| To the boy from Brooklyn and the girl from the Bronx, you can't get much more "countrified" than Central Park. Steve, son of a house painter and a cantor, sang in a Brooklyn synagogue until he was 12 and his father, fearing he might ruin his voice, retired him. Back in action in 1952, Steve was twice turned down for "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" but characteristically persisted in auditioning. When he did appear, he won top honors.
Eydie made her first public appearance at three when she wandered onto a department-store stage where a children's radio program was in progress. Only mononucleosis has kept her off for any length of time since. From vocalist with a high-school band, Eydie graduated to such professional outfits as Tommy Tucker's and Tex Beneke's orchestras.
She was established in night clubs and on records when she joined the old Steve Allen program - as did Steve Lawrence. After that, "things just evolved" between Steve and Eydie.
Nowadays, Eydie confines her appearances to theaters and engagements which allow her either to take the children along or have them visit her on weekends. Steve, too, has curtailed his touring ("I spent my honeymoon in Miami Beach, and Eydie spent hers in Las Vegas; none of that now!"). He usually can coordinate his free afternoon time with the children's.
| Both, for example, agree that Steve is the "stubborn one" and Eydie the "easy-going one." But there's a stuffy manager of a swank London hotel who would probably reply that the two must be strangers to each other.
The Lawrences were visiting London with their new baby, and Eydie called room service to ask for a supply of diapers. "Madam," a voice said icily, "we do not understand. Diapers? Diapers!"
The English, according to Eydie, know perfectly well what diapers are but invariably launch a cold war aimed at making Americans ask for the British equivalent - nappies. Desite Steve's efforts at peacemaking, Eydie stubbornly worked her way up to the hotel manager who, like the others, held firm: "Madam, I don't understand - diapers?"
"Diapers!" Eydie exploded. "And if you don't get them up here quick, I'm going to use those thick, expensive bath towels of yours."
There was a pause before the manager replied lamely. "Madam, we will send diapers up immediately."
As she retells the story, Steve Lawrence shakes his head with the exasperation only a husband of seven years can appreciate. But "easygoing" Eydie is still miffed. "Nobody is going to make me call a diaper a nappy!"
|It's odd for individuals who revel in the spotlight, but they speak mostly about each other off stage in fond kidding tones - and usually, as in the opening incident, without much accuracy.|