"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."
- Steve Lawrence
Born Edith Garmezano in the Bronx to Sephardic Jewish parents of Sicilian and Turkish origins in 1928, she would later transform her name as so many entertainers did in those days. She spoke fluent Spanish at home, and this would later serve her both in her early career as a United Nations translator, and later as a musician, when she would record a string of Latin-themed albums.
Right out of high school, she was already singing in an orchestra during these, the waning years of the Big Band craze. One of these groups, the Tommy Tucker Orchestra, would employ her as a vocalist in 1950 for her very first recordings--made when she was only 22. After a time spent as the singer for the band of former Glenn Miller tenor saxophonist Tex Beneke, she struck out solo in 1952, during a period when the solo vocalist was rapidly replacing the band as the preferred form of pop music.
By that point, Gorme was already an established act on her own, having nine singles on Billboard's Hot 100 pop chart to her credit. After the marriage and thanks to the TV exposure, the duo began performing together, and before long would also be recording together as well. They became fixtures on the Las Vegas scene--a situation that would last for decades to come--and close friends of Vegas' ultimate entertainer, Frank Sinatra.
However, by the early 1960s, the pop landscape was changing, and with rock and roll becoming the music of the moment, it started getting tougher for Gorme to remain a fixture on the pop charts--instead, the majority of her future hits would be on the so-called Easy Listening or Adult Contemporary chart. However, not before she'd have her biggest pop hit of all, the infectious "Blame It on the Bossa Nova". Her only top 10 hit, it went platinum for her in 1963, mere months before the Beatles arrived and took over.
All told, Eydie, both on her own and with Steve, would land 27 singles on the AC chart during the 1960s and 1970s, and would rise to become one of music's most respected voices and forces. She won a Best Female Vocal Performance Grammy in 1967 for "If He Walked Into My Life". The "Steve and Eydie" stage act flourished, and the two became iconic for their on-stage banter and the real life affection that showed through in their appearances. In one final nod to Steve Allen, perhaps the tune most associated with the couple would be Allen's composition "This Could Be the Start of Something". They became a favorite of the older set, an aging listenership that found itself more and more alienated by the music industry's pursuit of the youth market.
Following the 1970s, Eydie and her husband chose to focus mainly on their live appearances, catering to the audience that already knew and loved them. In 1986, they were struck with tragedy when their son Michael died of a freak heart attack at age 23. After being flown out of Vegas on Sinatra's private plane to be with their family, the couple took a year off from performing in order to mourn.
Eydie Gorme continued to proudly perform into her 80s, but finally stepped away from the stage in 2009, leaving her husband to continue on his own. It's suspected that the undisclosed illness which caused her death may have been the reason. She died in Las Vegas' Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, with her lifelong love Steve at her side, along with their surviving son David and their one granddaughter.