Lawrence, Steve and Gorme, Eydie

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LAWRENCE, STEVE (1935– ) and GORME, EYDIE (1931– ), U.S. singers. Known as the two Jewish kids from the Bronx, New York, Steve and Eydie continued to sing pop and standard-bearer songs from the 1950s into the 21st century. Steve Lawrence was born Sidney Leibowitz, the son of Max Leibowitz, a house painter who also worked as a cantor. Lawrence displayed his talent for singing as a youth in synagogue. He took on the stage name Steve Lawrence (the first names of two nephews) and won first prize on the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts television series in 1951. His first album, Steve Lawrence, was released in 1953, and in July he was hired by Steve Allen to sing on Tonight!, then a local New York talk show. Eydie Gorme was born Edith Gormezano, the youngest of three children of Sephardi immigrant parents – her Sicilian father was a tailor and her Turkish mother was distantly related to singer Neil *Sedaka's family. Gorme grew up speaking Spanish and English at home and began singing early in life, making her first radio appearance at the age of three. After graduating from high school, she worked as a Spanish interpreter during the day and attended City College at night. She started touring as a singer with two different bands in 1951 and then went solo in 1952. Steve and Eydie met on Tonight! in September 1953, when Gorme became a regular. In 1954, Tonight! was broadcast nationally on NBC and that same year the couple released their first single together, Make Yourself Comfortable. They married in Las Vegas in 1957. Lawrence was drafted in 1958 and served two years in the army, where he performed with the U.S. Army Band. In 1960, the couple released their first joint LP together, We Got Us, and the title song won the Grammy Award for best performance by a vocal group. In 1963, Brill Building team Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil helped Gorme break into the Top Ten and earned her a Grammy solo nod with Blame It on the Bossa Nova, and Lawrence had a No. 1 hit with Gerry Goffin and Carole *King's Go Away Little Girl that same year. The couple continued to enjoy pop success for the next year until the British Invasion hit in 1964. Lawrence turned to Broadway with the musical What Makes Sammy Run?, which earned him a Drama Critics Circle Award and a Tony nomination. In 1967, the couple hit Broadway together with Golden Rainbow, featuring Lawrence's easy-listening hit I've Gotta Be Me. They continued recording together and remained nightclub headliners in the 1970s, and shot the television specials Our Love Is Here to Stay, a salute to George *Gershwin, and Steve and Eydie Celebrate Irving Berlin, which won seven Emmy Awards. Lawrence appeared in the films The Blues Brother and The Lonely Guy in the 1980s. Steve and Eydie opened for Frank Sinatra on his 1990–91 Diamond Jubilee tour. They continued to perform in Las Vegas and appeared as themselves in the 2001 remake of the Sinatra film Ocean's Eleven. The couple had two sons, film composer David Nessim Lawrence and Michael, who died in 1986 at 23.

[Adam Wills (2nd ed.)]

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Lawrence, Steve and Gorme, Eydie

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