Eydie Gorme, singer and actress, died yesterday in Las Vegas, of an undisclosed illness. Though she had a brilliant solo career, with Grammy nominated hits like “Blame it on the Bossa Nova” she is perhaps best known for being half of the singing duo of “Steve(Lawrence) and Eydie.”
Her long time husband, Steve Lawrence, said of his wife and partner, “Eydie has been my partner on stage and in life for more than 55 years. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and even more the first time I heard her sing. While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time.”
Eydie Gorme, born in New York to Jewish parents on Aug. 16, 1928, began singing while still a student at William Taft High School in the Bronx. On her graduation she jumped right into music as a singer in numerous big bands. But her big break came when she landed a job on the Steve Allen show in 1953. It was there she met her husband singer Steve Lawrence. In 1954 when the show became the “Tonight Show” the duet of Steve and Eydie became permanent members of the cast. In an interview with CNN’s “Larry King Live” Lawrence said of his wife, “I mean, she could sing with me, with Andy Williams, Placido Domingo. She could sing with just about anybody.”
The two sang together on the “Tonight Show” for 5 years before they were married in 1957. Two children later Gorme decided it was too difficult to continue her career and be a mother too. Gorme said, “Either I’m going to quit and just stay home and be a housewife. Or maybe we should, I don’t know, try and get something …We started working together out of necessity.”
According to the “New York Times,” Steve and Eydie “stuck for the most part with the music of classic composers like Berlin, Kern, Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and other giants of Broadway and Hollywood musicals. They eschewed rock ‘n’ roll and made no apologies for it.”
In a 1989 interview Lawrence said, “People come with a general idea of what they’re going to get. They buy a certain cereal, and they know what to expect from that package.”
When their son Michael was 23, he died of heart condition called ventricular fibrillation. In a later interview Gorme said of the death of their son, “It was very hard for all of us, but it’s still very hard.” Lawrence added, “You don’t deal with it, you just go on as best you can. And fortunately, we all held on.”
Eydie Gorme is survived by her husband Steve, her son David and a granddaughter and will be remembered by millions of fans around the world. She was 84.