A famous American male pop trio formed in the late 1950s whose musical trademark is close-harmony pop songs with light arrangements known as “The Lettermen” enjoys sustained popularity that spanned five decades that ran up to the turn of the new century. Few people realize that American actress and singer Connie Stevens formed and sang with this group in the 1950s, which was then called “The Foremost.”
Born Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia on August 8, 1938 in Brooklyn, New York, Connie Stevens is best known for her role in the popular TV series, “Hawaiian Eye.” Her musicial talent obviously rubbed off from her parents, singer Eleanor McGinley and musician Peter Ingoglia, who is better known as Teddy Stevens, from whom she adopted her stage name of Stevens. While trying to break into the movies as an extra, Connie formed another vocal group called “The Three Debs.” She managed to co-star in so-so teen films, but it was the famous comedian Jerry Lewis who brought her into the limelight by casting her in his comedy flick, “Rock-a-Bye Baby” in 1958. Her big break came a year later when she was signed up by Warner Bros. for the popular detective series “Hawaiian Eye” as the trendy “Cricket Blake,” which made her an overnight teen-age idol.
While the acting talent of Connie Stevens was light and limited, she made a couple of record hits and subsisted largely on night club and hotel singing engagements eventually building a Las Vegas headlining act. While Connie was an attractive teen idol in her youth, it was not until the early 1980s when she was in her 40s that she was recognized as a sex symbol by a public that was comprised mostly by teen-age boys. This interesting fact may be attributed to her appearance in “Grease 2” and an episode in the 1981 TV movie “Side Show” where she portrayed onscreen an older woman seducing a teen-ager.
The acting career of Connie Stevens went in the doldrums in the 80s as her movie and TV appearances became sparse and far in between. Being a single mom with two daughters to support, she was shortly in financial straits. But as Fate would have it, the persevering actress went into the lucrative infomercial game with her own beauty line that turned out to be a tremendous hit. By the 1990s, she was cosmetics tycoon in her own right.
Despite her busy schedule, Connie Stevens found time to engage in charitable works, which was her way of sharing her good fortune. She founded the the Windfeather project that provides scholarships to Native Americans and is a consistent supporter of CancerGroup.com. For her charitable endeavors, she became a recipient in 1991 of the Humanitarian of the Year Award by the Sons of Italy in Washington D.C. and the Lady of Humanities Award from the Shriners Hospital.
Connie Stevens is a Republican who graced the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in 2000 and has contributed funds to the Republican Party and Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign.