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Interview With Singers Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme

Aired October 17, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a legendary singing duo, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, after more than 40 years in show business, seen it all and done it all. But their journey to stardom took a tragic turn with the death of their youngest son. How do they cope with that terrible loss? And how has their marriage survived more than four decades in the spotlight? A compelling personal story. Steve and Eydie for the hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We get a lot of rewards in this business. I got one tonight, the chance to talk to two old friends and two legends in American show business, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. They have been a matched pair for many, many years. We're going to talk about lots of things tonight, the ups and downs. They're, by the way, embarking, and they're, in fact, already on what they call their last tour. Steve's new CD -- I have it in front of me -- is "Steve Lawrence Sings Sinatra," now available in record stores everywhere.

What do you mean, last tour?

STEVE LAWRENCE: Not last tour. It's called "One More for the Road" and...


KING: Sounds like last tour.

LAWRENCE: Yes, well -- well, what it is, it's, like -- Eydie and I, as you know, we've been doing this for a long time, and the one- nighters are tougher. The road gets tougher. It's lonelier in rubber. So we're just going back to a lot of these theaters, in an effort to tell all those audiences thank you for all the years.


KING: ... retiring.

EYDIE GORME: ... everything has changed. The flying changed. The airports have changed. The -- well, when we used to work anyplace, not Steve and Eydie, Frank, everybody, we would go in for at least a couple of weeks, you know.

KING: Civilized.

GORME: Civilized. Now it's one-nighters. And you have to deal with the weather, a different hotel every night.

KING: You're going back to the theaters you played before?



LAWRENCE: Yes, we're going back to...

KING: Venues you've played.

GORME: Venues, yes.

LAWRENCE: Venues. They call them venues.

KING: When did it become a venue?

GORME: I don't know.

LAWRENCE: I think when it got to be more money.


KING: Let's go -- we're going to trace this extraordinary career. How did you two -- the story is you met on the "Tonight" show. But you said...

LAWRENCE: Ostensibly, that story is true. But I met Eydie once before, and she has no recall for that.

GORME: I do.

LAWRENCE: The Brill building in Manhattan...

KING: Famous building.

LAWRENCE: ... famous building where all the song writers and the publishers used to hang out -- Eydie was coming out of the Brill building with Bob Manning (ph), who was a singer and a mutual friend of ours. So Eydie and Bob were coming out and I was coming in, and I said, Hi, Bob. How are you? And Eydie was...

KING: Was Eydie a hit then or...

LAWRENCE: Well, she had a record out on Coral (ph) called "Frenessy (ph)," which was...

KING: Oh, what a record.

LAWRENCE: ... a good record.

KING: How you hit the note at the end is still...

LAWRENCE: Oh, yes.

KING: ... unknown to me.

GORME: Well, that wasn't even "Frenessy." LAWRENCE: That was -- yes, there was...

GORME: It was "I'll Take Romance."

LAWRENCE: "I'll Take Romance" was the (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

GORME: Well, the Brill building, though, was, like, where everybody met. Everybody did because...

KING: Songwriters and...

GORME: ... well, that was Tin Pan Alley. Everybody...


KING: ... don't remember meeting...

GORME: I do, but he...

LAWRENCE: No, Bob Manning...


LAWRENCE: I said, Hi. And he said, Hey, Steve, this is Eydie. I said, How do you do? At that time, she had her hair in a ponytail. She said, Hello. Ponytail went right in the head. So I said, I'll get him for that. I'll marry her.


KING: So then what happened on the "Tonight" show?

LAWRENCE: So we met on the Steve Allen "Tonight" show. The show at that time was on for an hour and 45 minutes, on 11:15 to 1:00.


KING: ... the local news was 11...

LAWRENCE: Local news was only at that time 15 minutes.

KING: For 15 minutes.

LAWRENCE: There was not that much happening in the world, so...

GORME: We never heard of tape. Everything was live, live, live.

LAWRENCE: So we did the show every night for an hour and 15 minutes, and you were called upon to sing something every night. So I knew, like, about a thousand songs, and I would give -- Friday we had the meeting, and Billy Hogback (ph), who produced the show, said, What do you want to sing next week? So I gave him five songs I wanted to sing the next week. The girl singer who sang on the show, they said, What do you want to sing? She gave him the same songs she just did this past week. He said, You just did those five songs. She says, That's the only five songs I know. KING: Good-bye.

LAWRENCE: He said, You're kidding. He said, No, no, no. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) It takes me weeks to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) They put out a call, and -- and...

GORME: OK, what happened with me was I had just come off -- I always wanted to be a band singer, and of course...

LAWRENCE: And she's been banned in a lot of towns.

GORME: I've been banned, right? And it was the total end. It was the total end of the big band, but -- ...

KING: There were no bands that...

GORME: Yes. I got the last job with the Tex Benneke (ph) band...

KING: You sang with Tex Benneke?

GORME: ... for a whole year before -- yes. And that was the original Glenn Miller...

KING: Right.

GORME: ... band. And it was a very lucky break because I learned -- there was one year that I was on the road.

KING: So you got invited on the "Tonight" show...

GORME: No, I was not invited. I had to audition with Mickey Tagg (ph) playing the piano. And then I came and they said to me, How many solos do you know? And actually, they wanted somebody tall and blond, very much like your gorgeous wife. But it was me, and I knew at the time every standard -- like Steve -- ever written.

