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See '70s Pin-Up Ann-Margret Now at 80

The Bye Bye Birdie star has no plans to retire.

Ann-Margret was one of the biggest stars of the 1960s and '70s, and her career is still going strong today. The Swedish-American actor and singer— who was born Ann-Margret Olsson—was known for musicals first, including State Fair, Bye Bye Birdie, and Viva Las Vegas, in which she co-starred with Elvis Presley. But, as the years went on, she moved on to other genres, including the drama The Cincinnati Kid with Steve McQueen, the John Wayne western The Train Robbers, and the rock opera adaptation Tommy.

Now, Ann-Margret is 80 years old, and she's still acting and releasing music. Read on to learn more about the iconic star's life today.

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Her acting career has continued on.

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret at MGM studios in 1963
Bettmann / Getty Images

Ann-Margret has kept acting ever since she came to fame in the early '60s. Some of her other big films over the years include Newsies, Grumpy Old Men, and Any Given Sunday. Some of her other projects in recent years include the TV series Ray Donovan and The Kominsky Method, and the movie Going in Style. In 2021, she starred in the comedy Queen Bees.

"It was difficult in the beginning, yes, because nobody thought of me as a serious actress," she told Page Six last year. She explained that the movie that changed things for her was Carnal Knowledge, which was directed by Mike Nichols and co-starred Jack Nicholson. "I don't know why but he just wanted me to do that part," she said of the late director.

She kept making music, too.

Ann-Margret at the Family Film Awards in 2021
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ann-Margret was very active in music at the beginning of her career in the early '60s, when she was being marketed as a woman version of Presley. In the years since, she has continued performing on stage and recorded music periodically, including a Christmas album in 2004. She recently recorded new album titled Born to Be Wild. 

"I hadn't done an album for like 100 years! I had a ball doing it!" she told Closer Weekly earlier this year. "It's all '60s music. My era!"

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She had a long, loving marriage.

Ann-Margret and Roger Smith at the premiere of "Going in Style" in 2017
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Ann-Margret was married to her husband, actor Roger Smith, from 1967 until his death in 2017. "When I look back at my life, I am most proud of my marriage," she told Closer. "We both wanted it to work. And it did work. We were together night and day. We loved each other and were always in each other's corner."

While the couple didn't welcome any children together, Ann-Margret helped raise Smith's three kids from a previous relationship. Speaking to fellow actor George Hamilton for Interview magazine in 2014, Ann-Margret opened up a little about her step-children but said that their lives are kept private for a reason.

"I met them when they were three, six, and seven, and now they're not. [laughs]," she said. "Two of them are doctors. Well, I don't want to get into that because it's very, very private."

She's not sure what's next for her.

Ann-Margret at a special screening of "Bye Bye Birdie" in February 2022
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Ann-Margret shared with Interview that she considered retiring in the '70s but realized it wasn't for her.

"I did what I thought was a farewell tour for three weeks in 1971. Nobody knew," she said. "I thought, 'Well, that's it. I'm leaving the industry.' But then I was retired for a year, in my mind, and then I said, 'Honey, I don't think I want to be retired. I'd like to go on stage again.'"

Now, at the start of her 80s, she just goes with the flow. In a January interview, Broadway World asked her what's next after recording her album. "For me, I would say just relaxation," she responded. "Being with my friends is relaxation. And I'll get my energy up, then I don't know what I'll do. And I never know!"

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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