She starred alongside Western film icon John Wayne in the 1973 film “The Train Robbers,” and nearly 50 years after the movie was released, Ann-Margret opened up about what it was like to work with Duke.
While speaking to Fox News in April 2021, Ann-Margret revealed that John Wayne was actually a pretty affectionate person. “When he hugged me, it’s like the world was hugging me. He was so big and wide with that booming voice. We were shooting in Durango, Mexico and my parents came down to visit me. He was so great with my parents. So absolutely welcoming and gentle with them. And anybody who was great to my parents was on a throne in my eyes.”
Ann-Margret further stated that she wanted to just be friends with John Wayne forever. She also described him as never being pretentious. “He has so many friends and every single person loved him.”
According to its IMDb profile, “The Train Robbers” follows a unhand named Lane who is hired by a widow, Mrs. Lowe, to find gold stolen by her husband so that she may return it and start fresh. The film was written and directed by Burt Kennedy. Rod Taylor also starred in the film alongside John Wayne and Ann-Margret.
Ann-Margret Refused to Call John Wayne ‘Duke’ and Here is Why
Years prior to speaking to Fox News about working with John Wayne on “The Train Robbers,” Ann-Margret revealed why she refused to call John Wayne by his “Duke” nickname. During her 2014 interview with Interview Magazine, Ann-Margret stated that when she came to the U.S., she and her mother didn’t know English. “ I would curtsey, then say, ‘Thank you,’ and then when I was leaving, curtsey,” The Sweden-born actress explained. She then recalled going to Dallas for “The Train Robbers.”
“I never called [John Wayne] Duke,” Ann-Margret declared. “I just couldn’t. That’s the way I was raised. When you meet someone, you say either Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. You stand up. I think you were taught the same things.”
Ann-Margret also told Fort Worth Star-Telegram that John Wayne was bigger than life to her. “When I went to work with him, I would sit in the back [of a car] and he would sit in the passenger seat. He was such a huge man, and he’d have a window open, and in the fields, people would be working and of course, everyone knew who he was.”
John Wayne also offered up his private jet for Ann-Margret and Ben Johnson could attend the Oscars. Although she posted “Best Supporting Actress” for her role in “Carnal Knowledge,” she still remembers to this day the generosity of Wayne. “The next day, we were back on the set, and Ben had won and I hadn’t. I don’t know what Mr. Wayne said to Ben, but he got me in a corner, and he just said some wonderful things to me.”