KING: So you could sing forever. You're hired.

GORME: That's -- no, I was hired...


LAWRENCE: She can sing forever.

KING: How long did the two you sing on the "Tonight" show?

GORME: Five years.

LAWRENCE: Five years. The show was on local (ph) for about a year-and-a-half...


KING: How did you fall in love? When did this happen?

LAWRENCE: Tuesday. We fell in love Tuesday.


LAWRENCE: Maybe that will be my good (UNINTELLIGIBLE) No, we fell in love. Our romance...

GORME: What "we fell in love"? We did not -- I fell in love.

KING: You fell in love first.

GORME: Absolutely. I came -- he...

KING: You fell in love at the Brill building.

GORME: Well, you see, he was -- at the -- he was already on the show. I mean...

KING: He was a star!

GORME: ... he was singing all over New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. I mean, this man was seen in three states.

KING: He was big. He was big.


LAWRENCE: ... tri-city area.

GORME: My -- I -- we didn't have a TV set yet in the Bronx, and my mother and father were watching it on somebody else's TV set. So it was a little, you know, early on.

KING: So you fell for him.

GORME: Yes, I fell for him.

KING: Did you ask him out?

LAWRENCE: No, it just kind of happened. We had been working together, singing individually on the show. And then...

KING: Did you sing together...


LAWRENCE: Then we started doing duets and...


LAWRENCE: ... blossomed into a...

GORME: You know, it was a very ad lib show. The musicians were all great jazz musicians. Very little music. Usually, there was just an ending and perhaps a beginning. And there was a little wardrobe room. And the wardrobe room was, like, one wardrobe room, which...

LAWRENCE: Much like the one you have here.


GORME: And, you know, you just -- these people -- you get close to them. And I just fell madly in love with him.

KING: Steve Allen was terrific.

GORME: Oh, Steve Allen...


LAWRENCE: I think we both, and everybody that worked with Steve, just learned so much from him.


STEVEN ALLEN, HOST: The big-league teams are all at their spring training headquarters around the country. Let's see what's happening.


LAWRENCE: We just constantly were amazed with the breadth of his talent.

KING: His brilliant...


LAWRENCE: He was a genius. He really was.

KING: More in a minute with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. They're touring. If they're in a city near you, catch them because they're -- by the way, They have a great act. I've seen their -- they have a great act. We'll be right back.


KING: Steve Lawrence was Sidney Liebowitz (ph).

LAWRENCE: That's right.

KING: Sidney, Sidney, Sidney. And Eydie was Eydie Gormazano (ph).



KING: That's Sephardic, right?

GORME: Sephardic. Absolutely. Yes.

LAWRENCE: Yes, but she was born Gorme.

GORME: Well, I was born Gorme... LAWRENCE: When her father came to this country -- and you know, they -- coming into Ellis Island, and the Customs and everybody, so they would make you spell your name. A lot of people, their names were not really their names, it was their occupation, like people like Goldsmith, Silversmith, Blacksmith. Those were occupations. It wasn't a name. So when the guy at Customs said, What's your name? They didn't understand the language. They said, I'm a Goldsmith...

GORME: So my father...

LAWRENCE: ... or a Silversmith. Her father...

GORME: ... said, My name is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Gormazano. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you spell (UNINTELLIGIBLE) going N-E-S-A-Y-H-A, OK, G-O-R-M-A -- That's enough!

LAWRENCE: That's enough. They changed it right there...


LAWRENCE: They became Gorme.

KING: Where were you two married?

LAWRENCE: Right in Las Vegas, at the El Rancho Hotel, which they subsequently burned down in our honor.


LAWRENCE: We were married in '57.

KING: The year I started in broadcasting, you were married.

LAWRENCE: That's right.

GORME: The reason I was laughing when you said you don't remember the proposal (UNINTELLIGIBLE) blah, blah. OK, so I was in Las Vegas playing at the El Rancho, the original El Rancho Vegas, with Joe E. Louis, the great...

KING: Funny.

GORME: ... Joe E. Louis, who took me there as a supporting act.

LAWRENCE: I came out to see her at the El Rancho.

GORME: And he came to see me.

LAWRENCE: And she said, If you don't marry me now, it's over. You got two days.

KING: You gave him a threat?

GORME: Oh, yes.

LAWRENCE: Yes. GORME: And he was...

KING: What, enough is enough, you mean?


KING: You've been going together and...


LAWRENCE: Well, my mother was not too thrilled.

GORME: No. And actually, he was -- you know, it was very -- so...

LAWRENCE: I said, She's got her head in the oven. She says, It's still not done.


GORME: So anyway, he says, OK, we'll do it. And he went down -- he said, I have to go down and get the license. And Las Vegas was such a teeny, tiny...

LAWRENCE: You have to preface this by saying I have always been horrified of needles and...

KING: You had to take the Wasserman test.

LAWRENCE: At that time, the Wasserman test. Had to meet with Eydie and Lou Wasserman.


LAWRENCE: No, no. You had -- you had to take a blood test, and I was -- I was frightened of needles. I really couldn't -- I couldn't take it. So I kept trying to postpone it, which I...


GORME: So he finally...

LAWRENCE: We could have been married 58 years.

GORME: So he came to Vegas on his way to -- it's a very long way to go around, but he got Vegas somehow, and he was actually going to just be there a few days, and he was going with Steve Allen to Havana, to the first big remote that the show was going to do, to Cuba.


LAWRENCE: After we got married. Eydie and I -- so she finally -- she put it to me, you know. So finally, I said, OK, and I went down and got the blood test. We got married, and after two days, I went on my honeymoon with Steve Allen to Cuba.


LAWRENCE: And it was -- Cuba was...

KING: While you worked...


KING: ... in Vegas.

GORME: Yes, I did. But when he came back from downtown, he had forgotten to bring his license, his identification, the $2 for the wedding license. So he came back. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I didn't have my license or anything. So we can't get married.

KING: When did you become...

GORME: So we got married two days later.

KING: When did you become an act?

LAWRENCE: Thursday.

GORME: After he came out of...


LAWRENCE: We got married Tuesday, we...

KING: When did you decide we would be...

LAWRENCE: When I was discharged out of the Army, Eydie and I -- there used to be a club in Washington called the Lotus Club on 14th Street. It was a Chinese restaurant, supper club. And that was first place that we worked together, and it was upstairs, up a flight of stairs...

KING: So on the "Tonight" show, you would sing separately.


GORME: And sometimes do duets.

KING: Yes, but the -- did you then always be an act or did you still go out on your own and you go out on your own?

LAWRENCE: We still did singles.

KING: Singles.

GORME: Well, a year after we started -- the thing was that I felt we really couldn't be separated that much. And I'd had a baby, and I was traveling and working alone while he was in the Army and taking my baby with me everyplace, and it was very difficult, and the phone calls and all of that. I really was very depressed. So I said, Either I'm going to quit and just stay home and be a housewife, or maybe we should, I don't know, try and get something... LAWRENCE: We started working together out of necessity.


KING: It's a great act. There's humor in the act and there's...

GORME: Well, we never rehearsed the first night.

LAWRENCE: No, we never did. We never did. And we still don't.

GORME: We don't!

LAWRENCE: We don't talk about what we're going to do or...

GORME: Ever.

KING: But the music is played.

LAWRENCE: The music is rehearsed.


LAWRENCE: That we're very careful there because we feel that that's very important. We like to present out...

GORME: But then two years later, he went into "What Makes Sammy Run" for two years.

KING: When -- it's not necessarily true that because you have a good voice and you have a good voice, that you would be good together. True?

GORME: That's exactly right.

LAWRENCE: That is true. And I think it really -- the burden was really on Eydie. She has the most extraordinary range. I mean, this woman is like the Ima Sumac of the Bronx.


LAWRENCE: She has, like...

KING: I know.

LAWRENCE: ... three octaves. So she could sing...

KING: "I'll Take Romance"...

LAWRENCE: ... with anybody. I mean, she could sing with me, with Andy Williams, Placido Domingo. She could sing with just about anybody.

GORME: I really, truly always thought it was the other way around. I swear to God.

LAWRENCE: Well, now you know. (CROSSTALK)

GORME: No, he has the most...

KING: He doesn't have more range...

GORME: ... unbelievable range...

KING: ... than you.

GORME: ... for a man that I've ever heard.

LAWRENCE: I have a...

KING: You have a lot of range.

LAWRENCE: I have a bigger than normal range because I started as a choirboy. My dad was a cantor. And when you sing religious music, it doesn't respect -- like, in pop music, it's usually written in an octave and a third or an octave and a fifth. And religious music is written -- you're all over the place, so the intonation is different.

KING: You're a Hasm (ph).

LAWRENCE: Well, I -- my dad could have.

GORME: Could have been.

KING: We'll get a break -- a Hasm is a cantor.

LAWRENCE: That's right.

KING: We'll get a break -- I know a little of this.


KING: We'll be back with Steve and Eydie -- lots to talk about, ups, there's some downs. We'll talk about that, too. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, who have been doing their thing now, singing together as a couple 40...

LAWRENCE: For 40 years.

KING: ... for 40 years as a couple. So you never sing apart now. You won't take a date alone, will you?

GORME: Oh, yes.

LAWRENCE: I do and I have. It's a lot easier for me to get up and out than it is for...

KING: But you were together so the children would be with you?

GORME: That's right.

KING: I remember the kids traveled with you when they were babies.

GORME: Because I don't like schools.

LAWRENCE: They -- Eydie travels with -- we took the kids literally. And she tutored them, and she did a great job and...


KING: ... home school?

GORME: Hotel schooling.

LAWRENCE: They both went into school with a 3.8 and 4.0 average.

GORME: Yes. They had -- after a while, of course, they had to go to school. But when it was kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade -- and we had them in good schools. And I mean, you have to call on all your friends to get them into their schools.

KING: And Michael was first born, right?

LAWRENCE: No, David.

KING: David...

LAWRENCE: David was born in 1960...

GORME: Two years older.

LAWRENCE: ... and Mikey (ph) was born in '62.

KING: Now the tragedy of losing Mikey. We have to discuss that a little because -- part of your life. You were in Atlanta, as I remember, had (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

LAWRENCE: Yes. We were in Atlanta. We left Monday.

KING: He was how old?

LAWRENCE: Michael was 23.

GORME: He was 23.

KING: He died of SIDS? Didn't he die of...

LAWRENCE: It's a disease...


