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Monday, 21 July 2014

Helen Merrill born 21 July 1930



Helen Merrill (born Jelena Ana Milcetic on July 21, 1930 in New York City) is an internationally known jazz vocalist.
Merrill's recording career has spanned six decades and she is popular with fans of jazz in Japan and Italy (where she lived for many years) as well as in her native United States. She has recorded and performed with some of the most notable figures in the American jazz scene.
Merrill was born in 1930 to Croatian immigrant parents. She began singing in jazz clubs in the Bronx at the age of fourteen. By the time she was sixteen, Merrill had taken up music full time. In 1952, Merrill made her recording debut when she was asked to sing "A Cigarette For Company" with the Earl Hines Band; the song was released on their Xanadu album. Etta Jones made her debut on the same album.
At this time she was married to musician Aaron Sachs. They divorced in 1956.
As a result of the exposure she received from "A Cigarette for Company" and two subsequent singles recorded for the Roost record label, Merrill was signed by Mercury Records for their new Emarcy label.
In 1954, Merrill recorded her first (and to date most acclaimed) LP, an eponymous record featuring legendary jazz trumpet player Clifford Brown and bassist/cellist Oscar Pettiford, among others. It was to be one of Brown's last recordings, as he was killed in a car accident just two years later. The album was produced and arranged by Quincy Jones, who was then just twenty-one years old. The success of Helen Merrill prompted Mercury to sign her for an additional four-album contract.
Merrill's follow-up to Helen Merrill was the 1956 LP, Dream of You, which was produced and arranged by bebop arranger and pianist Gil Evans. Evans' work on Dream of You was his first in many years. His arrangements on Merrill's laid the musical foundations for his work in following years with Miles Davis.
After recording sporadically through the late 1950s and 1960s, Merrill spent much of her time touring Europe, where she enjoyed more commercial success than she had in the United States. She settled for a time in Italy recording an album there, and doing live concerts with jazz notables Chet Baker, Romano Mussolini, and Stan Getz. Merrill returned to the U.S. in the 1960s, but moved to Japan in 1967 after touring there. Merrill developed a following in Japan that remains strong to this day. In addition to recording while in Japan, Merrill became involved in other aspects of the music industry, producing albums for Trio Records and hosting a show on a Tokyo radio station.
 
Here's "What Is This Thing Called Love" from above 1965 album 

 
Merrill returned to the US in 1972 and has continued recording and regular touring since then. Her later career has seen her experiment in different music  genres. She has recorded a bossa nova album, a Christmas album and a record's worth of Rodgers and Hammerstein, among many others.
One of Merrill's millennium released recordings draws from her Croatian heritage as well as her American upbringing. Jelena Ana Milcetic, also known as Helen Merrill (2000), combines jazz, pop and blues songs with several traditional Croatian songs sung in Croatian.

Helen Merrill has been married three times, first to musician Aaron Sachs, second time to UPI vice president Donald J Brydon, and third to arranger-conductor Torrie Zito. Merrill became involved in other aspects of the music industry, producing albums for Trio Records and hosting a show on a Tokyo radio station. She has one child, a son, Allan P Sachs, also a singer, who is professionally known as Alan Merrill. (info Wikipedia)

Helen Merrill sings "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" live, backed by husband Torrie Zito on piano, Ned Mahn on bass, and Terry Clarke on drums.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Vikki Carr born 19 July 1941


Vikki Carr (born July 19, 1941, in El Paso, Texas as Florencia Vicenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona) is an American singer who has performed in a variety of music genres, including jazz, pop and country, but has enjoyed her greatest success singing in Spanish. 
After taking the stage name "Vikki Carr" the singer signed with Liberty Records in 1962. Her first single to achieve any success was "He's a Rebel", which in 1962 reached No. 5 in Australia and No. 115 in the United States. Producer Phil Spector heard Carr cutting the song in the studio, and immediately recorded a cover version billed to The Crystals that reached No. 1 in the United States. In 1966, Carr toured Vietnam with actor/comedian Danny Kaye.

