One of the last of the great American show songstresses of the big-band lounge era, legendary Eydie Gorme – age 84, passed away on Saturday in a Las Vegas hospital, after a brief illness.
The singer was one half of the successful singing duo, Steve and Eydie, in which she performed with her husband Steve Lawrence. She was also remembered for her great success with the toe-tapping, Grammy-nominated hit, Blame it on the Bossa Nova, which she recorded in 1963 and was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
She was born in Edith Gormezano in the Bronx, New York City, to a Turkish mother and a tailor-by-trade Sicilian father, both Sephardic Jews. Ms Gorme was the youngest of three and raised bilingually, to speak both English and Spanish. After graduating from William Howard Taft High School in 1946, she then went on to work as a Spanish interpreter for the UN. However, whilst in school, Ms Gorme had been singing in a school band and now had the bug. It was not long before she found herself performing with Tommy Tucker’s band in 1950, then moving on to Tex Beneke’s ensemble, before carving out a solo career for herself by 1952.
By 1953, she landed a regular spot on Steve Allen’s Tonight Show, where she met Steve Lawrence, whom she later married in 1957. Ms Gorme and Lawrence continued to create successful duets and solos respectively. Gorme was also famed for her Spanish recorded songs, in particular, a collection of standards called Amor, which she recorded with Trio los Panchos. She also teamed up with her husband briefly, for the Steve Lawrence-Eydie Gorme Show, which consisted of a combination of musical and comedy sketches. Also notable, was her pairing up for a series of comedy segments, duets and medleys, which she made with another favorite American legendary comedienne and songstress, Carol Burnett.
Gorme and Lawrence continued to make a series of recordings and television tributes together, consisting of well-known numbers by big band headliners, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Irving Berlin. She worked steadily with her husband, until her retirement in 1990. They filled seats from coast to coast, experiencing considerable popularity in Las Vegas, where Gorme and Lawrence finally settled until Ms Gorme eventually passed away.
Another amazing star is gone from our midst. Legendary songstress and sketch artist Eydie Gorme, passes at age 84. She is outlived by her son, David and her husband.
By Brucella Newman