LAWRENCE: It's a disease that happens. It's ventricular fibrillation. It mostly happens with healthy, young, athletic boys. My kid was a seeded tennis player. He was -- never smoked, never drank. He was a great kid. GORME: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

LAWRENCE: Wonderful sense of humor -- five foot eleven, 170 pounds. He was...


GORME: ... and he was working...

LAWRENCE: But he had an occasional skipped beat, which a lot of athletes subsequently were found out...

GORME: And he was a -- he...

KING: But you told me that they told you it was like infant death (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

GORME: You know what it is, is...

LAWRENCE: It's like a combination of that and...


LAWRENCE: It was several things. You know...

KING: How did they -- how did you learn of it?

LAWRENCE: We were in Atlanta. We left...

KING: Working?

LAWRENCE: Monday. Monday morning. We said...

GORME: He was fine.

LAWRENCE: ... Good-bye, Mike. He was making a sandwich.

GORME: He was on his way to work.

LAWRENCE: And we left Monday. And we were booked at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

KING: Big theater.

LAWRENCE: We did the show Tuesday.

KING: Where "Gone With the Wind" opened.

LAWRENCE: Yes. And then, Wednesday morning, on February 5th, we got that horrible call.

KING: Who called?

LAWRENCE: The doctor who took care of Michael and the family doctor. GORME: Michael had had an echocardiogram and all of that stuff because in order to -- he was at Cal State Northridge, and he was a competition tennis player, a seeded tennis player. So the last one that he was doing -- for insurance reasons, the school had given him an exam, and Stevie took him to the echo. They said, yes, he has a slight arrhythmia, but he's so strong. And you know, he was a karate and a thing -- We think he'll outgrow it and...

LAWRENCE: Subsequently, there have been a lot of very athletic, like, basketball players who just...

GORME: They just drop.

LAWRENCE: ... went down on the court, and football players. It seems to happen to...

GORME: You hear of young...

LAWRENCE: ... young children or young people over the age of...

KING: How do you deal with it?

GORME: You don't.

LAWRENCE: You don't.

GORME: What, deal?

LAWRENCE: You just -- you don't deal with it, you just go on as best you can. And fortunately, we all held on...

KING: It took you...

LAWRENCE: ... very strong.

KING: ... a long time to get over it.

GORME: I never did.

LAWRENCE: We're still not over it. You never get over it.


LAWRENCE: It's not a cold. You don't ever get over that. You just...

KING: So you think about it all the time? I mean, every day.

GORME: All the time.

LAWRENCE: Well, you do, and it's -- it's...

KING: You got to go on.

LAWRENCE: It's a different part of your head. Sometimes...

KING: You told me also you tended to envelope David.

LAWRENCE: David and I and...

KING: And Eydie...


LAWRENCE: We all held on very closely to each other, and for a while, David traveled on the road with the two of us. He played piano.

GORME: After he graduated.

LAWRENCE: After he graduated conservatory in New York.

GORME: Because he only graduated a month after -- it was very hard for him.

LAWRENCE: And he's...

GORME: It was very hard for all of us, but it's still very hard. And he's -- the anniversary of his death just passed, and every single one of his friends, still -- after all these years...

LAWRENCE: He was a -- he was a...

GORME: ... they still hold...

LAWRENCE: ... sensational kid. He was...

GORME: ... a party...

LAWRENCE: In his honor.

GORME: ... in his honor.


KING: He'd be how old?

LAWRENCE: He'd be 40 -- going to be 41 in May.

GORME: Yes. But it's unbelievable...

KING: Sinatra sent his plane for you, right?


GORME: Well, the thing is that we took the plane to New York to get David.

LAWRENCE: We were in Atlanta, and then we had to pick up David, so we flew to pick up David in New York...


KING: What a flight that must have been.

GORME: Yes. Because David was not quite graduated yet in New York.

KING: What kept you going? Because we would imagine in life -- I've had to talk to people who've lost a child, and it's totally unnatural. You know, it ain't supposed to happen.

LAWRENCE: It's the most...


LAWRENCE: ... horrendous thing...

GORME: Well, we had...

LAWRENCE: ... that could ever happen to anybody. And you find -- you find -- I mean, the early part of it, Eydie and I, we were going to psychics. We were going to people who could contact -- we went to the priests, the rabbis, to everybody. And there's -- you can't -- you can't get answers (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I read every book that they sent, "When Good Things Happen" -- or "Bad Things Happen to Good People" and -- all that...

KING: Didn't help you?


LAWRENCE: Not really.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is just time, right? I mean...

LAWRENCE: Time is probably a good friend.

KING: How long before you went back on stage?

GORME: Oh, about a year.

LAWRENCE: Close to a year.

KING: What was that first night back like?

LAWRENCE: A lot of trepidation, a lot of nervousness. But after we were on, the audience -- I don't know. I'm sure they knew what we had been through, and they really made us feel terrific.

KING: David was with you, I think, right.

LAWRENCE: David was with us, yes. Yes. It was -- it was terrific. And of course, you know, now you seem to cling to the wonderful things that...

KING: Memories.

LAWRENCE: The memories that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) You know, it's -- you go on. You go on as best you can. You hang on to those you love. And we have a lot of good friends and a lot of wonderful family and...

GORME: We were such a great unit.

LAWRENCE: You know, he was -- he was also...

KING: The four of us.


LAWRENCE: He was writing and he was a film editor and he was producing...

GORME: Terrific.

