Steve Lawrence, Stage Icon and Duo Half, Dies at 88

Celebrating the Legacy of a Musical and Television Icon

by Zain ul Abedin
Steve Lawrence, Stage Icon and Duo Half, Dies at 88
© Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Steve Lawrence, an iconic figure in the music industry known for both his solo hits and his legendary partnership with Eydie Gormé, has passed away at the age of 88. The duo, celebrated for their harmonious collaboration, also enjoyed individual success, particularly in the early 1960s with hits that became the soundtrack of a generation.

Dionne Warwick, a cherished friend of Lawrence for many years, offered her condolences, reflecting on Lawrence's peaceful passing into the embrace of the "Heavenly Father." Similarly, Carol Burnett, who frequently welcomed Lawrence on her variety show, shared her grief, highlighting their close friendship and the indelible mark he has left on her heart.

In 1962, Lawrence captivated audiences with "Go Away Little Girl," a heartrending ballad crafted by the renowned songwriting duo Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Gormé echoed this success with her 1963 hit "Blame It on the Bossa Nova," capturing the spirit of the dance craze of the era, penned by another celebrated pair, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

By the 1970s, Lawrence and Gormé had become prime attractions in Las Vegas, enchanting audiences with their performances in casinos and nightclubs nationwide. Their television presence was also significant, with regular appearances on shows and specials, cementing their status as beloved entertainers.

As the entertainment landscape evolved in the 1980s, with Las Vegas scaling back on headline acts and nightclubs dwindling, the duo adapted by performing in auditoriums, where they continued to draw large crowds. Lawrence once likened their enduring appeal to a trusted brand that audiences consistently chose for its reliability.

Lawrence's Rise to Fame

Launching his professional career at 15, Lawrence's journey was marked by persistence and talent. His initial break came on "Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts," leading to a recording contract with King Records.

His debut record, "Poinciana," was a commercial success, allowing him the unique opportunity to juggle school and a burgeoning music career. Lawrence's television career took off with regular appearances on Steve Allen's show, transitioning with it to become part of the "Tonight" show, where he further developed his comedic talents alongside his musical performances.

It was during this period that he met Gormé, leading to their celebrated partnership and marriage in 1957. Beyond their joint ventures, Lawrence also explored solo endeavors, including acting in television series and movies, and starring on Broadway, earning critical acclaim and a Tony Award nomination for his role in "What Makes Sammy Run?" Lawrence's legacy is not just as an entertainer but also as a family man, deeply mourned by his son David, who remembers him not only for his public persona but for the loving and humorous father he was at home.

The music world has lost a luminous star in Steve Lawrence, whose contributions alongside Eydie Gormé have left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. His talent, charisma, and warmth will be fondly remembered and sorely missed by fans, friends, and family alike.