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Stevens as Jeri Clayton with Bill Hayes in Days of Our Lives, 1974.
|Born||Catherine Louise Stephens
July 21, 1932
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||December 28, 2011
The Villages Hospital, The Villages, Florida, U.S.
Tommy Amato (m. 1955; div. 1961)
Woodrow Maxwell Melvin Jr. (m. 1977; div. 1978)
Kaye Stevens (July 21, 1932 – December 28, 2011) was an American singer and actress, her big break in show business came at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, when the headliner for the night, Debbie Reynolds, became ill and Stevens filled in for the night. She then went on to do small shows in New York City at the Plaza Hotel's Persian Room and the Waldorf Astoria, and Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip.
Born Catherine Louise Stephens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 21, 1932, was an only child. Her family eventually moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where Stevens got her start as a drummer and singer as a teenager.
Stevens started out in film in The Interns (1962), where she played the character Didi Loomis, a nurse, and its 1964 sequel The New Interns. She also appeared in The Man From the Diners' Club (1963), which starred Danny Kaye. Stevens had a role in a television movie, Let's Switch! (1975), and in 1983 appeared in the film Jaws 3-D. She was strongly considered for the title role for the musical Funny Girl in the early 1960s. The producers later cast Barbra Streisand in the role.
In her role on Days of Our Lives, Stevens introduced a new song, “You Light Up My Life” to the television audience. Her new song was a huge success and soon after Kaye decided that she had to write new songs and create an album. “I knew then that if I got the kind of response from one song, I had to do an album of inspirational, motivational, spiritual-pop music”.
Stevens went on to appear on such television game shows as Match Game, Hollywood Squares, Celebrity Sweepstakes, The Price Is Right, and Password. She appeared as a guest star on many series, including CHiPs, Police Woman, and B.L. Stryker. Since 1994, Stevens was a regular on Hour of Power. Stevens final onscreen appearance was in 1992 in a made-for-TV Movie titled Miss America: Behind the Crown.
After Stevens' big break at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, she went from singing to small audiences to singing before sold-out audiences in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles. From there she went on tour with The Rat Pack, Johnny Carson and Bob Hope.
Personal life and death
Stevens married bandleader and trumpet player Tommy Amato. The couple performed throughout the eastern United States. She had no children. Amato predeceased Stevens. Stevens married Woodrow Maxwell Melvin Jr. in 1977 and divorced him in 1978.
Stevens lived in Margate, Florida for more than 45 years (from the late 1950s until 2004). She did public relations for Jack Marquesee, the city's developer. Many Margate residents referred to Stevens as the "First Lady of Margate" because every time she appeared on game shows, she would place a sign next to her nameplate that read "Hello Margate." She promoted Margate as "a great place to live and raise a family." Stevens served as grand marshal in many of the city's parades on July 4, and a city park is named in her honor. When Stevens was home in Margate for the Christmas holiday, she would gather her neighbors and friends and go to the Margate Hospital to sing Christmas carols to the patients.
In her last 20 years, Stevens did Christian ministry and only performed Christian or patriotic music.
She lived in retirement in Summerfield, Florida. Stevens died on December 28, 2011, aged 79, after battling breast cancer and blood clots in The Villages Hospital, The Villages, Florida according to Gerry Schweitzer, a close friend. She left no immediate survivors.
Stevens went on a USO tour with Bob Hope in 1965. She traveled to Vietnam with Hope and a group of fellow entertainers in the hopes of boosting the morale of thousands of American soldiers. She was quoted as saying “I came back in 1965 and my life was in shambles because of what I saw.”
In 1985, she made a call to N-E-W-H-O-P-E, a telephone counseling service. She found a new faith in Jesus and started her own ministry. The Brewer Christian College and Graduate Schools (Florida) awarded Stevens with a Doctor of Humane Letters for her humanitarian efforts as well as her role in supporting the US soldiers in Vietnam with Hope's tour.
Honors, Awards, and nominations
Stevens received a Golden Globe nomination in 1964 for her work in the film The New Interns. It was announced that the city of Margate would erect a statue of her, spending as much as $35,000 to create a life-size bronze statue in Stevens' likeness. City officials named a park in her honor.
