LOS ANGELES – Eydie Gorme, a popular nightclub and television singer as a solo act and as a team with her husband, Steve Lawrence, has died. She was 84.
Gorme, who also had a huge solo hit in 1963 with “Blame it on the Bossa Nova,” died Saturday at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas following a brief, undisclosed illness, said her publicist, Howard Bragman.
Gorme was a successful band singer and nightclub entertainer when she was invited to join the cast of Steve Allen’s local New York television show in 1953.
She sang solos and also did duets and comedy skits with Lawrence, a rising young singer who had joined the show a year earlier. When the program became NBC’s “Tonight Show” in 1954, the young couple went with it.
They married in 1957.
“Eydie has been my partner on stage and in life for more than 55 years,” Lawrence said in a statement. “While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time.”
Although usually recognized for her partnership with Lawrence, Gorme broke through on her own with the Grammy-nominated “Blame it on the Bossa Nova.” The bouncy tune about a dance craze of the time was written by the Tin Pan Alley songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
Her husband had had an equally huge solo hit in 1962 with “Go Away Little Girl,” written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.
Gorme, who was born Aug. 16, 1928, in New York City to Sephardic Jewish parents, grew up speaking both English and Spanish. When she and her husband were at the height of their career as a team in 1964, Columbia Records President Goddard Lieberson suggested she put that Spanish to use in the recording studio.
The result was “Amor,” recorded with the Mexican combo Trio Los Panchos.
The song became a hit throughout Latin America, which resulted in more recordings for the Latino market, and Lawrence and Gorme performed as a duo throughout Latin America.
“Our Spanish stuff outsells our English recordings,” Lawrence said in 2004. “She’s like a diva to the Spanish world.”
She is survived by Lawrence, her son David and a granddaughter. Her other son with Lawrence, Michael, died of heart failure in 1986 at age 23.
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