Connie Stevens a "Super Star"
It is rare that an actress can successfully transcend the entertainment gamut from Motion Picture Star, Television Star, Broadway Star, Recording Artist, to the concert stage and then on to develop a successful cosmetic empire. In a career that has spanned over 40 years, Connie Stevens has gained worldwide popularity and recognition as a multi-talented performer, producer, and as a major force in the business arena, all the while managing to remain a timeless classic beauty. Ever youthful, dynamic, vivacious, versatile and savvy are the words used to describe the actress who has truly earned the title of a “Woman for all Seasons.”
Her international reputation has made its mark in show business history, having performed for 4 U.S. Presidents at the White House and the Kennedy Center, and her dedication overseas for the U.S. Military in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf has confirmed her as one of Veterans Across America’s all-time favorites. Connie continues to headline in Las Vegas and continues to perform in live concerts in Atlantic City, New York, Los Angeles, and every other major concert venue worldwide.
Her musical artistry began when she sang for a short time in a group called “The Three Debs”. At age 16, she sang then with 3 young boys, together they called themselves “The Fourmost”. Upon Jerry Lewis’ discovery for her first major role as an actress in “Rock-a-bye Baby” (a favorite on AMC) the boys went on to become a successful recording group, “The Lettermen”. She then went on to record as the first artist on the newly formed Warner Brothers Recording Label. She recorded two mega-hits in the early sixties, “Kookie Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)” a duet with Ed, “Kookie” Burns, one of the stars of the TV series “77 Sunset Strip”, and the number one record in the country in 1961, “Sixteen Reasons”.
Connie recently recorded a beautiful Christmas Album, “Tradition .. A Family at Christmas”, with her daughters, Joely and Tricia Leigh Fisher, artists in their own right. Joely Fisher, co-star of the popular “Ellen” television series for ABC and the star of the movie “Inspector Gadget” (co-starring Matthew Broderick). Joely also appeared on Broadway in “Grease” and “Caberet” and the hit television show “Till Death” with Brad Garrett. Tricia Leigh Fisher, whom you have seen as Heidi Fleiss for CBS or Monica Lewinsky in “Starr Struck” just recently appeared in a co-starring role on “The Mentalist”.
Every Star has an original claim to fame, and though she has since become familiar to millions, it was her endearing and classic iconic role as “Cricket Blake” in the hit series “Hawaiian Eye” that made Connie Stevens a household name. Becoming one of America’s teen idols of the 60’s, and one of the most popular role models around the world for teenage girls, gracing more than 500 magazine covers. Connie, to this day, is amazed at the international craze that her character and image created making her a recognizable smile around the world. Jimmy Webb, well renowned songwriter, says of her “They don’t call her “The Face” for nothing.
Connie’s career as an actress began with roles in films like “Eighteen and Anxious”, starring Jim Backus; “Young and Dangerous”, “Party Crashers” – the last actress to work with Frances Farmer in her last performance. Then introduced by Jerry Lewis in Frank Tashlin’s Paramount musical film “Rock-a-Bye Baby”. Eventually these roles led to “Cricket Blake” in the TV series “Hawaiian Eye” which ran on ABC for four years and around the world for more than nine years..
In the early 1960’s Connie starred opposite heartthrob Troy Donahue and Robert Conrad in a series of films which included “Parish” and “Palm Springs Weekend” and “Susan Slade”. Connie later starred in “Two on a Guillotine”, “The Grissom Gang” which Robert Altman directed and “Never Too Late” with Paul Ford and Maureen O’Sullivan. She then returned to the 1950’s with a role in “Grease2” starring Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer. Some of Connie’s many other films include “Back to the Beach”, with Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, and “Tapeheads”, starring Tim Robins and John Cusack. Also recently, she was in “James Dean Race with Destiny” and “Mickey Stern” and “Love is All There Is” with Angelina Jolie, Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna.
Connie has always maintained a steady line of various roles and appearances on television, receiving critical acclaim for her controversial role and performance in the ABC-TV Movie of the Week, “The Sex Symbol”. Connie showed a powerful reserve of dramatic talents that gave her thinly disguised portrayal of Marilyn Monroe a life of its own.
Ms. Stevens starred opposite George Burns in the popular TV series, “Wendy and Me”. She also starred in “Starting from Scratch”, “Scruples”, “Bring me the Head of Dobie Gillis”, a favorite on “Murder She Wrote” and the most popular guest on “The Love Boat”. She can be seen on “Titus” and “Baywatch” as Pam Anderson’s wacky but delightful mother.
On Broadway, the gifted star was, of course, Neil Simon’s “Star Spangled Girl”, co-starring Anthony Perkins and Dick Benjamin running nine months. . She has also been one of America’s premiere live performers, headlining in Las Vegas for over 15 years and the larger theater venues all over the United States and Europe and Asia.