LAWRENCE: ... for Whit Thomas House (ph) Productions, so he really had a bright future. And the kid was...

GORME: He was a great actor.

KING: I remember you telling me you were angry.



LAWRENCE: And a lot of times, I still am. I can't -- I'm -- I was angry at everything I grew up believing in. And I was very angry at God. I was brought up in a very religious, orthodox home.

KING: Oh, your father...

LAWRENCE: This was a big test for me. But you know, you...

KING: Did you get your faith back?

LAWRENCE: Not totally.

KING: You?

GORME: I wasn't that faithful, to begin with, so...

KING: Whatever you had ain't there.

GORME: I beg your pardon?

KING: Whatever you had ain't there.


LAWRENCE: No, you go on. People (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

KING: We'll be right back. We'll change the tone. Steve and Eydie next -- by the way, they're touring again. What are you calling this?

LAWRENCE: "One More for the Road." GORME: "One More for the Road."

KING: "One More for the Road."

LAWRENCE: Remember the song?

KING: Sure.


KING: But knowing you're Steve and Eydie, the one more for the road will be two more for the road.


KING: You'll be out next year. We'll be right back.


GORME: You know, Steve, Irving Berlin wrote the song you sang for me on our very first date.

LAWRENCE: Yes. (SINGING) Better luck next time...


GORME: Oh, come on. Don't you remember? When we were saying good night and you your arms around me and you sang me a love song.

LAWRENCE: A love song? Oh, yes. (SINGING) I love a piano (ph)...

GORME: No, that wasn't it.



KING: We're back with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. You're touring -- this tour is right through all of next year?


LAWRENCE: Yes. We are...

KING: Through 2004.

LAWRENCE: We are booked out to 2004. We've had a lot of wonderful requests from a lot of people.

KING: Who's the audience?

LAWRENCE: Our audience is people that we grew up with, and they used to bring their kids. I think their kids came in...


GORME: ... changing!

LAWRENCE: They brought them in kicking and screaming.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) What are we going here?

LAWRENCE: No, I mean, they're -- you know, they're older and they're bringing their kids in. So it was very flattering.

GORME: No. Now we have an audience that is so...

LAWRENCE: Eclectic?

GORME: Very eclectic.

KING: That is the word. You mean they're 18 and...

GORME: Oh, yes!


LAWRENCE: It's incredible. And we're thrilled to see them.

GORME: ... big, tremendous fans. And then there's 80 years...

KING: Did you ever have your own television show?

LAWRENCE: I did in 1965. I was the last television show in black and white on CBS. Walter Cronkite was in color. I was still -- everybody. I was on. The last variety show on CBS in black and white. That was in 1960.

KING: I worked at the local affiliate in Miami, Channel 4. I remember when we went to color. Because NBC had a three-year lead, right?


KING: They had color for three years.

Did Eydie guest on your show?

LAWRENCE: Yes. She was on the last show, and it was just the two of us alone.

GORME: I was in color.

KING: You did Carol Burnett, right? You were regular with her.

LAWRENCE: I was probably the most -- an irregular regular. I probably did more guest shots on that show than anybody.

KING: Why was that fun to do? LAWRENCE: Well, I knew Carol. We were friends in New York. And we always had a very good working relationship, a good personal relationship. And we had a great comic relationship.

Carol and I did a take-off of just about every film that was in the '30s, the '40s and the '50s.


LAWRENCE: I'm getting out of here.


LAWRENCE: I'm limping out of here.

BURNETT: Don't leave.

LAWRENCE: Ms. Steadman. Ms. Steadman! Ms. Steadman! There's something you should know.


LAWRENCE: The bullet hit me.


LAWRENCE: A lot young people that come to our shows, some of them are shocked to learn that I sing. I mean, they know me from the Carol Burnett syndicated comedy shows.


KING: Are you secretly a comic?

LAWRENCE: Probably buried down in there somewhere is a comic. I think -- we were talking earlier that probably the most rewarding feeling in the world is being on stage and doing or saying something where you have multitudes laugh. If you can make people laugh, especially today, there's nothing like it.

KING: What were you paid on "The Tonight Show"?

GORME: I ended up at the end of the week with 90 bucks.

LAWRENCE: I was making $275. Then I went to 300. Well, you know.

KING: $300 was big money.

LAWRENCE: Yes. I'd used to -- When I'd bring my money home to my mother, it was a great thing. Because we had an icebox at that time.

KING: Sure.

LAWRENCE: And my job, being the youngest in the family, there was a basin under the icebox where the water dripped. My job was to empty the basin, and put it back.

So when I'd come home from the club and I'd get money, I would take the bills and put it in the icebox. So when my mother would open it, she'd say, "Oh, money. What's that?"

I said, "It's cold cash." So this became, like, a family joke, and as I started to do better and make more money, we had to buy a refrigerator.

KING: Was Steve more ambitious than you? You were a mother, so you had the...

GORME: You mean after -- well, before we got married, I had tremendous ambition. Once we got married and I started having children, then I just thought that that was my real life. And Steve would handle it. You know? And, yes, I'll say that Steve was definitely more ambitious than I.

KING: You had hit records, too. So you were...

GORME: Oh, yes.

KING: What was your biggest hit? "I'll Take Romance"?

LAWRENCE: Probably.

GORME: No, that was my first big hit.

LAWRENCE: "Blame it on the Bossa Nova" in overall sales was the biggest record.

GORME: I had a lot of what they call...

LAWRENCE: Turntable hits.

GORME: ... turntable hits. A lot of them.


GORME (singing): Blame it on the bossa nova, that magic sound. Blame it on the bossa nova, that it did so well.


KING: They were hits?

LAWRENCE: Meaning disk jockeys would play it like it was a hit record. They loved it.

KING: They loved Edye.

LAWRENCE: "I'll Take Romance," "Too Close for Comfort." She had tons of records.

GORME: But the reason a lot of the reasons and a lot of nominations lots of nominations. LAWRENCE: You won a Grammy.

GORME: Yes. But the reason, I think, that the sales, perhaps -- because the companies that I was -- that I was singing for at the time like when I did "If You Walked Into my Life," which was the Grammy -- But I was being dropped from Columbia right after I got -- they were changing their policy. And I went to the next, which is RCA. They were changing management. Went to MGM, changing management.

LAWRENCE: Went out of business.

GORME: So a lot of the stuff which is really great stuff fell between the tracks. And as a result, Steve and I for the past two years...

LAWRENCE: We got back most of the masters that we had recorded over the years.

KING: You own them?

LAWRENCE: Yes. And now we've digitalized them, remastered them.


LAWRENCE: We're into the 21st Century.


KING: People can punch up, they can order them?

LAWRENCE: Yes, punch up SteveAndEydie.


KING: "Steve Lawrence Sings Sinatra."


LAWRENCE (singing): Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars.


LAWRENCE: This is a brand new...

KING: Produced by your son?

LAWRENCE: Yes. David produced this and conducted this 40-piece orchestra.

KING: All of Frank's hits?

LAWRENCE: All of Frank's hits. And there are copies of his, which he gave me, his arrangements. The original. KING: Billy May.

LAWRENCE: Little Costa (ph), Billy May, Bill Byers (ph), Quincy Jones. It's all those wonderful orchestrations that we grew up hearing and loving. And I just thought the time was right and Elliot Wisener (ph), who manages us and his son has alliance distributors. They thought it would be time to do it. And we said, OK.

Half the guys on the tape played on Frank's original record. They weren't even looking at the music.

KING: One of the times I interviewed Sinatra and asked what I thought about he did that was he special. And he said he doesn't know. He says, "Because when I listen to Steve Lawrence, or I listen to Tony Bennett, they're just as good as me. I don't know what I'm doing different. They're just as good."

LAWRENCE: He was very shy about accepting compliments. I mean...

KING: What was it -- what was it about him, that one singer?

LAWRENCE: Frank was probably -- well, he came along as a time when he was responsible for changing the interpretation of 32 bars of music. He instinctively, I mean, he was not a graduate of Harvard or Yale, But his instinct and approach to music was so terrific and so unique at that time, where he made it a little screenplay, instead of singing "it had to be you, it had to be you," he would take the liberty of phrasing it where he made it -- he personalized it and it could be...

KING: His voice wasn't necessarily better.

LAWRENCE: He had a very distinctive voice.

KING: A good voice.

LAWRENCE: But the fact that he took that now and he became a storyteller.

KING: Did he affect you then?

LAWRENCE: Yes. Because he...

KING: He affected all of you?

LAWRENCE: He opened that new window for all of us who came after him.

KING: More in a minute. We'll be right back with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, touring as -- Steve's new album is "Steve Lawrence Sings Sinatra." And you can knock into Eydie and -- what is it?


KING: and order any album they ever made in their life. We'll be right back.



LAWRENCE: Are you blackmailing me, Jake?

JOHN BELUSHI, ACTOR: If you want to put it that way. Boy, we need this gig.

DAN AYKROYD, ACTOR: We're on a mission from God.

BELUSHI: You get us the hall, Maury, and I guarantee we'll pack them in from miles around. What do you say?

LAWRENCE: OK. I'll get you the Palace Hotel. I'll print up show bills. I'll make the place look real pretty, OK? I don't think you guys are going to gross dollar one, but if you do I want a taste of the game, OK?

BELUSHI: Thanks, Maury. Let's go, boys.


KING: We're back with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. You were in the "Blues Brothers" movie, too? Right?

LAWRENCE: Yes. I was in that with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.

KING: Did you have fun doing that?

LAWRENCE: Yes. I loved it. As a matter of fact, you know, it's a funny thing about that, that it has developed into a great big cult.

GORME: It's a cult.

LAWRENCE: But Eydie and I were booked, doing some concerts in Japan, walking through the -- they didn't know us by face.

They go, "Oh, 'Blues Brothers!'"

GORME: Maury Sline!

LAWRENCE: Maury Sline.

KING: Maury Sline.

LAWRENCE: That was my name.

And you were both in "Oceans 11," right?

GORME: Yes. Sure.

KING: The new version.

LAWRENCE: The new one. KING: The newer, newer one.

Did Frank have an affect on females?

GORME: Well...

KING: Drove them crazy.

GORME: ... all through life...

LAWRENCE: I'm glad you cleared that up.

GORME: That, too. You see, Frank -- no. The thing with Frank, in my case, when people say who was your -- right? I only had -- no my favorite was Sarah Vaughn. I idolized Sarah Vaughn and Frank Sinatra.

So even though, I mean, to me and I still think that -- in my life, I learned my phrasing from Frank. I loved him so much that I don't see why a female can't and I do. I think I'm probably...

