Ann-Margret is born in Valsjöbyn, Sweden, 1941. Her first two films, Pocketful of Miracles (1961) and State Fair (1962), served as decent warm-up for her next two, Bye Bye Birdie (1963) and Viva Las Vegas (1964)—two enormous hits that brought her movie stardom. From there she played the sex bomb in a string of mostly forgettable films. “The critics had an image of me, and they wouldn’t accept any other,” the actress said. “I was a cartoon character, a joke.” That perception changed considerably when director Mike Nichols hired her for his ode to sexual confusion and unfulfillment, Carnal Knowledge (1971). Though critic Pauline Kael wrote that the movie was “like a neon sign spelling out the soullessness of neon,” critics generally had high regards for the picture and strong praise for Ann-Margret as Jack Nicholson’s dissatisfied and put-upon love interest. Wrote critic Roger Ebert, “Ann-Margret has been in a lot of bad movies, and done some bad acting in them, and this role (with makeup including a remarkably realistic artificial chest) could have degenerated into a parody with no trouble at all. Instead, it’s an artistic triumph.” For her work in the Nichols drama, Ann-Margret earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.