|Steve and Eydie:
Mr. and Mrs. Singing team
|February 28, 1961|
|The major new night-club hit of the winter is the powerhouse Mr. and Mrs. singing|
|pair, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. This "something new" in their careers recalls their four years together on Steve Allen's old Tonight TV show. Then came a two-year army stint for Steve, during which Eydie entertained as a "single." In their reunion, the perform a two-person musical comedy of ballads and banter with the sheer joy of entertaining a responsive audience again. Their tour takes them cross-country. After years as "pop" singers, coming up "slow and steady," they say, "the money has started to roll in. Everything is just perfect for us."
Steve and Eydie got their basic training for their present maturity and success in an arduous decade of one-night stands, recordings, and TV appearances. "Some kids today have one hit record, vanish and are bitter at 19. We didn't miss anything, good or bad, coming up. Do I sound like the old Grandad of Show Business?" says Steve, who is 26 years old. Eydie is 28.
They became "fast friends long before we fell in love." They met in 1953 on the Tonight show. The youngsters sang the songs, wrote and acted in their own sketches. After a year, someone brought pressure on Steve Allen to fire them. "Somebody thought we weren't 'American-looking types,'" says Eydie. "Steve Allen exploded, threatened to quit and asked, "Do you want a Marilyn Monroe who sings like Ella Fitzgerald?' For that reason alone, we love him."
| Steve and Eydie stayed on three years more, grew steadily in public affection and got married in December, 1957. TV viewers had the feeling that they had been on the inside track of a flourishing romance with a happy ending.
This season on television, between night clubs, they are making separate guest-star appearances on the Perry Como and Garry Moore shows. Later on, they expect to be together in their own "specials." "We have a lot of surprises left in us," they say. "People seem to enjoy hearing us entertain and talk to each other the way we do at home."
| As with all great theatrical teams, Lawrence and Gorme are complete opposites. Steve is flip, raffish, as capable of belting out a song in the Jolson style as of doing a floppy drunk act. "He'd much rather be a low comic than a singer," Eydie says. She is more emotional and moves audiences to tears with a heartbreak ballad. Her husband describes her as "a sad clown who goes around making people laugh and cry." Eydie makes no pretense to beauty. Off stage, she wears no make-up. Her face is lopsided; her eyes, both fierce and humorous; her voice, excitably breathless. Her reaction to life's irritations is "Help!"
"We have an amusing life together," Eydie says, "and if it weren't for me, it would always be serene. Things bother me a lot. I throw things at a certain man on TV. I read the newspaper and get unstrung. I cry at cartoons. But Steve stays happy and calm. If I yell at him, I find I'm asking all the questions and also giving all the answers. He either plays the piano or walks around. Very effective technique for a husband to shut up his wife's tantrums."
| Both Mr. and Mrs. are native New Yorkers. Steve is the son of a Brooklyn cantor; Eydie, the daughter of a Bronx tailor. "At first, everybody kept at me to change my name," Eydie says. "But my mother began to sob. 'It's bad enough you're in show business, but, if you're ever a success, how will the neighbors know?'"
Today, Eydie's mother, resigned to show business, but ignoring it, sighs, "She's lucky and he's lucky too, to have each other. They are a nice married couple with a nice home and a nice little grandson for me."