Eydie Gormé (also spelled as Eydie Gorme; born August 16, 1928) is an American singer, specializing, with her husband, Steve Lawrence, in traditional pop music, in the form of ballads and breezy swing. She has earned numerous awards, including the Grammy and the Emmy. She retired as of 2009; husband and musical partner Steve Lawrence continues to perform as a solo act.
Eydie Gormé was born as Edith Garmezano in Bronx, New York in 1928, the daughter of Fortuna and Nessim Garmezano. Her father was a tailor. She is a cousin of singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka. Her parents were Sephardic Jewish immigrants, her father from Sicily and her mother from Turkey.
She graduated from William Howard Taft High School in 1946 (film director Stanley Kubrick, also born in 1928, attended the school at the same time), and worked for the United Nations as an interpreter, using her fluency in the Ladino and Spanish languages. She made her recording debut in 1950 with the Tommy Tucker Orchestra and Don Brown. She made a second recording which featured Dick Noel. MGM issued these two recordings on 78rpm vinyl.
She first worked in Tex Beneke’s band. In 1951 she made several radio recordings that have been re-issued on vinyl LP and recently on CD, in 1952 Gormé went on to record solo and her first recordings were issued on the Coral label.
Gormé caught both her big break, and her future, lifelong husband, when she and singer Steve Lawrence were booked to the original The Tonight Show, then hosted by Steve Allen.
Eydie Gormé and Lawrence were married in Las Vegas on December 29, 1957. They became famous on stage for their banter, which usually involved tart, yet affectionate, and sometimes bawdy, references to their married life, which remained a feature of their live act. They had two sons. In 1995, Gormé and Lawrence were honored for their lifetime contribution to music by the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Eydie Gormé enjoyed hit singles of her own, none selling bigger than 1963’s “Blame It on the Bossa Nova”, which was also her final foray into the Top 40 pop charts. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. In the UK, “Yes, My Darling Daughter” reached #10. She won a Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal Performance in 1967, for her version of “If He Walked Into My Life”, from Mame. The latter made #5 on the Billboard magazine Easy Listening chart in 1966, despite failing to make the Billboard Hot 100. Indeed, most of Gormé’s singles chart success from 1963 onward were on the Easy
Listening/Adult Contemporary charts, where she placed 27 singles (both solo and with her husband) from 1963 to 1979 (of which “If He Walked Into My Life” was the most successful). As a soloist, her other biggest hits during that period included “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have?” from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (#17 Easy Listening, 1966) and “Tonight I’ll Say a Prayer” (#45 Pop and #8 Easy Listening, 1969, also her last Hot 100 entry as a solo artist).
She gained crossover success in the Latin music market through a series of albums she made in Spanish with the famed Trio Los Panchos. In 1964, the two acts joined forces for a collection of Spanish-language standards called Amor. “Sabor a Mí” became closely identified with Gormé and emerged as one of her signature tunes. The disc was later reissued as “Canta en Español”. In 1965, a sequel appeared called More Amor (later reissued as “Cuatro Vidas”). Her last album with Los Panchos was a 1966 Christmas collection, “Navidad Means Christmas”, later reissued as “Blanca Navidad”. Gormé also recorded other Spanish albums in her career, including the Grammy-nominated La Gormé (1976), a contemporary outing. The 1977 release Muy Amigos/Close Friends, a duet collection with Puerto Rican singer Danny Rivera, also received a Grammy nomination.
As a duo with her husband, the act was billed as Steve and Eydie. In 1960, Steve and Eydie were awarded the Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group for the album, “We Got Us”. Their biggest hit single as a duo, “I Want to Stay Here”, was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and reached #28 in 1963. Under the pseudonym “Parker and Penny”, Lawrence and Gormé achieved their last chart single (#46 on the Adult Contemporary chart) with a cover of the 1979 Eurovision song contest winner, “Hallelujah”. The song most closely identified with the duo, the Steve Allen composition “This Could Be the Start of Something”, never reached the charts, though it remains a staple in their live act.
Eydie Gormé and Lawrence have appeared on TV, including countless appearances on The Carol Burnett Show, as well as The Nanny. She and Lawrence appeared together on Broadway in the short-lived musical, Golden Rainbow.
Since the 1970s, the couple have focused strictly on the American pop repertoire, recording several albums themed around individual American pop composers. As the 21st Century arrived, the couple announced their plans to cut back on their touring, launching a “One More For The Road” tour in 2002. In 2006, Gormé became a blogger, posting occasional messages on her official website. In November 2009, after his wife retired, Lawrence embarked on a solo musical tour.
Eydie Gormé and Lawrence had two sons, David, a composer, and Michael, who died suddenly from ventricular fibrillation resulting from an undiagnosed heart condition in 1986, at the age of 23. Michael was an assistant editor for a television show at the time of his death and was apparently healthy despite a previous diagnosis of slight arrhythmia.
Eydie Gormé and Lawrence were in Atlanta, Georgia at the time of his death, having performed at the Fox Theater the night before. Upon learning of the tragedy, Frank Sinatra, a friend, sent his private plane to pick up the couple so that they could fly to New York to meet their other son, David, who was attending school at the time. Following their son’s death, the couple took a year off before touring again