 
 
The following year her album It Must Be Him was nominated for three Grammy Awards. The title track reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in 1967. She had two other songs make the U.S. Top 40: 1968's "The Lesson" and 1969's "With Pen in Hand". Around this time, Dean Martin called her "the best girl singer in the business". Carr had 10 singles which made the U.S. pop charts and 13 albums which made the U.S. pop album charts.  
In 1968, she taped six specials for London Weekend TV. She appeared on various television programs, such as ABC's The Bing Crosby Show in the 1964-1965 season. In 1970, she was named "Woman of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981. Carr also achieved the rare feat of singing for five presidents during her career: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Bill Clinton. Ford writes in his autobiography, A Time to Heal, that when Carr appeared at the White House, she asked the president, "What Mexican dish do you like?" His response: "I like you." He goes on to write that the First Lady was not pleased: "Betty overheard the exchange, and needless to say, she wasn't wild about it."  
In the 1980s and 1990s Carr had enormous success in the Latin music world, winning Grammy Awards for Best Mexican-American Recording in 1985 for the album Simplemente Mujer; for Latin Pop Album in 1992 for the disc Cosas del Amor; and for Best Mexican-American Recording in 1995 for Recuerdo a Javier Solis. She also received Grammy nominations for the discs Brindo a La Vida, Al Bolero, A Ti (1993) and Emociones (1996).
Her numerous Spanish-language hit singles include "Total," "Discúlpame," "Déjame," "Hay Otro en Tu Lugar," "Esos Hombres," "Mala Suerte" and "Cosas del Amor." The latter song spent more than two months at No. 1 on the U.S. Latin charts in 1991, her biggest Spanish-language U.S. hit. Her Spanish-language albums have been certified gold and platinum in Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador.  
During 1999, she taped a PBS TV special, Vikki Carr: Memories, Memorias, in which she performed popular bilingual tunes from the 1940s and 1950s. Her guests were Pepe Aguilar, Arturo Sandoval and Jack Jones. In 2001, she released a bilingual holiday album, The Vikki Carr Christmas Album.  
In 2002, she appeared to great acclaim in a Los Angeles productionof the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies, which also featured Hal Linden, Patty Duke and Harry Groener. In 2006, Carr made a cameo appearance in a straight-to-video thriller called Puerto Vallarta Squeeze. In 2008, Carr hosted a PBS TV special, Fiesta Mexicana, which celebrated the music and dance of Mexico. Later that year she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Recording Academy. She marked the occasion with an appearance on the Latin Grammy telecast in which she performed "Cosas del Amor" with Olga Tañón and Jenni Rivera. 

Respected as both an artist and a humanitarian, she devotes time to many charities including the United Way, the American Lung Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and St. Jude's Hospital. For 22 years she held benefit concerts to support Holy Cross High School in San Antonio, Texas. In 1971, she established the Vikki Carr Scholarship Foundation, dedicated to offering college scholarships to Hispanic students in California and Texas. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than 280 scholarships totaling over a quarter of a million dollars.
 
Vikki Carr has been recently recording with Latin Rock legends El Chicano and featured singing "Sabor A Mi" from their latest studio album which was  released in April 2014. (info from Wikipedia)
 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Polly Bergen born 14 July 1930


Polly Bergen (born Nellie Paulina Burgin; July 14, 1930) is an American actress, singer, and entrepreneur.
Bergen was born in Knoxville in eastern Tennessee, the daughter of Lucy (née Lawhorn) and William Hugh Burgin, a construction engineer. "Bill Bergen," as he was later known, had singing talent and appeared with his daughter in several episodes of her 18-episode NBC comedy/variety show, The Polly Bergen Show, which aired in the 1957-1958 television season.
A radio performer from the age of 14, Polly Bergen went the summer stock-nightclub route before heading for Hollywood in 1949. During her first months in the entertainment capitol, Bergen married actor Jerome Courtland, a union that was over virtually before it began; her later marriage to agent Freddie Fields endured for nearly 20 years. Though she could take some pride in having survived three Martin and Lewis films (At War With the Army, That's My Boy and The Stooge), Bergen chafed at the nondescript movie parts being offered her, and in 1953 walked out of a very lucrative studio contract.
 
