Stevens, Connie: 2009 American Spirit Award

April 6, 2009 – Connie Stevens, secretary-treasurer of Screen Actors Guild, was honored on Sunday, April 5, with the American Spirit Award from the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors at their Annual Caucus Honors Dinner in Beverly Hills.

“I am grateful to the Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors for presenting me with this honor,” Stevens said about the award. “I am humbled to be recognized by my peers for my service to the entertainment community.”

The Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors was established to enable the creative community to assume a more direct responsibility for the content of television programming and to protect its integrity in the creative process. The Caucus created the American Spirit Award to honor individuals in the entertainment industry who have worked for and achieved quality television programs. This year, Connie Stevens, along with Congressman Edward Markey (MA) and Congressman Eric Cantor (VA), were honored for their extraordinary work, support and commitment to the creative community.

Stevens has been SAG secretary-treasurer since 2005 and a SAG member since 1957. Her acting career began with roles in the films Eighteen and Anxious, Young and Dangerous and Party Crashers. In 1958 she got her big break when comedian Jerry Lewis cast her in Frank Tashlin’s Paramount musical film Rock-a-Bye Baby. This led to her memorable role as Cricket Blake in the TV series Hawaiian Eye which made Stevens a household name.

A successful recording artist, Stevens’ musical artistry began when she sang in a group called The Three Debs at age 16. She recorded two mega-hits in the early sixties, Kookie Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb), a duet with Ed, “Kookie” Burns of the TV series 77 Sunset Strip, and Sixteen Reasons, the number one record in the country in 1961.

In recognition of her humanitarian efforts, she has been honored with the 1991 Lady of Humanities Award from the Shriners Hospital and was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Sons of Italy in Washington DC in 2000. She has also been recognized for her service by The Vietnam Veterans Association of America, and has received the Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service from the United States Armed Forces—the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian.