Born: August 8, 1938
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Connie Stevens (born Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia; August 8, 1938) is an American actress, director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor, and singer. She played the role of "Cricket" Blake in the television series Hawaiian Eye.
Stevens was born Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of musician Peter Ingoglia (known as Teddy Stevens) and singer Eleanor McGinley. She is of Italian, Irish, German-Jewish and Polish-Jewish descent. She adopted her father's stage name of Stevens as her own. Her parents divorced and she lived with her grandparents and attended Catholic boarding schools. Actor John Megna (1952-1995) was her half-brother.
At the age of 12, she witnessed a murder in Brooklyn and was sent to live with family friends in Boonville, Missouri.
Coming from a musical family, Stevens joined the singing group called The Fourmost with Tony Butala, who went on to fame as founder of The Lettermen. Stevens moved to Los Angeles with her father in 1953. When she was 16, she replaced the alto in a singing group, The Three Debs. She enrolled at a professional school (The Georgia Massey Professional School in the San Fernando Valley), sang professionally, and appeared in local repertory theater.
Stevens started working as a movie extra and stand-in.
Her first notable film role was in Young and Dangerous (1957) with Mark Damon. She could also be seen in Eighteen and Anxious (1957), an episode of The Bob Cummings Show ("Bob Goes Hillbilly") and a teen car chase movie, The Reckless Age (1958) aka Dragstrip Riot.
Jerry Lewis saw her in the latter and cast her in Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958) as the young girl who loves Lewis.
Stevens made another film with Damon, The Party Crashers (1958), best remembered today for being the last movie of Bobby Driscoll and Frances Farmer. Soon after that, she signed a contract with Warner Brothers.
Like many Warners contract players, Stevens was kept busy guest-starring on their regular TV shows like Maverick, Tenderfoot and Cheyenne.
Stardom came when she was cast as Cricket Blake in the popular television detective series Hawaiian Eye from 1959 to 1963, 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 subsequently dated.
Stevens' 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, Edd Byrnes, that reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. She and Byrnes also appeared together on ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom.
She had hit singles as a solo artist with "Sixteen Reasons" (1960), her biggest hit, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, (#9 in the UK) and a minor #71 hit "Too Young to Go Steady" (1960) (music by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Harold Adamson). Other single releases were "Apollo", "Why'd You Wanna Make Me Cry?", "Something Beautiful," "Mr. Songwriter," "Now That You've Gone," and "Keep Growing Strong" (which was remade by the Stylistics under the title "Betcha by Golly, Wow").
Stevens' popularity on the small screen and as a recording star encouraged Warners to try her in films. She starred in three films for the studio, all opposite Troy Donahue: Parrish (1961), as a rural girl; Susan Slade (1962), playing the title role, an unwed mother; and Palm Springs Weekend (1963), a teen romantic comedy.
She guest-starred on Temple Houston andThe Red Skelton Show. She played the lead in a horror film, Two on a Guillotine (1965).
Stevens 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.
She had the juvenile lead in Never Too Late (1965), released by Warners, and was reunited with Lewis in Way... Way Out (1966).
Stevens starred in the Broadway production of Neil Simon's The Star-Spangled Girl with Anthony Perkins in 1966. She appeared in stage productions in summer stock, including The Wizard of Oz, Carousel Theatre, California and Any Wednesday, Melodyland, Anaheim, California.
In the 1970s Stevens started singing the Ace Is The Place theme song on Ace Hardware TV commercials in Southern California, and was a guest on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast a few times. Her risque 1976 action movie Scorchy was released on Blu-ray by Shout! Factory on July 25, 2017. In the spring of 1977 Stevens appeared in a first-season episode of The Muppet Show. She also was seen numerous times on the Bob Hope USO specials, including his Christmas Show from the Persian Gulf (1988).
In 1969, Stevens toured with the Bob Hope USO tour to Guam and Southeast Asia.
In 1987, she, Barbara Eden and Lee Greenwood toured with Bob Hope on his USO tour to the Persian Gulf. Among her charitable works, she founded the Windfeather project to award scholarships to Native Americans, 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, D.C.
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.
In 1994, accompanied by her two daughters, she issued her first recording in several years, Tradition: A Family at Christmas, In 1997, Stevens wrote, edited, and directed 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 made nightclub appearances and headlined in major Las Vegas showrooms.
Her feature-length directorial debut, Saving Grace B. Jones, was released in 2009.
Stevens appeared in the 2014 film Just Before I Go, and has a featured role in 2016's Search Engines, co-starring daughter Joely Fisher.
Stevens has been married twice: her first was to actor James Stacy from 1963 until their 1966 divorce, and her second was to singer Eddie Fisher from 1967 until their 1969 divorce. She is the mother of actresses Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher.
Stevens has a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in Palm Springs, California, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6249 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, and a star on the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.
On September 23, 2005, Stevens was elected secretary-treasurer of the Screen Actors' Guild, the union's second-highest elected position. She succeeded James Cromwell, who did not seek re-election.
Stevens has contributed thousands of dollars over the years to the Republican Party, including donations to the Republican Congressional Committee and to both of Arizona Senator John McCain's runs for president (2000 and 2008).
On June 29, 2013, the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution's President General, Merry Ann Wright, presented Stevens with the Founder's Medal for Patriotism, for her 40+ years of work with the USO.
|Year||Songs (A-side, B-side)
||U.S. chart positions||Album|
||—||—||Connie Stevens from "Hawaiian Eye"|
|"Too Young To Go Steady"
|1961||"Make Believe Lover"
|"If You Don't Somebody Else Will"
|1962||"Why'd You Wanna Make Me Cry"
|"Hey Good Lookin'"
||104||—||The Hank Williams Song Book|
|1964||"They're Jealous Of Me"
|1965||"Now That You've Gone"
|1966||"In My Room"
|"All Of My Life"
|"Most Of All"
|"It'll Never Happen Again"
|1968||"Wouldn't It Be Nice (To Have Wings and Fly)"
|"Keep Growing Strong"