|TV Radio Mirror|
|by Martin Cohen|
| Although Steve and Eydie were married last December 29, they are about as "newlywed" as couples married last month. Traveling their separate ways as individual club acts, they have seldom, since their wedding, been together more than a few days at a time. Their apartment and furnishings are still spanking new. They've lived there so little that they haven't yet got the static electricity out of their carpeting.
"I hear there's some kind of spray that gets rid of the electricity," Steve says. "But, in the meantime, our kisses really have a charge."
With our without carpeting, this is a super-charged couple. They are so hot in show business that, this past spring, they were approached by several of the top variety shows to come in as summer replacements. In replacing Steve Allen, they are taking over one of the week's top-rated hours.
Steve Lawrence explains how they came to decide on the Sunday slot: "There's a peculiar attitude about summer replacements. Most of the big variety shows have a budget that runs around $100,000 a week during the regular season. When summer comes along, it is cut to perhaps $40,000 - yet the ad agencies and sponsors still expect to get a $100,000 show. It's not reasonable.
"Well, the budget Steve Allen's office offered ran higher than the others. That was one reason why we accepted their offer. Another factor was that our producer and director, Nick Vanog (sic) and Dwight Hemion, are old friends from the Allen show. And then there was the strictly sentimental reason - Eydie and I first met and worked together on Allen's Tonight Show."
Steve Lawrence, a Brooklyn boy, became a regular of the Tonight show at the tender age of eighteen. Actually, his training and experience in music began in early childhood. He was a choir singer in church and school. He was a student of the piano and saxophone. At seventeen, he won top honors on a Godfrey Talent Scouts program. A recording contract followed and his waxing of "Poinciana" was a national hit. But his first really big break came in July of 1953, when he joined the Tonight cast.
Eydie, born and bred in the Bronx, exhibited vocal talent from the time she was out of high school, she gave up a job as an interpreter with an export company, to sing with Tommy Tucker's band for two months. This led to the vocalist job with Tex Beneke for a year. She then embarked as a "single," playing night clubs and theaters across the country. She scored with a couple of recording hits, notably "Frenesi." She joined Tonight in the fall of 1953.
"Eydie and I first met in the producer's office," Steve recalls. "We were pleased at the meeting, for we knew each other's work and liked each other musically."
Eydie says smilingly, "I fell in love with him immediately and then spent five years working on him."
In the beginning, they were thrown together frequently in their work. They went out for a sandwich with the gang. "But, after a while, there were just the two of us going out for coffee or dinner," Steve says. "It was an unspectacular transition. We began to date occasionally. Just ordinary dates. A movie. Or dinner. You see, Eydie lived in the Bronx with her family and I lived with my folks in Brooklyn.
"Well, I don't konw that you know how it is - but, if you grow up in Brooklyn, it's with the understanding that you'll never date a Bronx girl. It's almost like an oath you take. Besides, there's the problem of transportation. To get between the Bronx and Brooklyn, you must use three different subways. Even if you get a Bronx girl home at ten, you're not back in Brooklyn before two in the morning." Steve grins and notes, "Yet it's a funny thing. A lot of Brooklyn boys marry Bronx girls."
The courtship, at times, was a little desperate. While Steve and Eydie agree fundamentally in terms of values, as well as music, they are dissimilar personalities. Steve is the relaxed, Como-type. As an illustration, Eydie recalls: "This past season, I got into New York the afternoon Steve was working on the General Motors Anniversary television show. I hadn't seen Steve in a couple of weeks and got some friends to drive me out to the Brooklyn studio. We got there about a half-hour before showtime and Steve couldn't be found.
"The rest of the cast were on hand and all keyed-up, for this was a big show. But we looked high and low for Steve. Finally, ten minutes before air time, we foundhim. He was napping in his dressing room. Can you imagine? Sleeping just a few minutes before he went on!" Eydie makes no bones about it. She could no more nap before a show than she could fly. She is intense, high-driven.
This personality difference between the two accounted for their occasional lover spats. "Oh, a couple of times," Steve says, "she had me so angry, I couldn't even talk to her."
The first incident occured when Tonight ws doing a remote telecast from Florida. Eydie and Steve were to sing a duet from a high diving-board. It was cold for Florida and the water was chilled to about thirty-seven degrees. Andy Williams had got a touch of pneumonia from a dunking during a previous telecast. Well, Eydie and Steve, fully clothed, were on the diving board and Eydie whispered, "We'll jump into the water together after our song." Steve said, "I'm not jumping." Eydie said, "The producer expects us to." Steve said, "I'm not jumping." Eydie said, "But we promised." Steve said, "Not me." And Steve didn't jump.
So Eydie pushed him. Steve remembers, "I was so angry I couldn't talk to her for a week."
Again, on a Florida remote, it was cold water that got them into hot water. They were doing a duet in a rowboat and were to capsize the boat after their number. Again Steve resisted. Eydie knocked him out of the boat with an oar. It was all for the good of the show, she reminded him, but he just glared at her for a few days.
"Usually I can kiss him out of a mad," Eydie says.
"It took a lot of kissing both those times," Steve recalls.
These were exceptional incidents, for Eydie and Steve were usually happy and enjoying the sweet harmony of young love. The most difficult period in their relationship was to come when the Steve Allen edition of Tonight left the air. Eydie and Steve began to make personal appearances, but in different cities.
"It's just plain misery being separated when you're in love," Eydie says. "And long-distance phone calls are so inadequate. I can't explain it.
Continue to Rest of Article
|Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme met, thanks to Steve Allen. Now these two busy stars have the whole summer together - thanks to Allen again!|
|Steve Lawrence says, "Our marriage - it's beautiful!" Eydie Gorme Lawrence agress, "It is. Steve is a king. But our courtship was monstrous. Like five years in a torture chamber."
Amiable and easy-going, Steve is twenty-three, with blue eyes and dark blond hair. Intense and vibrant, Eydie is twenty-five, with brown eyes and dark brown hair. Their apartment is sky-high in Manhattan's fashionable East Fifties.Their living room is brightly decorated in white and lemon yellow.
"I think the furniture is late Bronx provencal," says Steve.
"Tsk, tsk," says Eydie. "It's mostly early French provencal. I bought it myself. All the decorator picked out were those little pillows on the sofa."
"Well, I wouldn't know," says Steve. "I'm new at these things."