she was still living in the same Los Angeles home she bought with Roger in 1968. Memories from their marriage are something she holds near and dear to her heart. “When I look back at my life, I am most proud of my marriage,” she said.
“We both wanted it to work. And it did work,” she added. “We were together night and day. We loved each other and were always in each other’s corner.”
Scroll through the gallery below to learn more about Ann-Margret’s longtime love, Roger.
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