Elvis Presley’s boss, Colonel Tom Parker, even axed some songs from the film they were starring in together, Viva Las Vegas.
Elvis Presley first met Ann-Margret in 1963 when production began on his feature film Viva Las Vegas – which hit cinemas this week, March 13, back in 1964. What started out as a sordid affair eventually blossomed into a loving relationship between the two Hollywood stars. But not every moment of their relationship was filled with joy. Elvis found himself becoming furious when the film’s focus was moving away from him, and onto Ann-Margret.
At the time, Ann-Margret’s career was growing exponentially. She had previously starred in the runaway blockbuster hit Bye Bye Birdie, and Viva Las Vegas was sure to make her an even bigger star.
Elvis knew this and he also knew she’d be a great fit for his image, but he didn’t expect the Viva Las Vegas director to take quite a shine to Ann-Margret once the cameras started rolling.
Filmmaker George Sidney reportedly started giving Ann-Margret more “favourable” camera angles during filming. This meant Elvis lost out on some major scenes. Eventually, the King of Rock and Roll’s ego got the better of him.
According to Red West, one of Elvis’ close friends in the Memphis Mafia, the star ranted furiously about George and Ann-Margret teaming up against him.
Red said Elvis “complained bitterly that the ‘son of a b***h was trying to cut him out of the picture'”.
Eventually, Elvis went to his boss, Colonel Tom Parker, to smooth everything out. He, naturally, was not happy at all with what was going on. So he went over the director’s head and pulled rank on him.
The Elvis biographer, Peter Guralnick, claimed Parker went to the film’s producers to remind them who the real star of the movie was: Elvis Presley.
On top of reminding them that this “was an Elvis Presley picture” and that the focus should always be on him, he pointed out Ann-Margret shouldn’t be in as many songs as Elvis was.