Goulet, Robert (originally, Applebaum, Stanley)

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Goulet, Robert (originally, Applebaum, Stanley)

Goulet, Robert (originally, Applebaum, Stanley), American singer and actor; b. Lawrence, Mass., Nov. 26, 1933. Goulet’s handsome appearance and resonant baritone typed him as a leading man of stage musicals after he made his Broadway debut in Camelot. Unfortunately, he entered his prime in the antiheroic, rock-dominated era of the 1960s, which meant that he was doomed to a career filled with successful appearances in swanky hotel/casinos and starring roles in road company revivals of Broadway shows from the 1940s and 1950s. Nevertheless, he charted 17 albums between 1962 and 1970, including the gold-selling My Love Forgive Me, also the title of his sole Top 40 hit.

Goulet’s family moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, when he was 14. He won a scholarship to the opera school of the Royal Cons, of Music in Toronto, and made his first professional appearance as a singer at 17 with the Summer Pops in Edmonton. He worked as a local disc jockey, appeared in Canadian productions of Broadway musicals, and had his own musical variety series, Showtime, on Canadian national television. He was cast as Lancelot in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s Camelot (N.Y., Dec. 3, 1960), a musical retelling of the King Arthur legend. The show ran 873 performances, and the cast album, featuring Goulet’s singing of “If Ever I Would Leave You” topped the charts and went gold.

Goulet was signed by Columbia Records, which released his debut album, Always You, in early 1962; it stayed in the charts a year and a quarter. His second album, Two of Us, followed less than six months later and was in the charts more than a year. He also scored his first chart single, “What Kind of Fool Am 11” (music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley) from the musical Stop the World—I Want to Get Off, in October. All this record activity won him the 1962 Grammy for Best New Artist. Also during the year, he voiced one of the characters in the animated film Gay Purr-ee.

Goulet’s third album, Sincerely Yours, entered the charts at the start of 1963, reached the Top Ten, and remained on the charts nearly a year. Before 1962 was over he had two more albums in the charts, The Wonderful World of Love and Robert Goulet in Person, the latter recorded live at the Chicago Opera House. Following his divorce from Louise Nicole, with whom he had had a daughter, he married musical comedy star Carol Lawrence, best known for her portrayal of Maria in West Side Story, they had two sons before divorcing.

Goulet starred in two comedy films in 1964, Honey-moon Hotel and I’d Rather Be Rich, but his movie career never took off, though he later starred in the 1970 film Underground, a World War II drama; had a cameo in Louis Malle’s Atlantic City (1980); and played comic parts in Scrooged (1988) and The Naked Gun 2: The Smell of Fear (1991). It was his recording career that remained paramount in 1964, as he charted three more albums: Manhattan Tower/The Man Who Loves Manhattan, com-posed and conducted by Gordon Jenkins; Without You; and My Love Forgive Me. The last album, released in December, featured “My Love, Forgive Me (Amore, Scusami)” (music by Gino Mescoli, Italian lyrics by Vito Pallavicini, English lyrics by Sydney Lee), which was released as a single that peaked in the Top 40 in January 1965. The album hit the Top Ten and went gold.

Goulet was unable to repeat the success of My Love Forgive Me, though he charted another three albums in 1965: Begin to Love, Summer Sounds (its title song, with music and lyrics by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett, a chart single), and Robert Goulet on Broadway. His albums continued to chart through 1970, though I Remember You (1966) was his last to reach the upper half of the charts.

From January to August 1966, Goulet starred in Blue Light, a dramatic television series about a spy during World War II. He returned to Broadway in John Kander and Fred Ebb’s The Happy Time (N.Y., Jan. 19, 1968). It ran 286 performances, and he won the Tony Award for Actor in a Musical.

From the 1970s on, Goulet, living in Las Vegas andL.A., divided his time between appearances at hotel/casinos, guest-starring roles on television, and tours with national companies of Broadway musicals. In 1982 he married Vera Novak. In the early 1990s he toured in a production of Camelot, this time playing King Arthur. The revival returned him to Broadway in 1993.


Always You (1961); Two of Us (1962); Sincerely Yours… (1963); The Wonderful World of Love (1963); Robert Goulet in Person (1963); Manhattan Tower/The Man Who Loves Manhattan (1964); Without You (1964); My Love Forgive Me (1964); Begin to Love (1965); Summer Sounds (1965); Robert Goulet on Broadway (1965); Traveling On (1966); I Remember You (1966); Robert Goulet on Broadway, Vol. 2 (1967); Woman, Woman (1968); Hollywood Mon AmourGreat Love Songs from the Movies (1968); Both Sides Now (1969); Souvenir DTtalie (1969); Greatest Hits (1969); I Wish You Love (1970); Close to You (1992).

—William Ruhlmann

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