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'Palm Springs Weekend' star calls Palm Desert home

The legendary singer/actress/writer/director calls Palm Desert her "true home," although she has residences in Beverly Hills and Wyoming.

When actress Connie Stevens filmed the starring role in "Palm Springs Weekend," the now classic film that immortalized the desert resort in popular culture, Stevens fell in love with the desert and has never left it far behind.

"I've owned a few places in the Palm Springs and now Palm Desert area over the years. I have a special fondness for Palm Springs, but Palm Desert is my true home now," Stevens said.

Stevens divides her time between Palm Desert and homes in Beverly Hills and a ranch in Wyoming.

"I love the desert so much. It's my way of checking out of all the stress of the big city and I can really breathe easy here (in Palm Desert)," she said.

Stevens is best known for her roles on TV in "Hawaiian Eye" and "Surfside Six" in the 1960s era. Stevens had hit records like "Sixteen Reasons" and "Kookie Kookie Lend Me Your Comb" that made her a household name. And then there was the marriage to singer Eddie Fisher, with whom she had two daughters, Joely and Tricia Leigh Fisher, both of whom are actresses. 

"I'm so proud of my kids," she said. "They always show me and their own children such love and kindness. I guess I did something right as a parent."

Stevens keeps a busy entertaining schedule, with recent sold out shows in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel in July with a return engagement being booked for September this fall.

"I love singing and it is in my blood. My parents were jazz musicians and my brother was a drummer. Both my girls are so musical and even their kids are singing now. It's a family thing," said Stevens.

Stevens' show is comprised of music from the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s and even some country western tunes and Connie has fun singing her own hit songs too.

"I never realized how many people still love those songs until I started performing live again," she said, adding that followed a long layoff to build a cosmetics empire on outlets like Home Shopping Network.

Stevens has starred in some memorable "cult classic films" over the years like 1974's "The Sex Symbol," which had a Marilyn Monroe like theme to it, 1975's "Scorchy" where she played a sexy and tough-edged female private eye, similar to TV's "Honey West" and "Police Woman" with Angie Dickinson.

Her most favored role here in the Palm Desert area is "Palm Springs Weekend" a teenage road trip movie Connie made in 1963 with co-stars Stefanie Powers and Troy Donahue. (The film was filmed on actual Palm Springs locations like The Riviera Resort, where Miss Stevens has a pool side date with 'rich kid' Robert Conrad.)

"The film continues to be a real testament to the seductive powers of Palm Springs and the surrounding areas," Stevens said. "Fans love the film and ask me about it all the time."

Connie Stevens took on a new role recently as film writer and director of the critically acclaimed film "Saving Grace B. Jones," which was released in 2009 and starred Tatum O'Neal, Penelope Ann Miller and Michael Biehn.

"I was really proud of that project," she said. The film was showcased at many film festivals, including the Palm Springs Film Festival in 2009 and 2010.

When spending time in Palm Desert, Stevens likes to mill around El Paseo and dine at , , and for really healthy food, on Highway 111. 

"Of course, I love going into Palm Springs and having a great steak at the Chop House once in a while," Stevens said. This year, Stevens hopes to bring her live music show to one of the Coachella Valley's casino venues. 

But for now, she is enjoying the valley.

"Palm Desert is a true oasis for me," Stevens said. "I'll never leave here."

Tony Ballew August 01, 2011 at 08:14 AM
What a pleasant surprise. I didn't expect an article on one of the most beautiful actresses in the business. I only wish I would have done the interview. If she reads this I hope she doesn't mind me saying... she's still HOT :) PS: I worked with a woman at one of the local TV stations whose parents liked Connie's Hawaiian Eye character so much they named their daughter Cricket.
Linda Rubin August 05, 2011 at 01:41 AM
I know Cricket! I used to work with her at a TV station in LA too. And I recently saw the real Cricket's dress and Kookie's sport coat at the Warner Bros. studios costume museum.
Tony Ballew August 05, 2011 at 01:48 AM
Forget her dress...I want to meet the real Cricket...
B. Urbina August 09, 2011 at 08:52 PM
Ms. Stevens sounds like she's still working alot and enjoying life. What a firecracker... Scorchy indeed!

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