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‘Viva Las Vegas’ Cast: Catch Up With the Stars 60 Years Later!

Considered one of Elvis Presley's best films, we look at the stars who made it great


In the vibrant landscape of 1960s cinema, Viva Las Vegas stands out. Released in 1964, this musical romantic comedy captivated audiences with its electric performances, infectious energy and iconic locale.

Set against the backdrop of the bustling Las Vegas Strip, Viva Las Vegas follows the whirlwind romance between Lucky Jackson, a talented race car driver played by Elvis Presley, and Rusty Martin, a swimming instructor portrayed by Ann-Margret.

As Lucky competes in the Las Vegas Grand Prix to win the money he needs to purchase a new engine for his race car, he finds himself drawn to Rusty’s charms. However, their budding relationship faces obstacles as they navigate the competitive world of professional racing and the allure of Sin City. Directed by George Sidney and produced by Jack Cummings, Viva Las Vegas starred Presley and Ann-Margret at the height of their popularity.

Here, we look at the cast of Viva Las Vegas.

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Elvis Presley as Lucky Jackson

Elvis Presley as Lucky Jackson in the Viva Las Vegas Cast
1964/; National Archives / Handout/ Getty

Born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Presley starred as Lucky Jackson, a charismatic race car driver determined to win the Las Vegas Grand Prix and pursue his dreams of success. This movie is considered one of Elvis’ best films by both critics and fans. The on-screen chemistry between him and Ann-Margret is palatable.

Prior to Viva Las Vegas, Presley was already a cultural icon, known for his electrifying performances in films such as Love Me Tender (1956) Jailhouse Rock (1957) Blue Hawaii (1961) and Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962).

He starred in over a dozen films after Viva Las Vegas, and, in fact, was known for doing three a year through 1969. These movies include Paradise Hawaii Style (1966), Clambake (1967), Live a Little, Love a Little (1968) and Change of Habit (1969).

During his career, he made over 30 movies, most of them musicals, and while he wasn’t embraced by film critics, he was a big hit with fans who continued to go to the box office to make his movies a success.

In his personal life, Elvis married Priscilla Ann Wagner (who became Priscilla Presley), whom he met when she was 14. After an eight-year courtship, they married and had one child: Lisa Marie Presley.

Elvis Presley died at age 42 on August 16, 1977 at his mansion in Graceland, near Memphis.

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Ann-Margret as Rusty Martin

Ann-Margret as Rusty Martin
1964/; Frazer Harrison / Staff/ Getty

Born on April 28, 1941 in Sweden, Ann-Margret (born Ann-Margret Olsson) played the role of Rusty Martin, a spirited swimming instructor who catches Lucky Jackson’s eye with her beauty, talent, and vivacious personality.

Ann-Margret was a singer and actress, nominated for and winning several Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Awards. Her career spanned seven decades.

Film credits before Viva Las Vegas include Pocketful of Miracles (1961), State Fair (1962) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963).

She continued to have a strong acting career after Viva Las Vegas. In the 1960s she appeared in The Tiger and the Pussycat (1967) and Criminal Affair (1968). The ‘70s saw her in The Train Robbers (1973) and The Twist (1976), while in the ‘80s she was cast in the role of Blanche Dubois in the TV movie adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire (1984) and 52 Pick-Up (1986).

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Projects from the ‘90s include Grumpy Old Men (1993) and Any Given Sunday (1999), while in 2000 she starred as Cinderella in the TV mini-series The 10th Kingdom. She also played the Queen in 2009’s All’s Faire in Love and won an Emmy award for her guest role in a 2010 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Most recently, she played the role of Grandma Margret in A Holiday Spectacular (2022).

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Cesare Danova as Count Elmo Mancini

Cesare Danova as Count Elmo Mancini in the Viva Las Vegas Cast
1964/1978IMDB; Michael Ochs Archives / Handout/ Getty

Born on March 1, 1926 in Italy, Cesare Danova played the role of Count Elmo Mancini, a suave and wealthy European racing driver who competes against Lucky Jackson in the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Danova was an Italian movie star and was in several films prior to Viva Los Vegas, including The Captain’s Daughter (1947) and 1963’s Cleopatra and Gidget Goes to Rome.

After Viva, he went on to have a successful career in acting, working as a regular cast member in Garrison’s Gorillas (1967-68). In the 1970s he appeared in several episodes of The Doris Day Show (1970-72) before having guest appearances in Lassie, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Mannix, Police Story and Charlie’s Angels. He also appeared in the films Mean Streets (1973) and National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978).

The 1980s saw him making guest appearances on Fantasy Island, Matt Houston, Falcon Crest, and Ryan’s Hope. His last appearance was in 1992’s In the Heat of the Night.

He died in 1992 at the age of 66. His cause of death was a heart attack.

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William Demarest as Mr. Martin: Viva Las Vegas

William Demarest as Mr. Martin
1964/1983IMDB; Silver Screen Collection / Contributor/ Getty

Born on February 27, 1892, in St. Paul, Minnesota, William Demarest played the role of Mr. Martin, Rusty’s strict but loving father who worries about her involvement with Lucky Jackson and the world of racing.

Prior to Viva Las Vegas, Demarest was a seasoned actor, known for his distinctive voice and comedic timing. He had appeared in numerous films, among them Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Great McGinty (1940), Sullivan’s Travels (1941) and The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1943).

After Viva Las Vegas Demarest continued to enjoy success in entertainment. He starred as Uncle Charley in My Three Sons and also appeared in the films That Darn Cat!, The Wild McCullochs and the TV movie The Millionaire.

He passed away in 1983 at the age of 91.

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Nicky Blair as Shorty Fanucci

Nicky Blair as Shorty Fanucci in the Viva Las Vegas Cast

Born on September 28, 1926, in New York City, Nicky Blair played the role of Shorty Fanucci, a loyal member of Lucky Jackson’s racing team, providing comic relief and support to the main characters.

Prior to Viva Las Vegas, Blair was a regular on the TV series Saints and Sinners (1962-63). Following the film, he was seen in Rocky V (1990), The Godfather Part III (1990) and A Bronx Tale (1993). While Blair had small parts in dozens of movies, he was perhaps best known for the two Hollywood restaurants that carried his name in the ’70s and ’80s. He tried his hand at opening another Nicky Blair’s restaurant in 1996, this time in Las Vegas, but unfortunately it closed the following year.

He died in 1998 of cancer.

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Jack Carter as a Casino Performer: Viva Las Vegas

Jack Carter as a Casino Performer
2012Jason LaVeris / Contributor/ Getty

Born on June 24, 1922, in Brooklyn New York, Jack Carter played a casino performer in Viva Las Vegas.

Carter was a comedian, actor, and television presenter. Prior to Viva, he had guest appearances in several TV shows, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Danny Thomas Show and Dr. Kildare. After Viva, he continued to act in both movies and TV, appearing in The Name of the Game, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Love American Style, several times on Fantasy Island, Gimme a Break, Murder She Wrote, Santa Barbara and Single Living. He also did voice work on the Ren and Stimpy Show and King of the Hill. Most recently, he was in the TV series Shameless and in the movie Mercy.

Carter passed away in 2015. He was 93.

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