        Here's Polly's cover of "The Wayward Wind" from 1956

 
She headed for New York, where, while headlining in the Broadway revue John Murray Anderson's Almanac, she strained her voice and was forced to undergo a painful throat operation. Bergen received an Emmy award for her portrayal of singer Helen Morgan in a May 1957 episode of the television series Playhouse 90 on CBS. Sylvia Sidney played her mother on the episode. Signed to Columbia Records, she also enjoyed a successful recording career during this era. Another serious career set-back occurred in 1959 when, while starring in the musical First Impressions, she nearly lost her life during a difficult pregnancy.
Gamely surviving these and other personal travails, Bergen rose to stardom via her stage performance, her one-woman cabaret act, and her many TV appearances.She was a regular panelist on the CBS game show To Tell the Truth during its original run. She also
appeared on the NBC interview program Here's Hollywood.
In 1962, she gave films a second chance when she played a North Carolina housewife threatened with rape by rampaging ex-con Robert Mitchum in Cape Fear (1962) (over 20 years later, she and Mitchum played husband and wife in the popular TV miniseries The Winds of War and War and Remembrance). Her bravura portrayal of a mental patient in The Caretakers (1963) was quite an eye-opener for those familiar with Bergen only through her appearances on TV's To Tell the Truth. Less aesthetically successful was Kisses for My President (1964), in which Bergen starred as the first female Chief Executive. Later roles included Mrs. Vernon-Williams in Cry-Baby, a 1990 John Waters film.
Though busy with her show-business activities into the 1990s (she recently co-starred in the network sitcom Baby Talk), it is interesting to note that, in her Who's Who entry, Bergen lists herself as a business executive first, an actress second. There is certainly plenty of justification for this; over the last 40 years, she has maintained such successful business ventures as Polly Bergen Cosmetics, Polly Bergen Jewelry, and Polly Bergen Shoes; she has also been active as part-owner of and pitch person for Oil-of-the-Turtle cosmetics. Equally busy in nonprofit organizations, she has served with such concerns as the National Business Council and Freedom of Choice. Scarcely a year goes by without Bergen receiving an award or honorarium from a professional, charitable, political or civic organization. As if all this wasn't activity enough, Polly Bergen is also the author of three books: Fashion and Charm (1960), Polly's Principles (1974), and I'd Love to, but What'll I Wear? (1977). 
She starred in a 2001 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies at the Belasco Theater and received a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She also appeared as Fran Felstein on HBO's The Sopranos, the former mistress of Tony Soprano's father, and former acquaintance of John F. Kennedy. Another of her recent appearances came in CBS' Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation Candles on Bay Street (2006), in which she played the assistant to a husband-and-wife team of veterinarians. In the 1950s, she was also known as "The Pepsi Cola Girl," having done a series of commercials for that product.
From 2007 to 2010, Bergen had a guest role in Desperate Housewives as Lynette Scavo's mother, Stella Wingfield, which earned her an Emmy Award nomination.
Bergen converted to Judaism after having married Hollywood talent agent Freddie Fields, with whom she had one biological child and two adopted children. She had previously been a Southern Baptist.
She had two other marriages that ended in divorce. When not working, Bergen lives in Connecticut. Her third marriage, to Jeffery Endervelt, ended in divorce in 1990. (Info edited from All Rovi.com & Wikipedia)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Pete Escovedo born 13 July 1935



