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Connie Stevens

Background information
Birth name Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia
Born August 8, 1938 (1938-08-08) (age 71)
Origin Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Genres Traditional pop
Occupations Actress/Singer
Years active 1955–present
Labels Warner Bros.
Associated acts Pete McRae

Connie Stevens (born August 8, 1938) is an American actress and singer.

Contents

Biography

She was born Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Peter Ingoglia (known as musician Teddy Stevens) and singer Eleanor McGinley.

Connie adopted her father's stage name of Stevens as her own. Her parents were divorced and she lived with grandparents. At age eight, she started attending Catholic boarding schools. Actor John Megna was her half-brother.

Coming from a musical family, she formed a singing group called The Foremost, in which the other three vocalists -- all males—went on to fame as The Lettermen. In 1953, Stevens moved to Los Angeles with her father. When she was sixteen, she replaced the alto in a singing group, The Three Debs. She enrolled at a professional school (Georgia Massey's School of Song and Dance in the San Fernando Valley), sang professionally and appeared in local repertory theater.

Stevens then started working as a movie extra. After appearing in four B movies, Jerry Lewis saw her in Dragstrip Riot and cast her in Rock-A-Bye Baby. Soon after that, she signed a contract with Warner Brothers.

She played 'Cricket Blake' in the popular television detective series Hawaiian Eye from 1959 to 1962, a role that made her famous. Her principal costar was Robert Conrad. In a televised interview on August 26, 2003, on CNN's Larry King Live, Stevens recounted that while on the set of Hawaiian Eye she was told she had a telephone call from Elvis Presley. She didn't believe it, but in fact it was Elvis, who invited her to a party and said that he would come to her house and pick her up personally. They dated for a time and she says they remained lifelong friends.

Her first album was titled Concetta (1958). She had minor single hits with the standards "Blame It On My Youth" (music by Oscar Levant and lyrics by Edward Heyman), "Looking For A Boy" (music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin), and "Spring Is Here" (music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart). She appeared opposite James Garner in a comedy episode of the TV Western series Maverick entitled "Two Tickets to Ten Strike," and after making several appearances on the Warner Bros. hit TV series 77 Sunset Strip, she recorded the hit novelty song "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb" (1959), a duet with one of the stars of the program, Edward Byrnes that reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. She also had hit singles as a solo artist with "Sixteen Reasons" (1960), her biggest hit, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and a minor #71 hit "Too Young to Go Steady" (1960) (music by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Harold Adamson). Other single releases were "Why'd You Wanna Make Me Cry?", "Mr. Songwriter", and "Now That You've Gone".

She later starred as Wendy Conway in the television sitcom Wendy and Me (1964- 1965) with George Burns, who also produced the show and played an older man who watched Wendy's exploits upstairs on the TV in his apartment, periodically commenting to the viewers about what he saw. Her other Wendy and Me costars were Ron Harper, James T. Callahan and character actor J. Pat O'Malley.

She also worked in summer stock, and she starred in the Broadway production of Neil Simon's Star Spangled Girl with Anthony Perkins.

In the 1970s, Stevens started singing the Ace Is The Place theme song on Ace Hardware TV commercials in Southern California and she was a guest on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast a few times. In the spring of 1977, she appeared in one of the two pilots for The Muppet Show, and in 1986, she had a regular role on the 1986 TV series Rowdies and appeared numerous times on the Bob Hope USO specials, including his Christmas Show from the Persian Gulf (1988).

While considered an attractive personality from the start, it wasn't until the early 1980s when Connie became recognized as a sex symbol. The unusual aspect of this was that she was in her early 40's and her male fans were almost exclusively teenage boys. This was largely due to her appearance as a sexy high school teacher in Grease 2 and a trailblazing sequence in the 1981 television movie Side Show[1], in which the mature actress seduces a teenager onscreen.

Among her charitable works, she founded the Windfeather project to award scholarships to Native American Indians, and supports CancerGroup.com. In 1991, Stevens received the Lady of Humanities Award from Shriners Hospital and the Humanitarian of the Year Award by the Sons of Italy in Washington, DC.[1]

Stevens developed her own cosmetic skin care product line, Forever Spring, and in the 1990s opened the Connie Stevens Garden Sanctuary Day Spa in Los Angeles. Her cosmetics empire has made Stevens wealthy.

In 1994, she issued her first recording in several years, Tradition: A Family at Christmas, along with her two daughters.

In 1997, Stevens directed, wrote, and edited a documentary entitled A Healing, about Red Cross nurses who served during the Vietnam War. The following year it won the title of Best Film at the Santa Clarita International Film Festival.

She has also made nightclub appearances and headlined in major Las Vegas showrooms. She was an occasional guest panelist on Match Game.

Connie Stevens has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6249 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, and she has a star on the Star Walk in Palm Springs.

On September 23, 2005, Stevens was elected secretary-treasurer of the Screen Actors' Guild. This is the union's second-highest elected position. She succeeded James Cromwell, who did not seek re-election. Stevens will begin serving a two-year term on September 25. She received 68.2 percent of the union vote, having defeated Lee Garlington, who received 31.8 percent.

Stevens is a long-time supporter of U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for President in 2008.

Stevens maintains homes in Beverly Hills, Palm Springs, and New York City. Her feature-length directorial debut of a film she wrote, "Saving Grace" is scheduled for 2009 release.

Personal life

Connie Stevens has been married twice, to actor James Stacy (married 1963-divorced 1967) and singer Eddie Fisher (married 1967-divorced 1969). She is the mother of actresses Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher.[2]

Filmography

In Parrish (1961)

Television work

  • Hawaiian Eye (1959-1963)
  • Maverick (1959)
  • Wendy and Me (1964-1965)
  • The Littlest Angel (1969)
  • Mister Jerico (1970)
  • Call Her Mom (1972)
  • Playmates (1972)
  • Every Man Needs One (1972)
  • The Sex Symbol (1974)
  • The Muppet Show (Episode 102) (1976)
  • Love's Savage Fury (1979)
  • Scruples (1980) (miniseries)
  • Murder Can Hurt You (1980)
  • Side Show (1981)
  • Starting from Scratch (1988-1989)
  • Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis (1988)
  • James Dean: Race with Destiny (1997)
  • Becoming Dick (2000)

References

External links








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