Actress-singer-documentary filmmaker-business tycoon Connie Stevens was born Concetta Ann Ingolia August 8, 1938, in Brooklyn, N.Y.
While still in her teens, the future superstar had already appeared in TV and motion pictures. It was her third film, the Technicolor “Rock-a-Bye Baby” (‘58), that put her in the spotlight. “That was a very good picture; a family film like they won’t make anymore. Jerry Lewis was the star.”
Because the film was such a box office smash, Paramount gave Connie, and another newcomer, Mark Damon, the leads in a teenage exploitation picture, “The Party Crashers” (‘58) the cast of which includes two former child stars, Bobby Driscoll and
In the late ‘50s, Connie Stevens was about to become a household name. “I was under contract to Warner Bros., and they starred me in the TV series ‘Hawaiian Eye’ as Cricket Blake. I even sang in many of those shows. Warners also put me in some of their most important pictures, like ‘Parrish’ (‘61), ‘Palm Springs Weekend’ (‘63) and the title role of ‘Susan Slade’ (‘62), all with Troy Donahue.” Although associated with detective shows and comedy series (“Wendy and Me” as a Gracie Allen clone opposite Gracie’s husband George Burns), “I really preferred westerns. I wanted to do westerns.” After the Jerry Lewis picture, “I had just turned a quick 17 years old, and went over to Warner Bros. My contract was picked up by Jack Warner. They didn’t know what to do with me
“I went up to (producers) Hugh Benson and Bill Orr and said, ‘Where’s my script?’ They give me the script—it was a Mexican tramp! (Laughs) So, I had my work cut out for me. I had to get this black wig on me, down to here. (Laughs) I was working with the vocal coach to do a few syllables in Spanish. I’d never been on a horse before, so I went down with the wranglers, they got me on the horse, and I was ready for my first day. I go out there and the first scene is I’m being
In recent times, Connie has become a documentary filmmaker. “I directed, wrote, produced, photographed and edited the documentary, ‘A Healing: Women of Vietnam’ (‘97). I interviewed many POWs, including John McCain, Senator from Arizona.” A well-known Republican, “I supported Senator McCain in his 2000 presidential bid, and I appeared at the Republican Convention in Philadelphia!” Today, Connie promotes her popular line of cosmetics. “I founded Connie Stevens’ Forever Spring, and it’s become very successful. My life today is very full; I couldn’t be happier.”
Connie’s Western Filmography
TV: Sugarfoot: Misfire (‘57); Maverick: Two Tickets to Ten Strike (‘59); Sugarfoot: The Wild Bunch (‘59); Cheyenne: Reprieve (‘59); Temple Houston: Town That Trespassed (‘64).