August 8: Actress & Singer Connie Stevens - "Sixteen Reasons" "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb"- is 73-years-old today.

 Born Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia in Brooklyn, New York, "Connie 's" parents were Peter Ingoglia (known as musician Teddy Stevens) and singer Eleanor McGinley. She took her father's stage name of Stevens as her own. At the age of twelve, she witnessed a murder in Brooklyn and was sent to live in Boonville, Missouri, with family friends.

Coming from a musical family, she joined the singing group called The Foremost, in which the other three vocalists — all males — went on to fame as The Lettermen. In 1953, Stevens moved to Los Angeles with her father. When she was 16, she replaced the alto in a singing group, The Three Debs. She enrolled at Georgia Massey's School of Song and Dance in the San Fernando Valley, sang professionally and appeared in local repertory theater.

Stevens started working as a movie extra. After she'd appeared in four B movies, Jerry Lewis saw her in Dragstrip Riot and cast her in Rock-A-Bye Baby. Soon after, 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. Her principal costar was Robert Conrad. Stevens once said that while on the set of Hawaiian Eye she was told she had a telephone call from Elvis Presley who invited her to a party. They ended up dating.

Her first album, released in 1958, was titled Concetta. She had minor single hits with the standards "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" in 1959, a duet with one of the stars of the program, Edward Byrnes, that reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.


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THE ULTIMATE COLLECTIONSixteen ReasonsRhino Hi-Five: Connie Stevens

She and Byrnes also appeared together on ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom. Stevens also had hit singles as a solo artist with "Sixteen Reasons" in 1960. It was her biggest hit, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. She also had a minor #71 hit "Too Young to Go Steady" that same year. 

Other single releases were "Why'd You Wanna Make Me Cry?," "Mr. Songwriter," and "Now That You've Gone."

She later starred as Wendy Conway in the television sitcom Wendy and Me in 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 starred in the Broadway production of Neil Simon's The Star-Spangled Girl with Anthony Perkins in 1966.

In the early 1980s Stevens became recognized as a sex symbol. This was largely due to her appearance as a sexy high school teacher in Grease 2 and a sequence in the 1981 television movie Side Show, in which the mature actress seduces a teenager onscreen.

Among her charitable works, she founded the Windfeather project to award scholarships to Native Americans, and supports 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. In 1994, she issued her first recording in several years, Tradition: A Family at Christmas, along with her two daughters.

In 1997, Stevens directed, wrote, and edited a documentary entitled A Healing, about Red Cross nurses who served during the Vietnam War. The following year it won the title of Best Film at the Santa Clarita International Film Festival.
She has also made nightclub appearances and headlined in major Las Vegas showrooms. Her feature-length directorial debut, Saving Grace, was released in 2009.

Connie Stevens has been married twice: to actor James Stacy and singer the late Eddie Fisher. She is the mother of actresses Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher.



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