Peter "Pete" Michael Escovedo (born 13 July 1935 in Pittsburg, California) is a Mexican-American musician percussionist. He has been a major force in Latin music since the late '60s, and his versatility has resulted in success in several areas of music, from Latin jazz and salsa to rock and Latin pop. 
Growing up in Oakland, Escovedo was surrounded by music throughout his childhood. His father sang with some Latin big bands. Pete played the saxophone in high school and soon switched to vibes. When pianist Ed Kelly needed a percussionist, Escovedo found his calling. He and his younger brother, the late Coke Escovedo, both developed quickly as percussionists and became greatly in demand for gigs in Northern California.

With their youngest brother Phil Escovedo playing bass, the Escovedo Brothers Latin Jazz Sextet was formed.  (Photo of Coke Escovedo, Tito Puente and Pete Escovedo

 The group broke up in 1967 when Carlos Santana hired both Pete and Coke for his Latin rock group. After touring with Santana for the next three years (he has rejoined him a few times since), Pete and Coke founded the 14-piece Latin big band Azteca, recording two albums for Columbia. When the band grew to 24 members, it became too expensive to keep together, although the music was quite impressive. 


 
                   (Here's "Cabo Frio" from above album)
 
Since that time, Pete has performed in a countless number of settings including with such notables as Herbie Hancock, Woody Herman, Cal Tjader, and Tito Puente, among many others. He started using his daughter Sheila E. in the mid-'70s when she was still a teenager; they first recorded together in 1976 with Billy Cobham and have worked together many times since.
Since Azteca, Escovedo has also frequently led his own Latin jazz band, sometimes also including his other children Juan, Peter Michael, and Zina. Pete Escovedo has recorded as a leader for Fantasy (co-leading dates with daughter Sheila E.) and Concord (including their Crossover, Picante, and Vista subsidiaries).


 Today Mr. Pete Escovedo leads one of the top Latin-Jazz Orchestras in the country performing his own unique sound and continues to deliver his music throughout the world.  (Info mainly All Music) 


Friday, 11 July 2014

Reg Varney born 11 July 1916


Reginald Alfred Varney (11 July 1916 – 16 November 2008) was an English  actor, most notable for his role as Stan Butler in the 1970s TV sitcom On the Buses.
Varney was born in Canning Town, which was then part of Essex but is now part of East London. His father worked in a rubber factory in Silvertown and he was one of five children who grew up in Addington Road, Canning Town. Varney was educated at the nearby Star Lane Primary School in West Ham  and after leaving school at 14, he worked as a messenger boy and a page boy at the Regent Palace Hotel. He took piano lessons as a child and was good enough to find employment as a part-time piano player. His first paid engagement was at Plumstead Radical Club in Woolwich, for which he was paid eight shillings  and sixpence (42½p).
He also played in working men's clubs, pubs and ABC cinemas, and later sang with big bands of the time. He and his mother decided that show business was the career for him, and he gave up his day jobs.During World War II, he joined the Royal Engineers, but continued performing as an army entertainer, touring the Far

East for a time. After being demobbed, he starred on stage in the late 1940s in a comic revue entitled Gaytime. His partner in the double act was Benny Hill. He then went on to become an all-round entertainer, working his way around the music halls.
In 1961, Varney was given the role of a foreman in the popular television sitcom, The Rag Trade, which made him a household name. Also around this time he starred in a show for BBC TV called The Seven Faces of Reg Varney where he performed seven different characters in front of an audience at the Shepherd's Bush Theatre in London. Varney rushed about at a frantic pace on stage as he changed clothes between characters. After that followed another comedy role in Beggar My Neighbour; this also starred Pat Coombs, June Whitfield, and Peter Jones. Pat Coombs played the wife of Varney's character and she would later appear in the On the Buses movie. The series ran from March 1967 to March 1968 (24 episodes of 30 minute duration) and a short special was shown as part of Christmas Night with the Stars  on 25 December 1967. In 1966 he starred in The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery as Gilbert.