Most recently, Connie Stevens, the savvy entrepreneur, has proven herself in the business arena as well, creating Forever Spring, now in its 22 year, a cosmetic empire that has spawned over 300 popular products that include skin care, make-up, and hair care items, fragrances, among many others. Stevens’ hands-on approach to the business allows her to give her signature touch to every product. As a natural offshoot of this phenomenal success, Stevens then designed and opened The Garden Sanctuary, an exclusive day spa and boutique in Los Angeles, founded on the principles that catapulted her cosmetics empire into the major leagues.
Ms. Stevens has experienced phenomenal success in the business arena, having created one of the most talked about and popular skin care product lines in the industry, Forever Spring, The Beauty System. Connie Stevens’ Forever Spring has amassed a clientele of over 3 million women across the country. People Magazine has called her a dynamo, a Joan of Arc … a hot star in a cool medium. Time Magazine rated her Ginseng Facial Feed product the number one selling product of all time on the air.
As a result of its success, the Forever Spring line has become one of America’s most successful beauty lines and is continuously growing. Connie’s philosophy of redefining beauty and changing the “over 40” syndrome has drawn attention from product manufacturers and critics alike. Little did she realize a few years ago that her products and company would be playing ball with “the big boys” such as Revlon, Lancôme and Clinique. Earnings from the Home Shopping Network alone grossed over 1 billion dollars. Considered one of the 500 top female executives in the United States, Stevens has owned and operated her company for 22 years.
Connie, however, feels her crowning achievement, and the pride and joy of her life, are her daughters Joely and Tricia Leigh Fisher, from her marriage to Eddie Fisher. Connie single handedly raised both daughters while maintaining her filming and touring schedules. She boasts of eight grandchildren.
Connie has devoted much of her time and influence to help those less fortunate and her work with Native American Indians is widely recognized. Connie’s project Windfeather of 20 years has enabled the awarding of 93 college scholarships for Native American Youths, the delivery of surplus goods to Indian reservations nationwide and summer camps for Native American children who have never left the reservation.
Connie had also been twice elected unopposed as the National Secretary-Treasurer of the Screen Actors Guild, an association with over 120,000 members.
Stevens, the film maker, completed producing and directing A Healing, a documentary dedicated to the women, and the young warriors they attended to, who served in the U.S./Vietnam conflict. A Healing follows a three-week reunion journey through Vietnam of 100 women in 1995, who served in this conflict some 26 years ago. Stevens’ journeyed with them to find closure to this bizarre interlude in their lives. . This award winning documentary is their story played out with compelling sensitivity, trust, compassion and drama. Introduced by Jack Valenti, President of the Motion Picture Association of America, A Healing which she personally directed and edited, the proceeds of which all go to several veteran charities.
Connie Stevens has now recently concluded her first feature film directorial debut on the motion picture “Saving Grace B. Jones”. Currently soon to be released starring Michael Biehn…Tatum O’Neal…Penelope Ann Miller and a truly outstanding cast of actors. The film is a true American tragedy of biblical proportions set in the heartland of America 1951. She begins filming her second film in the spring titled “Prairie Bones” an American Western set in 1870.
In addition, she has made landmark strides with ‘Dignity’ in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, helping the mentally and physically challenged to become working members of the community. Hosting her annual Celebrity Ski Extravaganza, Connie has enabled the development of programs and a facility to house and educate these people, newly dedicated as the Connie Stevens Center for Independent Living. An added bonus was news that as a result of an annual pilot program of “Don’t Drink and Drive”, celebrity PSA’s that Connie created, Wyoming, for the first time in history, boasted a record of ZERO teenage deaths on the highway.
For her tireless work and support of others, Connie has been honored many times over and has received the coveted 1991 ‘Lady of Humanities’ award from the Shriners Hospital, ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ by the Sons of Italy in Washington DC. She also was honored from “The Vietnam Veterans Association of America”, as well as receiving her personal favorite treasure, ‘The Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service’ from the United States Armed Forces, which is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian. In addition in 2008, Connie received the prestigious UCLA Center on Aging “ICON Award”, presented in recognition of individuals who have continued to make outstanding contributions to society throughout their life and a new Medal from The Forces of The Foreign Wars among the very many too numerous to mention. Recently however, she was awarded a special medal for her 40 years of service to service men and women by The Medal Of Honor Society, our foremost and elite heroes.
She says of Veterans, “They are my favorite Americans”, having toured with Bob Hope many times around the world, at every major base, numerous hospitals and military venues as well as in concert. She gives of her time whenever needed – from Korea to Vietnam to the Persian Gulf to the nearest V.A. Hospital. She is a frequent visitor to many V.A. Hospitals – she is a Board Member of the former Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton Leadership Program at the North Carolina University.
With a whirlwind schedule still of touring, film and television commitments, appearances, producing and writing, it is no wonder Connie Stevens can be considered “A Woman For All Seasons”. She has been rewarded with a Star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, Palm Springs and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. It’s this kind of energy, determination, talent and generosity that results in true success, and that’s what truly defines the word “Super Star”.