When it comes to bikes, Ann Margret is the real deal, not just some celebrity on a bike for a photo shoot or a scene in a movie.
She rode a 500cc Triumph T100C Tiger in The Swinger (1966) and the same model as part of her stage show. A lifelong motorcyclist, she was featured in Triumph Motorcycles’ official advertisements in the ’60s, and you can bet her participation moved a lot of bikes off showroom floors.
But along the way, she took the requisite number of dents and dings as a rider, once suffering three broken ribs and a fractured shoulder when she took a tumble on her way to her duties as the Grand Marshal at an NHRA event in Minnesota in 2000.
This transcript is from an interview she did with Larry King shortly after the accident, and she leaves no doubt about where she stands on the joys of riding:
ANN MARGRET: OK, this was before — this was the Saturday before. And it was a gorgeous day: 85 degrees — out in the country. And, well, there were eight of us. And the paramedic’s wife, he was riding with us, too. They had gotten us — Roger and I — Harleys.
KING: Your husband, Roger.
ANN MARGRET: Yes.
ANN MARGRET: Well, they all knew those country roads. And there was — actually, there were no signs on this side. And I just went around. And it happened to be a 90-degree turn. And I hit some sugar sand and it just went off. And I bumped and bumped and bumped. And I thought: Well, this is a beautiful lawn. And then I hit something. And it was a boulder — a decorative boulder. But you know, it was a rock.
KING: Were you in pain?
ANN MARGRET: I went: “Ooh.” And they took me away to the hospital.
KING: So you were taken to a hospital, and yet still went on and was the grand marshal.
ANN MARGRET: The next day, yes. And I waved to 140,000 people. And nobody knew.
KING: And do you still ride motorcycles?
ANN MARGRET: I have a beautiful, brand-new one waiting for me.
ANN MARGRET: Hand-painted, lavender, with gorgeous, gorgeous daises.
KING: But why do you ride motorcycles?
ANN MARGRET: Why do you do this show?
KING: Well, it ain’t going to send me off the cliff.
ANN MARGRET: No, but don’t you love it?
KING: Yes, I love it. But why do you love motorcycles?
ANN MARGRET: My uncle Carl in Sweden got me started.
KING: Oh, so you go way back with motorcycles.
ANN MARGRET: Yes. Yes. And then, of course, I saw “The Wild One.” And I have always loved speed. You know the feeling that you have in a convertible, with the elements and everything, the little bit of danger, the speed…
KING: And so accidents are something you accept from it, right?
ANN MARGRET: There are two types of motorcycle riders: ones who have had an accident and ones who will.