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Roger Smith

Roger Smith

The other half of the "Storybook Marriage, Roger was a bigger star than Ann-Margret when they first met. A regular on the blockbuster TV hit show "77 Sunset Strip" for five years, (1958-1963) he also had a promising film career. Read on about their fairytale relationship, their partnership with legendary producer Alan Carr, Roger's battle with a near fatal disease Myasthenia Gravis and their 35 years together as one of Hollywood's most revered couples...



 

Roger Smith was born on December 18th, 1932, in South Gate, California to Dallas and Leone Smith. At age 6, his parents enrolled him at a professional school for singing, elocution and dancing lessons. When he was 12, the family moved to Nogales, Arizona where he appeared in high school theatre productions at Nogales High School, was made president of the school's acting club and became a star linebacker for the school's football team.

On a football scholarship he attended the University of Arizona, in Tucson. During this time, Roger entered and won several amateur talent prizes as a singer and guitarist, which led to a TV appearance with Ted Mack on his TED MACK & THE ORIGINAL AMATEUR HOUR program in 1948.

While stationed in Hawaii at a Naval Reserve on 30 months active service, he sang at various public and private functions. After a chance meeting with film star James Cagney, who was impressed with his clean-cut good looks and appeal, he encouraged Roger to give Hollywood

Roger Smith

Roger Smith

a try. Roger did so and it didn't take long for Columbia Pictures to snap him up. In 1957 Roger signed a contract to Columbia Pictures, and subsequently appeared in such films as NO TIME TO BE YOUNG, OPERATION MADBALL, CRASH LANDING and played a small role on the television sitcom FATHER KNOWS BEST.

In 1956 Roger married Australian actress Victoria Shaw (real name Jeanette Elphick), and they had three children, Tracey, Jordan and Dallas.

In 1958, he played the older 'Patrick Dennis"' role in the madcap Rosalind Russell farce AUNTIE MAME. Around this time, Roger reconnected with James Cagney, who not only hired him to play his son, 'Lon Jr.', in the Lon Chaney biopic MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES, but made him a co-star in the musical comedy-drama NEVER STEAL ANYTHING SMALL.

Moving to Warner Bros., Roger won the role of private detective 'Jeff Spencer' in the hip TV series 77 SUNSET STRIP. After a few years of steady employment, doctors discovered a blood clot in his brain, which forced him to leave the show.

 

After his divorce from his wife Victoria in 1964, Roger began dating Ann-Margret. He toured in the play Sunday in New York, and also performed in a nightclub act in Milwaukee.  He appeared in the film FOR THOSE WHO THINK YOUNG, portraying ‘Smitty the Detective’.

In 1964, Roger met Allan Carr with whom he struck up a friendship and Allan became his manager. They later formed the company Rogallan together, and among other things, produced the film C.C. & COMPANY, of which Roger also wrote the script for it.

In 1965, Roger returned to television in the NBC series MR ROBERTS. It was during this period he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a muscle disorder, which forced him to retire from professional acting.

Roger gave Ann-Margret a five-carat diamond engagement ring in 1966 on a horse-drawn carriage in Central Park, and they married on May 8, 1967 at the Riviera in Las Vegas.

Since retiring from acting, Roger has managed Ann-Margret’s career, producing her stage shows and many of her television movies and films. Celebrating over 40 years together they are one of Hollywood's most revered couples ...

Roger Smith

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