On 27 June 1967, the world's first voucher based cash dispensing machine was installed at the Enfield Town branch of Barclays Bank. Varney lived in Enfield at the time and for publicity purposes he was photographed making the first withdrawal from the machine.

 
Varney's greatest success was in the sitcom On the Buses which was written by Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe, who had also written The Rag Trade. Varney played the lead role of bus driver Stan Butler, a long-suffering but loyal man who never has much luck where romance is concerned. There were also three spin-off movies made, On the Buses (1971), Mutiny on the Buses (1972), and Holiday on the Buses (1973). Varney was 53 when the series started, although his character, who lived at home and was often trying to attract women, seemed to be in his mid-thirties. Stephen Lewis, who played Inspector Cyril "Blakey" Blake in the series, was actually 20 years younger than Varney, who, by the time On the Buses ended, was nearly 60.
The show was a great success and Varney started to take on more film roles. These included Go for a Take and The Best Pair of Legs in the Business. In the latter, Varney played a drag artist-cum-compère at a caravan holiday site. Down the Gate, in which he played a Billingsgate fish porter, followed, but was not a great success. He was also in the remake of the film The Plank.
In April to June 1969 Varney co-starred with Scottish entertainer Billy Raymond in 13 episodes of Australia's Channel O TV entertainment series "Rose and Crown" before returning to the UK for another "On The Buses" TV series.
He also made six hour-long spectaculars called The Other Reg Varney, and later his cabaret act toured Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In 1988, On the Buses went on to the stage and again Varney went to Australia to play Stan.
During the 1990s, Varney was forced to retire because of health problems. He had a heart attack in 1965 and in 1981 he suffered a more severe one.  Subsequently he divided his time between his home in a small village near Dartmouth and a villa in Malta. By the nineties he was virtually retired and spent most of his time painting landscapes in oils at his home in the West Country and there were several exhibitions of his work locally. He also wrote a touching autobiography, The Little Crown.
 


 
Varney moved to Devon in the late 1980s and lived alone after his wife, Lilian Emma Varney, died in East Devon in 2002, aged 92. Varney himself died on 16 November 2008, in a nursing home in Budleigh Salterton, Devon. He had been admitted only a few weeks earlier after suffering from a chest infection. (Info from Wikipedia)
 
 
Here's "Come On and Tickle My Fancy" by Reg Varney from the album On the 88s at Abbey Road

 
 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Gene Simmons born 10 July 1937


Jumpin' Gene Simmons ( born Morris Eugene Simmons, July 10, 1937 - August 29, 2006) was an American rockabilly singer and
songwriter known best for his 1964 novelty single "Haunted House." Few people knew at the time that before that well-deserved success, Gene had already been active in the music business for almost a decade.

Tupelo's second most famous native was born in 1937, not 1933 as has often been alleged. Gene and his brothers, Carl and Leon, worked in the fields and dreamed of appearing on the Gran Ole Opry. As early as 1951, Gene and Carl played on the Tupelo radio station WELO every Saturday morning. In 1953 Simmons got to meet Elvis Presley, who would later recommend him to Sam Phillips. Gene and his four-piece hillbilly band went to Memphis to audition for Sun Records in 1955. "Why don't you take your mandolin and fiddle and wrap 'em around a tree, and come back with a hot guitar" advised Phillips. So they did. Carl Simmons made the transition from mandolin to electric guitar in record time, and he didn't just become competent, he became great.

Gene and his buddies recorded regularly at Sun between 1955 and 1958, but just one single hit the market ("Drinkin' Wine"/"I Done Told You", Sun 299). The two tracks had been recorded on January 3, 1957, but were not released until May 1958. The music business had changed a lot in that short period. Rockabilly was past its sell-by date, so, unsurprisingly, Gene's record stiffed in the marketplace. Sun was just too small to accommodate all the worthwhile performers who came through their studio and Phillips concentrated his promotion on Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.

