She is best known for her roles in Bye Bye Birdie (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1964), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Carnal Knowledge (1971), and Tommy (1975). She has won five Golden Globe Awards and been nominated for two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and six Emmy Awards. In 2010, she won her first Emmy Award for her guest appearance on Law & Order: SVU.
During a lull in her film career in July 1967, Ann-Margret gave her first live performance in Las Vegas, with her husband Roger Smith (whom she had married in 1967) taking over as her manager after that engagement. Elvis Presley and his entourage came to see her during the show’s five-week run and to celebrate backstage. From thereon until his death, Presley sent her a guitar-shaped floral arrangement for each of her Vegas openings. After the first Vegas run ended, she followed up with a CBS television special “The Ann-Margret Show”, produced and directed by David Winters on December 1, 1968, with guest-stars Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Danny Thomas, and Carol Burnett. Then she went back to Saigon as part of Hope’s Christmas show. A second Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) television special followed, directed and choreographed by David Winters and produced and distributed by Winters’ company Winters-Rosen with Dean Martin and Lucille Ball. In 1970, she returned to films with R.P.M. and C.C. and Company. David Winters and the show were nominated for a Primetime Emmy in Outstanding Choreography.
In 1971, she starred in Mike Nichols‘ Carnal Knowledge, playing the over-loving girlfriend of a viciously abusive Jack Nicholson and garnering a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
On the set of The Train Robbers in Durango, Mexico, in June 1972, she told Nancy Anderson of Copley News Service that she had been on the “grapefruit diet” and had lost almost twenty pounds (134 to 115) eating unsweetened citrus.
On Sunday, September 10, 1972, while performing at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, she fell 22 feet from an elevated platform to the stage and suffered injuries including a broken left arm, cheekbone and jawbone. Husband Roger Smith flew a stolen plane from Burbank, California, to Lake Tahoe in order to get his wife to the surgeons at the medical center at UCLA for treatment. She required meticulous facial reconstructive surgery that required wiring her mouth shut and putting her on a liquid diet. Unable to work for ten weeks, she ultimately returned to the stage almost (some would say miraculously) back to normal.