Thursday, July 18, 2024

End of an Era: RIP Great Pop Singer Steve Lawrence, Famed with Wife Eydie as Pop Sensations of the 60s


If you were a young couple just starting out in the early 60s –like my parents, or the fictional Maisels — Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were your rock stars. They represented the thrill of the Kennedys in the White House and everything fresh and optimistic in the post-war boom.

Now Steve Lawrence has passed away at age 88. His wife, Eydie, died several years ago. But with Steve gone, it’s the end of an era. And they would know what that was like. Back when Frank Sinatra was failing, he depended on doing shows with the married duo, and they kept him going.

Steve and Eydie started on Broadway in1 1957 — he got a Tony nomination for “What Makes Sammy Run?” They were catapulted onto TV with Steve Allen on the Tonight show at a time when there were three channels and one show after the news. Imagine the intense spotlight of that moment.

In years to come, the couple starred in Las Vegas and on tour. They were loosely connected to Sinatra’s Rat Pack. They appeared on prime time TV constantly, particularly Ed Sullivan. They became so ubiquitous as a singing couple that a decade later fans snarked that Paul and Linda McCartney were the Steve and Eydie of their day. A lot of the couple’s appeal had to do with being G rated and comforting as Elvis and rock and roll was taking over. They extended that theme through the 60s, with Steve especially appearing on dozens of family fare shows like Here’s Lucy, The Carol Burnett Show, and The Nanny.

Steve had hits, too, like “Go Away Little Girl,” which was as big in its day as a Justin Bieber song. (Eydie had hers, too like “Blame it on the Bossa Nova.”)

Condolences to their family, friends, and fans.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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