Connie Stevens (born August 8, 1938) is an American actress and singer.
She was born Concetta Rosalie Anna Ingoglia in Brooklyn, New York, a daughter of Italian American Peter Ingoglia (known as musician Teddy Stevens) and singer Eleanor McGinley.
The real name of her father is Peter Ingoglia, and Connie adopted his stage name of Stevens as hers. 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, the other three vocalists went on to fame as The Lettermen. In 1953, Stevens moved to Los Angeles with her father. When she was sixteen, she started another singing group, The Three Debs. She enrolled at a professional school, sang professionally and appeared in local repertory theatre.
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. In a televised interview on August 26, 2003, with Larry King on CNN's Larry King Live, Stevens recounted that while on the set of "Hawaiian Eye" she was told she a telephone call from Elvis Presley. She didn't believe it, but in fact it was him, inviting her to a party, saying 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 hits with the songs Blame It On My Youth, Looking For A Boy, and Spring Is Here. 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, a duet with one of the shows stars, Edward Byrnes. She also recorded the hit single Sixteen Reasons (1961). Other releases were Why'd You Wanna Make Me Cry?, Mr. Songwriter, and Now That You've Gone.
Stevens felt she should be given a raise in 1962, and during the dispute with the studio she was placed on suspension. She was also angered over being denied a chance to audition for the lead in the upcoming Warner Bros. musical My Fair Lady. The differences between her and Warner Bros. were patched up long enough, however, for her to star as Wendy Conway in the TV 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!
She also worked in summer stock, and she starred in the Broadway production of Neil Simon's Star Spangled Girl with Anthony Perkins.
Connie Stevens has had two husbands, 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.
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. In the spring of 1977, she had an appearance at 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).
Among her charitable works, she founded the Windfeather project to award scholarships to Native American Indians. 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.
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 one of the wealthiest women in Hollywood, quite the achivement for a woman who was on the verge of bakruptcy in the mid 1980s.
In 1994, she issued her first recording in several years, Tradition: A Family at Christmas, along with her two daughters.
She has also made nightclub appearances and headlined in major Las Vegas showrooms. She was an occasional guest on the game show 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.
The Screen Actors' Guild elected Connie Stevens as secretary-treasurer, the union's second-highest elected position on September 23 2005. She succeeds James Cromwell, who did not seek re-election. Stevens will begin serving a two-year term on September 25. She received 68.20 percent of the nationwide vote, defeating Lee Garlington, who received 31.80 percent.
She resides in her homes in Beverly Hills, Malibu, Palm Springs and New York City.