When Eydie Gorme auditioned for the original Tonight show in 1953 she could not have known how life-changing it would be, both professionally and personally. What started out as a two-week run eventually lasted more than five years, transforming her from Big Band girl singer to one of America’s greatest pop vocalists. It was also on the Tonight show that Gorme would meet the love of her life, co-star and future husband Steve Lawrence. The two were often paired in sketches and duets, laying the foundation for one of the most successful married- couple acts in entertainment.
Steve and Eydie married in Las Vegas in 1957 and embarked on a career as a vocal duo that would span more than five decades. Their sophisticated interpretations of the Great American Songbook garnered rave reviews as they performed in nightclubs, concert halls, television and Broadway. As rock music gained a foothold in popular culture, Steve and Eydie remained true to themselves and their audience by continuing to salute great American songwriters, performing and recording some of the best music ever written. Their series of critically acclaimed television specials paid tribute to Irving Berlin, George & Ira Gershwin, and Cole Porter and won a total of nine Emmy Awards.
A memorable part of their performances was good humored, “old-married-folk” banter. Their comedic timing and delivery were excellent, perfected through regular appearances on The Carol Burnett Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The humor did nothing to diminish the couple’s reputation as serious musicians, and their 1995 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame honored their lifetime contribution to music. Another career highlight was their 1991 Diamond Jubilee Tour with close friend Frank Sinatra, which played to sold out audiences around the world culminating at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
A native New Yorker, Eydie was born in the Bronx and as a young woman she pursued both academics and music. She grew up in a multi-lingual household and spoke several languages, which led to a job as an interpreter at the United Nations. But all the while Eydie dreamed of becoming a singer.
Throughout the 1960s Eydie also had a successful solo career marked by the Top Ten single “Blame it on the Bossa Nova”, as well as a Grammy award in 1964 for her defnitive version of “If He Walked Into My Life”. Her fluency in Spanish made for a smooth transition onto the Latin charts, and she enjoyed tremendous popularity in the Spanish-speaking community and Latin America after the release of her hit album Amor. Eydie’s big, rich voice was most often characterized by her incredible range, both tonal and emotional, and she was able to bring an emotional complexity to even the most familiar pop songs.
Eydie’s love and appreciation of diamonds is evidenced in her beautiful collection of jewelry – gifts from her husband to mark special occasions including their 25th wedding anniversary, when they hosted a spectacular, star-studded party at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Eydie dreamed of owning a diamond in every shape, and when she received her 15.44 carat pear-shaped diamond ring the couple fondly nicknamed it “The Enterprise”. The other diamonds in the collection include an emerald-cut Harry Winston stone of 17.40 carats, a marquise- shaped D color, Internally Flawless diamond ring received on the occasion of her tenth wedding anniversary, and a 5 carat round diamond in a polished gold mount. Lawrence once gifted Gorme with a gold jeweler’s loupe lovingly engraved, “To Flawless, love VVS2,” further testament to one of the great, enduring romances in show business history.
Steve Lawrence paid tribute to his wife in this statement: “Eydie has been my partner on stage and in my life for more than 55 years. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and even more the frst time I heard her sing. While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the great pop vocalists of all time.”