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Steve Lawrence, of Steve and Eydie fame, dead at 88

Easygoing crooner Steve Lawrence, who shot to fame as half of the singing duo Steve and Eydie with his wife, Eydie Gormé, died Thursday at his home in LA. He was 88.

The cause of death was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, according to family spokesperson Susan DuBow.

Lawrence and Gormé, who died in 2013 at 84, were top-selling artists throughout the 1950s, ’60 and ’70s and continued to tour until 2009.

They were also a ubiquitous presence in nightclubs and on television for nearly 60 years and hosted their own summer replacement series, “The Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé Show,” on NBC in 1958.

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé in an undated photo. Corbis via Getty Images
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé in an undated photo. Corbis via Getty Images

Lawrence, born Sidney Liebowitz in Brooklyn — the son of a cantor — was hired along with Gormé by Steve Allen in 1953 as part of Allen’s local television show that aired on NBC in New York City — and eventually morphed into “The Tonight Show,” with which they remained until 1957.

They married in 1957 and continued to appear many times on “The Tonight Show” once Johnny Carson took over in 1962 through the end of his run 30 years later.

Lawrence was a top-selling recording artist with hits including “Go Away Little Girl,” which reached No. 1 on the US charts and was awarded a gold record, “Party Doll,” “Footsteps,” “Pretty Blue Eyes,” “I’ve Gotta Be Me” and “Portrait of My Love.”

Over the course of their long career, Lawrence and Gormé won a Grammy (for their 1960 album “We Got Us”) and an Emmy in 1979 for “Steve & Eydie Celebrate Irving Berlin.”

Lawrence also snared a Tony nomination in 1964 for his role as Sammy Glick in “What Makes Sammy Run.”

Lawrence in Manhattan in 2014. Getty Images
Lawrence in Manhattan in 2014. Getty Images

Lawrence hosted “The Steve Lawrence Show” in 1965 — which ran for 13 weeks on CBS — and was a regular panelist on “What’s My Line?”

He also appeared many times on “The Carol Burnett Show” (solo and with Gormé) and in dozens of episodic TV shows through the years including “Hot in Cleveland, “Night Gallery,” “CSI,” “Diagnosis: Murder,” “Frasier” and “Sanford and Son.”

He also appeared on the big screen in “The Blues Brothers” and its sequel, “Blues Brothers 2000” and “Stand Up and Be Counted.”

Lawrence and Gormé have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. FilmMagic
Lawrence and Gormé have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. FilmMagic

Later in his career, Lawrence played Morty Fine, the father of Fran Fine (Fran Drescher), on “The Nanny” in the CBS series’ final season.

Lawrence went public with his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2019 and issued a statement that said, “I have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s in the early stages.

“I am being treated with medications under the supervision of some of the finest doctors in the field. Fortunately they have managed to slow down this horrific process.”

Lawrence and Gormé had two children: David, a composer who wrote the score for “High School Musical” and Michael, who died in 1986 at 23 from an undiagnosed heart condition.

Lawrence at the Beverly Hills Plaza Hotel in 2014. Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Lawrence at the Beverly Hills Plaza Hotel in 2014. Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

“My dad was an inspiration to so many people,” his son, David, said in a statement, according to Variety. “But, to me, he was just this charming, handsome, hysterically funny guy who sang a lot. Sometimes alone and sometimes with his insanely talented wife.

“I am so lucky to have had him as a father and so proud to be his son. My hope is that his contributions to the entertainment industry will be remembered for many years to come.”

His funeral will be private.