Gene understood that there was no future for him at Sun. After one-off singles for Judd and Sandy (as Morris Simmons), he moved to Memphis in 1959 and was signed to the fledgling Hi label by Ray Harris, another ex-Sun artist. There is an immense difference in sound and style between the Sun sides and the Hi material. The backing was initially provided by Bill Black's combo, with whom he also toured as a vocalist.


Gene's first recordings for the label ("Goin' Back To Memphis" among them) were leased to Chess and released on Checker and Argo. His first single on Hi proper coupled Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear" with the Carl Perkins number "Your True Love". Recorded on January 30, 1960, the single did not come out until April 1961, which must have been a case of deja vu for Gene. After a good cover of Jimmy Donley's "The Shape You Left Me In", he cut an obligatory twist single ("Twist Caldonia") in February 1962 and from that point, he doesn't seem to have re-entered the Hi studio until May 1964, when he waxed his big hit.



Gene had just about given up the hope of getting a hit and had set up a little label of his own, Tupelo Records. The man who would later become Sam the Sham, Domingo Samudio, made his first record for that label ("Betty And Dupree", 1963), but he soon started his own label, Dingo, for which he revived "Haunted House" (originally recorded by Johnny Fuller on Specialty in 1959). At 3:11, Sam's version was too long to get much airplay, and Ray Harris wanted Samudio to re-record the song for Hi, but he refused. Harris then asked Simmons to record it. Though the British Invasion was in full force, Gene's "Haunted House" raced up the charts, peaking at # 11 in September of 1964 (just in time for Halloween). The follow-up, "The Dodo", stalled at # 83, probably because it sounded too much like its predecessor.

Hi kept releasing unsuccessful singles until late 1966, most of them credited to "Jumpin' Gene Simmons", which was also the title of Gene's first LP, issued in late 1964. After leaving Hi, Gene was disillusioned. Tired of the road, he moved back to Tupelo and started a nightclub, the Haunted House. But he never gave up hoping for another hit and started recording again in 1968. Over the next decade there were releases on Mala, AGP, Epic, Royal American and Deltune (his first single for that label, "Why Didn't I Think Of That", went to # 88 on the country charts in 1977). During this period he started writing songs for the country market and was signed as a songwriter by Chips Moman's publishing company in Nashville, which became Gene's new residence. His persistence finally paid off when his song "Indian Outlaw" (co-written with Tommy Barnes and John D. Loudermilk) became a multi-million selling country hit for Tim McGraw in 1994. Prior to that, Simmons performed at several rockabilly festivals in Europe.

In 2005, Brian Setzer wanted to include an incomplete 1956 recording by Gene, "Peroxide Blonde And A Hopped-up Model Ford" on a Sun tribute CD. Setzer asked Gene to provide the missing lyrics, which he found himself in no position to do almost 50 years later. Gene and Brian got together to write some new lyrics, which they sang together in the studio on what turned out to be his final recording. Simmons succumbed to the effects of a six-month illness at the North Mississippi Medical Centre in Tupelo on August 29, 2006, aged 69. (Info from Hank Davis, Colin Escott, Stuart Colman (NDT obituary), Adriaan Sturm (Rockville interview, 1972).

Jumping Gene Simmons featured in an Ace Cannon Live Recording  

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Steve Lawrence born 8 July 1935


Steve Lawrence (born July 8, 1935) is an American singer, perhaps best known as a member of a duo with his wife Eydie Gormé, billed as Steve and Eydie. The two have appeared together since appearing regularly on Steve Allen's The Tonight Show in the mid-1950s.
 
Born Stephen Leibowitz, 8 July 1935, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. The son of a cantor in a Brooklyn synagogue, Lawrence was in the Glee club at Thomas Jefferson High School, where he began studying piano, saxophone, composition and arranging.
 
