“Ann-Margret does not discuss Elvis and not because she bears him any ill will,” he told Fox News. “Quite to the contrary, she is very eager to protect Elvis’ legacy and she thinks, correctly, that the media and others… sort of pick away at his legacy because we’re so desperate for information on him. And I suspect she thinks his career was mishandled by [manager] Colonel Tom Parker.”
Mankiewicz has interviewed the talented actress, who starred in Viva Las Vegas with The King in 1964 and spoke about the love affair she revealed in her 1994 autobiography, Ann-Margret: My Story.
“A read of her autobiography, and she wrote it, makes it pretty clear that they were in love. She doesn’t say it in so many words, but she says it in enough words. And they clearly meant a great deal to each other. They loved each other,” he explained.
While their love story could have been one for the ages, Mankiewicz says he doesn’t think it would have stood the test of time.
“It probably couldn’t last,” he said. “But they had a real meaningful connection with each other. They understood each other, they both come from small towns, they both loved motorcycles, and they both were uncomfortable in their spotlight of Hollywood… And I think that’s what connected them to each other during the duration of Elvis’ life… I think my understanding of it is we should all be so lucky to have a friendship that’s as meaningful as the one between Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley.”
After their break-up, which allegedly was because Presley believed Ann-Margret spoke with British tabloids saying they were planning to marry, they each went on to marry other people in 1967 – Ann-Margret to her actor Roger Smith and Presley to Priscilla Beaulieu.
No matter the outcome of their romantic relationship, they sure had great chemistry on-screen. Watch them sing “Today, Tomorrow. Forever” from Viva Las Vegas below.