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Steve Lawrence Dies: Grammy- And Emmy-Winning Singer, Partner Of Eydie Gormé Was 88

Steve Lawrence, the singer who teamed with his wife Eydie Gormé to form one of the most popular nightclub and concert duos of their generation, died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease today. He was 88.

His son, the composer and performer David Lawrence, said in a press statement, “My Dad was an inspiration to so many people. But, to me, he was just this charming, handsome, hysterically funny guy who sang a lot. Sometimes alone and sometimes with his insanely talented wife. I am so lucky to have had him as a father and so proud to be his son. My hope is that his contributions to the entertainment industry will be remembered for many years to come.”

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Popularly know as Steve and Eydie, the couple achieved nationwide recognition in the mid-1950s after appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Steve Allen. They continued performing together until Gormé’s retirement in 2009 (she died in 2013).

Born Sidney Liebowitz in Brooklyn, New York, on July 8, 1935, Lawrence, the son of a cantor, was just 16 when he took top honors in the famed Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts competition. Lawrence met Gorme when both were appearing as regulars on Allen’s Tonight show; they married in 1957 in Las Vegas, where they would be a concert staple for decades.

The duo continued their success through the 1960s, appearing onstage and on such television shows as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Hollywood Palace, The Carol Burnett Show, The Danny Kaye Show, The Judy Garland Show, The Julie Andrews Hour and many others.

Eydie Gorme, Steve Lawrence (1965)
Eydie Gorme, Steve Lawrence (1965)

Nominated for a Tony Award for his starring performance in the hit 1964 Broadway production What Makes Sammy Run?, Lawrence would team with his wife several years later in the Broadway show Golden Rainbow. Although the latter show flopped, it introduced the standard “I’ve Gotta Be Me.”

With Gormé, Lawrence produced and starred in the television specials Steve and Edie On Stage (1973), and Emmy-winners Our Love Is Here To Stay (1975) and Steve & Edie Celebrate Irving Berlin (1978). They won a Grammy Award for their 1960 album We Got Us.

The couple staged a series of sold-out Carnegie Hall concerts in the 1980s.

Lawrence also scored a string of radio hits, most notably the #1 1962 single “Go Away Little Girl.”

As an actor, Lawrence appeared in many TV series of the 1970s (Medical Center, Here’s Lucy, Sanford & Son, Police Story), the 1980s (Murder She Wrote), ’90s (Frasier, The Nanny) and 2000s (Two and a Half Men, Hot in Cleveland).

On the big screen, Lawrence played agent Maury Sline in The Blues Brothers (1980) and the 1998 sequel Blues Brothers 2000. Other film appearances include The Lonely Guy (1984) and the crime thriller The Yards (2000).

Survivors include his son, daughter-in-law Faye, granddaughter Mabel, brother Bernie and other extended family members. In addition to his wife, Lawrence was predeceased by son Michael.

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