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Bye Bye Birdie, Hello Ann-Margret: From Minor Role to Major Stardom

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Ann-MargretThe explosive new star’s role in the 1963 hit Bye Bye Birdie turned the Midwestern girl into a star, and the Post was there to chronicle the story. Just nine years later, Ann-Margret would be nominated for her first Academy Award in 1972 for her role in Carnal Knowledge and again in 1976 for Tommy. Read how this iconic actress became a household name in “Ann-Margret” (May 4, 1963).

The cover portrait (right) was taken while Ann-Margret, then 22, was belting out a song from her current movie success. Her role in Bye Bye Birdie originally was a rather minor part, calling for a song or two. But by the time the film ended, Ann-Margret wound up with six numbers on film. Says Birdie director George Sidney in the 1963 profile, “We really built up her part. I’ve been in this business 30 years and seen no one with her fire. When she goes, it’s electric.”

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