- The Interns (1962) as Nurse Didi Loomis
- The Man from the Diners' Club (1963) as Bea
- The New Interns (1964) as Didi
- Jaws 3-D (1983) as Mrs. Kellender
|On TV||Hollywood Squares||Herself||TV Game Show|
|August 19, 1974||Tattletales||Herself||TV Game Show|
|On TV||To Tell the Truth||Herself||TV Game Show|
|On TV||Celebrity Sweepstakes||Herself||TV Game Show|
|On TV||$25,000 Pyramid||Herself||TV Game Show|
|On TV||The Price Is Right||Herself||TV Game Show|
|On TV||Password||Herself||TV Game Show|
|1964||Toast of the Town||Singer||Variety Show, 5 Episodes|
|1962-1964||The Ed Sullivan Show||Singer/Comedian||Variety Show, 6 Episodes|
|1967||The Dean Martin Show||Singer||Variety Show, 2 Episodes|
|1967||Everybody's Talking||Herself||Talk Show, 1 Episode|
|1967||The Hollywood Palace||Singer||Variety Show, 1 Episode|
|1968||Family Affair||Julie Madden||1 Episode|
|1969||Playboy After Dark||Singer||1 Episode|
|1973||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson||Herself||Talk Show, 4 Episodes|
|1974||Match Game||Herself||TV Game Show, 15 Episodes|
|1974-1979 on television||Days of Our Lives||Jeri Clayton|
|1975||Let's Switch!||Flo Moore|
|1979||CHiPs||Woman in Phone booth||3 Episodes|
|1979||240-Robert||Valerie Barnes||1 Episode|
|1983||Jaws 3-D||Mrs. Kellender|
|1989||B.L. Stryker||1 Episode|
|1989||Police Woman||Roz||1 Episode|
|1992||Miss America: Behind the Crown||Monica|
- “Ruckus at the Rivera” – Columbia Records
- “Kay Stevens In Person at the Copa” – Liberty Records
- “Not So Great Songs from Not So Great Movies” –Liberty Records
- “Playgirls” –Liberty Records
- “The Grass Will Sing For You” – Liberty Records
- “The Temptation Shows guest starring Kaye Stevens” –Motown Records
- “You Brought Me Back To Love Again” – Sun Records
- “Someone Must Have Hurt You A Lot” – Capitol Records
- “Friends are Friends Forever” – NLT Records
- “I'm Going Back to Tennessee” – NLT Records
- Lentz, III 2012, pp. 331–332.
- LA Times staff (December 31, 2011). "Kaye Stevens, singer with Rat Pack who became an actress, dies at 79". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles: Tronc, Inc. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- USA Today staff (December 29, 2011). "Singer, actress Kaye Stevens dies in Florida". USA Today. McLean, Virginia: Gannett Company. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- Mulcahy Jr., Kevin (December 29, 2011). "Singer/Actress Kaye Stevens Dead At Age 79; DAYS OF OUR LIVES' Jeri Clayton". We Love Soaps. United States: Blogger. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- Van Hoven, Jason (December 30, 2011). "Singer and Actress Kaye Stevens Dies of Breast Cancer, Blood Clots at 79". International Business Times. Manhattan, New York City: IBT Media. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- Associated Press (December 30, 2011). "U.S. singer, actor Kaye Stevens dies". CBC Television. Canada: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- Jicha, Tom (December 29, 2011). "Singer/actress Kaye Stevens, who put Margate on map, dies". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Tronc, Inc. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- Huriash, Lisa J. (March 17, 2015). "Margate to erect statue of '60s actress Kaye Stevens". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Tronc, Inc. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- Associated Press (December 30, 2011). "Kaye Stevens, Singer-Actress, Dies at 79". Billboard. United States: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- The Kaleo Institute at Brewer Christian College and Graduate School, Brewer Christian College and Graduate School website
- Kaye Stevens on IMDb
- A New York Times review mentioning Kaye Stevens (March 7, 2007)
- Kaye Stevens official website