Who is Connie Stevens?
Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia was born on 8 August 1938, in Brooklyn, New York, USA. She is an actress, singer, producer, screenwriter, and cinematographer, perhaps still best known for her work in the television series “Hawaiian Eye” as the character Cricket Blake. She worked on numerous projects in her career that spans over five decades.
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The Wealth of Connie Stevens
As of early-2020, Connie Stevens’ net worth is estimated to be over $50 million, earned through a successful career in the entertainment industry.
#tbt Connie circa 1989 and the launch of Forever Spring.
Apart from her acting projects, she enjoyed success in the music industry, and also had several successful directing and other behind-the-scenes roles.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Connie is of Jewish, Italian, and Irish descent, and grew up in Brooklyn, having a lot of exposure to the entertainment industry as a child. Her father worked as a musician under the name Peter Stevens, which she later adopted, while her mother Eleanor McGinley was a singer. Her parents eventually divorced, and she resided mainly with her grandparents, but spent a lot of her education in boarding schools.
At 12 years old, she witnessed a murder, and had to live with relatives in Missouri to evade ill-will from the criminals involved.
Like her parents, she developed a love for singing, and eventually grew close to her father whom she joined as he pursued musical projects in Los Angeles. This led her to become a part of the singing group called The Fourmost, and later became a member of The Three Debs. She also became interested in theatre, and took up classes at The Georgia Massey Professional School. As she progressed through her teenage years, she sang in several gigs while also performing in local theatres.
In the late 1950s, Stevens gained her first few roles in films, with the first being the low budget “Young and Dangerous” alongside Mark Damon, and continuing with projects such as “Dragstrip Riot” and “Eighteen and Anxious”. In 1958, she gained her breakthrough, as she was cast in the Paramount film “Rock-A-Bye-Baby”, playing one of the love interests of Jerry Lewis. The film is loosely based on “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” released during the 1940s. With that job, she gained a contract with Paramount that increased her pay significantly.
She then worked on the film “The Party Crashers” which saw her reunite with Mark Damon, however, with no more projects going for her, the film company decided to drop her from her contract, but Warner Bros took notice of her, and signed her to a seven-year contract – during this period, contracts with film studios were the norm in the industry. She made appearances in various television shows by Warner Bros as a means to take advantage of her contract, while she didn’t have any big roles, until…
Hawaiian Eye and Career Progression
…Connie was cast in “Hawaiian Eye” in 1959, and stayed with the show until the end of its run four years later.
It tells the story of a private investigator who partners with a detective/security expert in Honolulu to help with various cases. She would become a household name thanks to the show, and so more opportunities came her way.
During this period, she also ventured into the music industry, releasing the album “Concetta” which had a few hits such as “Spring is Here” and “Blame It On My Youth”. Afterward, she made a guest appearance in the western series “Maverick”, before making several appearances in “77 Sunset Strip” as a recurring guest. She continued her music releases with “Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)” which would become a hit, reaching fourth spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1960, she released the single “Sixteen Reasons” which would become her highest-charting song worldwide, making huge waves in the UK especially. She continued releasing singles but which paled in comparison, and she eventually returned her focus to acting, continuing her contract with Warner Bros.
In the 1960s, Connie starred in “Susan Slade”, “Parrish”, and “Palm Springs Weekend”. She also continued her television guest appearances, but also had a role in the horror film “Two on a Guillotine”, all of which were projects by Warners.
In 1964, she starred in the sitcom “Wendy and Me” partnering with George Burns, then nearing the end of her contract, she signed a new six-year contract with the company, which promised her a new film for each year. Afterward, she participated in a production of ‘Wizard of Oz” before returning to film in “Way… Way Out”.
Nearing the 1970s, she worked on a few Broadway productions before continuously appearing in television movies. Some of her projects during the deade included “Every Man Needs One”, “Mister Jerico”, “Scorchy”, and a guest appearance in “The Muppet Show”.
In the 1980s, she worked on “Scruples” “Aloha Paradise, Side Show”, “Tapeheads” and frequently in United Service Organization (USO) specials, which held shows that catered to the US Armed Forces serving abroad. During this period, she went on record stating that she never became a big hit like other stars, but still made a name for herself as Cricket. In the last two decades of her career, she has only made a few appearances, preferring directing or other background roles such as screenwriting.
One of her earliest public romances was with actor Glenn Ford during the early-1960s.
— connie stevens (@conniestevens8) May 10, 2018
After their breakup, she started a relationship with actor James Stacy leading to their marriage in 1963, but it lasted only three years before they divorced. A year after their divorce, she married singer Eddie Fisher, but that was another short-lived marriage which lasted only two years. She briefly dated singer Elvis Presley, who contacted her directly following her fame as Cricket. Since then, she has not remarried, opting to stay single and keeping quiet about her romances.
For her work in entertaining the Armed Forces, she was given a Founder’s Medal of Patriotism, awarded by the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution. She is a Republican, and has donated a lot of money for various candidates throughout her career, most notably for John McCain.