Artists - Connie Francis

Artist Biography

Connie Francis is one of the most notable and frequent performers to have graced the stage on The Ed Sullivan Show. She made 26 total appearances between her debut on May 11th, 1958 where she sang her hit song “I’m Sorry I Made You Cry”  to her last appearance on June 7th, 1970. She was invited by Ed to travel with the show on two separate occasions, once to West Berlin and again to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base to perform for the American troops in 1962. Needless to say, she was a crowd favorite. 

Born Concetta Franconero on December 12th, 1937 in Newark, New Jersey, Connie was encouraged to sing and play accordion at an early age by her father George. These early days prepared her for appearances on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, where she won first place at just 12 years old. She would appear on the show for four more years, adopting her new stage name “Francis” after Godfrey suggested the change as he found her last name quite difficult to pronounce. 

In 1955, after several failed attempts with other labels, Connie finally signed with MGM Records with whom she would record for two years but to no avail. It wasn’t until her father convinced her to record the 1923 single “Who’s Sorry Now?” which not only put the song on the mainstream radar, it catapulted Connie’s career when she was asked to perform it on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. He introduced her as “a new girl singer that is heading straight for the number one spot” and she certainly did. The song was the first in a series of #1’s Connie would become known for, including “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”, “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You”, “Stupid Cupid”, and “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own.” 

Connie was not only popular with American audiences, she had a dedicated following in Europe and Japan. This was a result of her affinity for singing in different languages, most notably Italian, Spanish (both of which she speaks fluently), Hebrew, and German. She recorded many of her hits in other languages and is credited as one of the first pop singers to do so. These special talents contributed to her rise from child starlet status to a mature and serious performer with a global following.

Not only was Connie known for her singing, she was also an established actress. She was especially popular with teenage audiences, appearing in four motion pictures between 1960 and 1965; Where the Boys Are (1960) for which she also sang the title song, Follow the Boys (1963), Looking for Love (1964), and When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965). After her popularity started to dwindle, she took a short hiatus and then returned to the spotlight in 1974 to perform in the Westbury Music Fair in New York. Unfortunately, this performance led to the most horrific moment of Connie’s life. She was a victim of a violent sexual assault when a deranged stranger broke into her hotel room and held her at knifepoint. The event caused quite a stir in the media, and she prevailed in a lawsuit against the hotel for inadequate security. The traumatic event resulted in her taking time away from the spotlight to recover and receive professional help. She became an activist/advocate for victims of similar crimes as well as mental health awareness.

Connie would continue to perform into the 21st century, also releasing two autobiographies one in 1984 and another in 2017 (Who’s Sorry Now? and Among My Souvenirs: The Real Story Vol. 1).  Few artists have achieved this level of worldwide success and recognition in so many areas.

Today, Connie is retired and spending her time in Florida. She still has a devoted fanbase and continues to be a prominent figure in Hollywood history as well as pop culture. Throughout her life, Connie rose above all the obstacles that crossed her path with grace and dignity.  As she famously put it, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Check out our Connie Francis playlist to see full performances from the Ed Sullivan Show!