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Ann-Margret as Supporting Roles: 3 Times Star Shined Without Being Lead Actress

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 10:18 AM

Ann-Margret frequently played a supporting role, often as the girlfriend of the leading man, she still captured the attention of audiences and critics alike and shone even without being the lead actress.

Ann-Margret has starred alongside some of Hollywood’s most revered and adored actors, including Jack Nicholson, Bette Davis, Bobby Darin, Janet Leigh, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, and Elvis. Although

Here are just four of the times Ann-Margret’s roles stole the scene as a supporting character.

1. Bobbie Templeton, “Carnal Knowledge” (1971)
Previously, Ann-Margret had specialized in playing sexy, free-spirited but also innocent ingenue characters. Because she could sing and dance, she was sought after for musicals and comedies, and playing the troubled Bobbie marked a profound departure from her past work.

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The film revolves around Sandy (Art Garfunkel) and Jonathan (Jack Nicholson), friends who have known each other since college. Ann-Margret’s character, though a supporting role, brings both worldliness and desperation to the film. As the emotionally abused girlfriend and later wife of womanizer Jonathan, the viewer witnesses former actress Bobbie descend into depression.

The role was so dark that Ann-Margret told film critic Roger Ebert “I can't get rid of her. I try to force her out, but she's still there. I get up at 5 a.m. and I'm still Bobbie. I'm adjusting very badly.”

In the same interview, Ebert also discusses the grim nature of the role: The question...was whether she could play Bobbie with the depth that Nichols would require without doing injury to her own personality. Bobbie was a character who could lacerate an actress, especially one made vulnerable by her image like Ann-Margret. Could she pull it off? Could she survive if she did?”

2. Barbara Mitchell, “52 Pick-Up" (1986)
Ann-Margret continued her foray into dark cinematic territory playing the betrayed wife of businessman Harry (Roy Scheider). After a blackmailer threatens to expose Harry’s affair with a dancer, he confesses the liaison to Ann-Margret’s character Barbara, who happens to be running for city council. She stands by him, even as his plan to turn the tables on his blackmailers threatens her life.

In his review, film critic Roger Ebert praised Ann-Margret’s
performance, saying “She does a delicate job of finding the line between anger at what her husband has done and pride in how he is trying to fix it.”

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3. Ariel Truax, “Grumpy Old Men” (1993)

More than 30 years after her film debut as a young ingenue, and two decades after her portrayal of the tortured Bobbie, Ann-Margret proved she still had the sex appeal and exuberance that captivated audiences when she first broke onto the scene.

As in “Carnal Knowledge,” “Grumpy Old Men” focused on the lifelong friendship between two men (Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau) now in middle age. Ann-Margret, as a love interest to both, played a supporting role but her character served as the catalyst that sparked new life in two men who had been alone for years.

Writing in Entertainment Weekly, Ty Burr commented
“There’s a hint that Ariel is as supernatural as her Shakespearean namesake -- that the angelic joy she brings to men late in life may indeed be fatal.”

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Ann-Margret frequently played a supporting role, often as the girlfriend of the leading man, she still captured the attention of audiences and critics alike and shone even without being the lead actress.
ann-margret, supporting roles
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2015-18-14
Thursday, 14 May 2015 10:18 AM
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