KING: You said he told a story, right?


KING: He told me he felt everything he sings. He thought about the lyrics.

LAWRENCE: Yes. He thought about it and he thought about how he wanted to tell that person that story. Regardless if there was, like, 2, 3, 5, 10,000 people out there. Suddenly, it became an intimate room. He was singing to one person. And there was 9,000 people listening.

KING: What's it like to sing the songs with his -- own arrangements?

LAWRENCE: It's a thrill. It's a treat. And he said to me, you know, "Stevie, I know how much you love this music." And he wanted it to continue on. And he said, "I know how much you love this music, and you're one of the few younger kids who can do this almost as good as me." So he said, "I want you to take this stuff with you wherever you go."

KING: He gave it to you?

LAWRENCE: Keep the music playing, yes.

KING: What happens to your voice as you get older? Your voice?

GORME: Well, my voice right now, hey, listen. I don't know how long it's going to last. But right now, my voice is better than ever...

KING: Better?

GORME: Right now, at this point, it's better. It changed.

KING: Does it hit all the same ranges?

GORME: Oh, yes. In fact, I have better low notes than I had before. My really, really, really high ones, maybe one tone lower.




BURNETT: Eydie? Eydie, we have one more song to do.

DAVIS: Eydie, would you care to join us?


GORME: Richer.

KING: Better?

LAWRENCE: I think so. I think...

GORME: Listen to this.

LAWRENCE: Yes. I think -- again. Here my lower notes are fuller, better quality, more timbre.

GORME: Frank loves his low notes.

LAWRENCE: Tony Bennett said to me, "I'll give you $100 for your low notes." I said, "I'll give it to you back for your high notes."

I think it's hard to say whether we feel we're better. It's, like, you like to think you're a bottle of wine: with experience and age you get better. But I think it's really an audience who...

KING: Is there anything you -- that you think I can't do this? I used to be able to do this. I can't do this. You know, does that happen to you? Is there a song?

LAWRENCE: Oh, you're talking about songs. I thought maybe...

KING: No. I can't do this. Oh, you were thinking -- Oh, oh, oh. No, no, no. It's a family show.

LAWRENCE: I can't fix a car. No. I don't know. If I can't do it, I wouldn't do it.

KING: Nothing where you say, well, I can't hit that note anymore? I can't sing that song.

GORME: Not yet.

LAWRENCE: I will attempt as much as I can vocally, and I really stretch myself as far as...

GORME: As far as the question is concerned, I think this is why we're doing this One More for the Road tour. But it was like Frank, you know. And we were with Frank as part of his very last tour.

LAWRENCE: Spent a year with him traveling on the road. He's incredible.

GORME: And, he says, this is it because every place -- we had been with him...

KING: You were with him in the tough times, right? He was reading the lyrics off a prompter?

LAWRENCE: Yes. But there are younger people than Frank who are reading off of prompters. I don't want to name names.

GORME: Not just prompters. They're as big as this room.

LAWRENCE: There are younger people who are in the pop world genre and the rock genre who are reading off them, and they never say anything about that.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with some other bases to touch before you leave us tonight and go on with One More on The Road. What was it like to tour with Frank?

LAWRENCE: It was incredible. It was absolutely incredible. We went to literally all over the world with Frank. We spent a year with him. And no matter where Frank Sinatra went in the world, they knew him. I mean, for more than six decades, he sang to grandparents, great-grandparents, children.

GORME: He made 62 movies.

KING: How long did you two go on stage before he came on?

LAWRENCE: We did about 45, 50 minutes before and then there was intermission. And then Frank came on after intermission. He did an hour or better. Called us back. We did a medley with him and they we said, "You finish up." You know, we loved him. It was great.

KING: You were the first person who played craps in Atlantic City?

LAWRENCE: I threw the first dice out, and...

KING: Were you working there at the time?

LAWRENCE: No. We opened resorts. We opened gambling, Eydie and I... KING: Singing there?

LAWRENCE: Yes. And I'd cut the ribbon at 10 a.m. in the morning, and they gave me a pair of dice to throw out. This was the first pair of dice thrown out in Atlantic City. And I threw a five. If you're ever on jeopardy, this is a good thing to remember. What's the first number that they threw in -- Number five. And we have been going back for 25 years. I have not made my point.

GORME: Not just there.

LAWRENCE: Not just there either.

KING: You recorded in -- You recorded in Spanish, right?

GORME: I made a lot of records.

LAWRENCE: Her Spanish records outsold her English records.

KING: And they sell in South America?

GORME: All over the world. All over the world.

LAWRENCE: And when we go to Mexico, South America, they don't know who I am. They -- When we get off the plane, like, in Mexico, they have trios meeting her at the airport. "Eydie Gorme and Mel Torme!" And they play.

GORME: But even in Japan...

KING: "Blame it on the Bossa Nova" was your biggest hit? Seriously.

GORME: I think so.

LAWRENCE: I don't know but I think so.

"Go Away Little Girl."


LAWRENCE (singing): Go away little girl. I'm not supposed to be alone with you.


LAWRENCE: I think it was my number one gold record.

KING: What about "Little Blue Eyes"?

LAWRENCE: "Little Blue Eyes," "Poetry of my Love," "Footsteps." I had a number of little ones...

KING: Did you succumb, either of you, to rock?

LAWRENCE: No. Still haven't. KING: Never did it? Never.

