Eydie Gormé, the pop singing star and one half of the Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé (Lawrence) singing sensation, passed away in Las Vegas at the Sunrise Hospital, surrounded by her family Steve and her family. The 84 year old was a star in the 1960s, singing everything from pop ballads to bossa nova (“Go Away Little Girl;” “Blame It on the Bossa Nova”) appearing many times on the top rated The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday nights, and giving Jewish American households much pride to see a Sephardic Jewish woman making it in the recording industry. She was also a Latin crossover recording artist in the early 1960s. “Amor,” which was recorded with the Mexican combo Trio Los Panchos was a huge hit in Latin America. “Our Spanish stuff outsells our English recordings,” Lawrence said in 2004. “Eydie’s like a diva to the Spanish world.”
Early in her career, Gorme considered changing her name, but her mother protested.
“It’s bad enough that you’re in show business. How will the neighbors know if you’re ever a success?” she told her, so Gorme decided to keep the family name but changed her given name from Edith to Edie. Later, having grown tired of people mistaking it for Eddie, she changed the spelling to Eydie.
Steve and Eydie were stars on TV, in the Catskills, and in Las Vegas. The traded marital banter in between their songs. Steve Lawrence, her partner and husband said: “Eydie has been my partner on stage and in life for more than 55 years. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and even more the first time I heard her sing…. While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time.”
Together, the couple had 93 record albums, 12 Emmys, 2 Grammys and countless national tours. The also had a short lived summer television variety show.
Eydie was born in the Bronx (NYC) to a tailor originally from Sicily and a mother from Turkey. Ladino and Spanish were spoken in the home. Her name was Edith Garmezano. She was voted perkiest and prettiest cheerleader in high school. She was so nimble with languages that after high school graduation, she worked as a translator for the newly created United Nations. In 1953, after becoming a singer and scoring a recording contract, she met Steve Lawrence, (a cantor’s son with the original name of Leibowitz) on Steve Allen’s televised Tonight show. He was a regular on the show, and she became one as well. Paired together for songs and skits, their post-war Jewish love affair blossomed. Married in 1958, they took their Steve and Eydie show in the road after the drafted Lawrence was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1960.