He made his recording debut for King Records at the age of 16. The record, "Mine And Mine Alone", based on "Softly Awakes My Heart" from Samson & Delilah, revealed an remarkably mature voice and style. Influenced by Frank Sinatra, but never merely a copyist, Lawrence's great range and warmth earned him a break on Steve Allen's Tonight television show, where he met, sang with and later married Eydie Gorme. He recorded for Coral Records and had his first hit in 1957 with "The Banana Boat Song". It was the infectious "Party Doll" which gave him a Top 5 hit in 1957 and he followed that same year with four further, although lesser successes, namely "Pum-Pa-Lum", "Can't Wait For Summer", "Fabulous" and "Fraulein". During his US Army service (1958-60) he sang with military bands on recruiting drives and bond rallies. 

 
  
Lawrence had success on the pop record charts in the late 50's and early 1960s with such hits as "Go Away Little Girl" (U.S. #1), "Pretty Blue Eyes" (U.S. #9), "Footsteps" (U.S. #7), "Portrait of My Love" (U.S. #9), and "Party Doll" (U.S. #5). However much of his musical career has centered on nightclubs and the musical stage. Lawrence is an actor as well, appearing in guest roles on television shows in every decade since the 1950s, in shows such as The Carol Burnett Show, Night Gallery, Police Story, Murder, She Wrote, Gilmore Girls, and CSI. In the 1960s Lawrence was the star of a variety show called The Steve Lawrence Show, "the last television show in black and white on CBS".Lawrence also appeared in the last season of The Nanny as Fran's never-before-seen father, Morty Fine.

Back home he and Eydie embarked on a double act, their most memorable hit being "I Want To Stay Here" in 1963. As Steve And Eydie they made albums for CBS Records, ABC Records and United Artists Records, including Steve And Eydie At The Movies, Together On Broadway, We Got Us, Steve And Eydie Sing The Golden Hits and Our Love Is Here To Stay, the latter a double album of great George Gershwin songs, which was the soundtrack of a well-received television special. Lawrence, on his own, continued to have regular hits with "Portrait Of My Love" and "Go Away Little Girl" in 1961/2, and enjoyed critical success with albums such as Academy Award Losers and Portrait Of My Love.

As an actor he starred on Broadway in What Makes Sammy Run?, took the lead in Pal Joey in summer stock, and has acted in a crime series on US television. During the 70s and 80s he continued to record and make television appearances with Gorme, with the couple gaining a record-breaking seven Emmys for their Steve And Eydie Celebrate Irving Berlin special.

In 1980, Lawrence was introduced to a new generation of fans with his memorable portrayal of blackmailed manager Maury Sline in the hit movie The Blues Brothers with John Belushi. 
Lawrence and Gorme opened for Frank Sinatra on his Diamond Jubilee tour of 1990-1991, marking Sinatra's 75th birthday. It cemented Lawrence's warm relationship with Sinatra, who gave Lawrence his book of arrangements upon his retirement. Lawrence used the charts to record Steve Lawrence Sings Sinatra: A Musical Tribute to the Man and His Music, which GL Music released in January 2003. The album was produced by Lawrence and Gorme's son, film composer David Lawrence. (Their younger son, Michael, had died in 1986 at 23.) By then settled in Las Vegas and accepting fewer engagements, Lawrence and Gorme nevertheless booked a series of performances in 2003 to promote the album, and their One More for the Road tour continued into 2004. In 2005, the Varese Sarabande label found three unreleased tracks from the early years, collected his early hits, and released the collection All My Love Belongs to You.

After retiring in 2009, Eydie Gorme died in Las Vegas in August 2013, and is survived by Lawrence, who continues to perform as a solo act. In 2014, he guest-starred in an episode of  Two and a Half Men on CBS. (info edited from Wikipedia, NME & AMG)

Steve Lawrence sings "The Impossible Dream" on Hollywood Palace 03/04/1967