GORME: We made one record recently, but we didn't do it the way the record -- they came to us and...

LAWRENCE: Oh, yes. Disney came to us. They were doing a "Loungapalooza" type of album, and they asked us to do a song that was made popular by Soundgarden, which is a heavy metal rock group. And they sent the CD -- and said, "would you" -- And this is when I was considering recording this. And I said, "Are you talking about us, Steve and Eydie?" They said, "We want you to do it in your own way."

GORME: Like a Don Costa style arrangement.

LAWRENCE: We did it. "Black Hole Sun."

KING: "Black Hole Sun"?

LAWRENCE: That was the name of the song. "Black Hole Sun"?


LAWRENCE: That's what I said when I heard it.

GORME: The song is...

LAWRENCE: Beautiful orchestration.

KING: How does it go?

GORME: I don't know.


SOUNDGARDEN, MUSICIANS (singing): Black hole sun, won't you come, and wash away the rain...

LAWRENCE AND GORME (singing): ... rain. Black hole sun, won't you come, won't you come...


GORME: It's wonderful young people came into Las Vegas with kerchiefs around their head, and I say "What is this going to be?" And you can't believe, the most wonderful, talented kids.

LAWRENCE: They were brilliant.

GORME: ... came in. Wonderful harmony. Taught us the whole thing, and we did it as a ballad instead of, you know...

KING: There are no more two-week engagements anymore, like there used to be?

GORME: What's two weeks? You do six weeks.

KING: Vegas is different, right?

GORME: Oh, boy.

LAWRENCE: They call it now a destination resort. It's family oriented. And all the shows there are predominantly big production and, you know, magic and things like that. So the day of the stand-up single performer or performers in Vegas...

KING: Gone.

LAWRENCE: Very few and far between.

KING: You have to tour? You have to be a big name to tour.


GORME: Well, we played, you know...

LAWRENCE: Fortunately, we...

GORME: We played theaters that were venues. And we played large -- we played large -- yes.

KING: Who else does major venues?

GORME: I think -- well, Andy's got his own theater.

KING: Andy Williams.

GORME: He's so happy, you know.

KING: But he doesn't tour.

GORME: He doesn't want to.

KING: Who else is touring other than you and Tony?

LAWRENCE: Well, Vic Damone, unfortunately, they said he's retiring. Jack Jones is still around.

KING: Jack doesn't play big venues?

LAWRENCE: He plays nice sized places.

GORME: Robert Goulet, maybe.

LAWRENCE: Robert Goulet.

GORME: But he also does a lot of Broadway.

KING: Did you ever do theater, Broadway?

GORME: Sure. And then we did big shows.

LAWRENCE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Which received the New York Drama Critics Award. And then we did... GORME: "Golden Rainbow."

LAWRENCE: And then we did "Golden Rainbow" for two years. Based on "A Hole in the Head," Frank's...

KING: What makes -- but it wasn't a musical?

LAWRENCE: It was a dramatic musical.

GORME: And of course, "Golden Rainbow" was great. We were at the Schubert Theater for two years. And we were the first act. I'll call it an act to after the show do an after show tape. The people were...

KING: Came on stage...

LAWRENCE: When the show finished and the curtain was down and were taking applause and we're still taking applause, so we said, "Well, if you want to stay a while," and we did, like, about 20 minutes after.

GORME: You know how you go to the theater and before the show is over, see the people going for the -- people never left the theater. And then we realized, why? Because they were -- and we had to sing it. It was great.

KING: What is the secret to the longevity of this marriage?


LAWRENCE: Saran wrap.

KING: Saran wrap?

LAWRENCE: Larry, you know, I just -- I'm very thankful that Eydie and I, not only do we have a great love, and a great friendship. I think a relationship either works or doesn't. I can't verbalize what -- it's like a friendship.

GORME: I admire him a lot.

KING: Do you like him?

GORME: I adore him but I really, really admire him a lot. He's just one of the most admirable, honest -- I won't say brilliant, because I don't know who's brilliant. He's very bright and...

KING: He's a mensch?

GORME: He sure is. And you don't need a contract with Steve to -- a handshake will do. And he's just a wonderful person.

LAWRENCE: It's -- I think, also, you have to work at it. I think if you both feel that there's something of value there you have to...

KING: Did you ever have...

LAWRENCE: We're married people, you know? We fight and -- one of the best shows we ever had was on the heels of an argument in the dressing room.

GORME: But the one I think has been the most important aspect is that Steve and I have never, ever had in-depth conversations.

KING: On that note -- thank you very much.

By the way, this has been -- I don't know how to say this marriage is shaky. This has been the highlight of their life.

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. They're on tour. Steve's album, the new one, is "Steve Lawrence Sings Sinatra."

I'll be back in a minute. Thank you.


GORME: The things we did this summer, we'll remember...

LAWRENCE: We'll remember...

GORME: Honey, let's not look back any more.

LAWRENCE: Yes, you're right. Let's look ahead. A bright future. Sure thing, Mrs. Lawrence. You know, there's no sense looking back when there's so much to look forward to out there, you know.



KING: We hope you enjoined Steve and Edye tonight. Again, they're going home with memories of this as the highlight of their life. Sinatra's second. This was number one. You never know.

"NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown is next. We'll see you tomorrow night with another edition of "LARRY KING LIVE." Thanks for joining us and goodnight.


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