Elvis Presley met Ann-Margret in 1963 when they began filming his 1964 movie Viva Las Vegas. What started as an affair between two Hollywood stars turned into a passionate love story. The couple spent as much time as they could together while Elvis’ boyfriend, Priscilla Presley, awaited her return at Graceland. Elvis and Ann-Margret’s relationship lasted just over a year before they broke up, but the story doesn’t end there.
A decade later, in December 1972, Elvis was experiencing a bitter and spiteful separation from Priscilla. The couple, who had a daughter together, Lisa Marie Presley, could no longer stay together. After all of Elvis’s years of infidelity and drug use, Priscilla’s affair was the spark that ignited the relationship’s doom.
At the same time, Ann-Margret had a residency space at the Las Vegas Hilton, where she played every night to a sold-out crowd. On a fateful night in December, Elvis attended his show and watched his former love, the one who got away, sing her heart out for the masses.
It was tonight that Ann-Margret met Elvis for the last time.
Elvis attended a star-studded after party where he chatted with Ann-Margret about the old days. They reminisced about their days on set and the mischief they got up to before they parted ways. However, the night did not end there.
Later that night, after Ann-Margret had returned to her hotel room, she received a phone call: it was Elvis. She recalled the emotional event in her memoir, My Story.
Ann-Margret wrote: “Elvis told me how good it had been to see me before.” She, of course, returned the compliment. She was no doubt telling the truth, but she had to be careful at this point. At the time, Ann-Margret was married to Hollywood producer Roger Smith.
Elvis went on to tell her how “lonely” he was and that he just wanted to see her one more time. And finally, he asked Ann-Margret one of the most difficult questions she had ever heard.
Ann-Margret wrote: “He asked if he could see me. It was a question I had anticipated since [that] late, but I hoped he didn’t really ask.”
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Elvis was going through a difficult time. He was not only losing his wife, but his way of life was going to change drastically. He was going to have to split up to care for his daughter, and there would no doubt be intrusions from the press and onlookers. Elvis reached out to Ann-Margret for help.
As heartbreaking as this request was, Ann-Margret had only one answer for him. Sadly, she told Elvis over the phone in his hotel room, “You know I can’t.”
His blunt honesty was what I needed to hear. He said, “I know, but I just want you to know that I still feel the same way.”
The couple ended the conversation and emotionally parted ways once again. But neither of them realized that the Elvis story was almost over.
That was the last time Ann-Margret saw or spoke to Elvis.
Five years later, on August 16, 1977, The King of Rock and Roll died. Elvis was found dead at Graceland in the bathroom, right next to where Lisa Marie Presley was sleeping.
When Ann-Margret heard the news, she dropped everything and went to Tennessee. She was the only person from Elvis’s Hollywood career to attend his funeral.
When Ann-Margret finally met Elvis’s father, Vernon Presley, he gave her a message from the King: “I was so proud of you.”
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