We lost a friend a few days ago. There will be, however, a Celebration of Life for Steve Rossi this Friday, June 27, from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the St. Joseph Husband of Mary Catholic Church, 7260 W. Sahara Ave. Steve’s life will be celebrated with his personal Priest Father Ron, and is open to the public, according to the host of the event, Christine Kramar, Rossi’s personal assistant.
I would like to say a personal farewell to my friend of more than 50 years. I first met Steve and his partner, Marty Allen, in the ‘60s, when I was working with the former Heavyweight Champion of the World, Joe Louis in Los Angeles. The two were at the top of their game, and were about to sign a three picture contract with one of the major film studios in Los Angeles. Joe was appearing on an interview show the same day as Steve and Marty. Not sure, but I think it was Steve Allen’s variety show (after he left the Tonight Show). When I moved to Las Vegas in 1965, I had the opportunity of seeing them often over the years. Steve was always the gentleman, while Marty would always have a new joke to tell me. I enjoyed knowing Steve Rossi and seeing him now and then.
“It is my honor and privilege that Steve Rossi entrusted me with helping his wife, Karma, and family at this difficult time. Steve wrote extensive notes on how to honor his memory and to care for his wife and children,” Kramar said. Now, on to Ms. Kramar’s story just as she wrote it:
It was the greatest job of my life to work for Mr. Rossi since we met on the radio show I produced, “Date Night in Vegas.” Steve was a demanding yet supportive and inspiring boss. Our friendship grew so that my family got to know him well. Steve was always working on the next big thing. He also enjoyed sharing memories of his life. Over the last four years he was able to reconnect with many old friends via his website and social media accounts. I will always be grateful for the many ways Steve encouraged me. I always blushed when he introduced me as the “Vice President of International Operations” for his entertainment company. I miss Steve dearly and know I owe him a great debt of gratitude in my future endeavors for the love, trust, and faith he held in me.
About Steve Rossi:
Steve Rossi was half of the world famous comedy team of Allen and Rossi. At the age of six, he appeared in Going My Way with Bing Crosby, The Jolson Story and over 30 movies. At 16, Steve received a scholarship to The University of Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, arts and theater and in Latin and Greek. In 1954 Steve co-starred with Mae West in her sold out concerts all over America. Steve served in the United States Air Force both in the reserve unit at Loyola Marymount University, and on active duty at Parks Air Force base. He was discharged from the service in May 1957 with the rank of Second Lieutenant. He served as a personnel officer. Throughout his career, active duty military were always given free admission to his shows. Rossi teamed up with Marty Allen in 1957, where they became America’s #1 comedy team. They appeared on over 700 television shows including 44 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, three of which were with the Beatles in 1964. Other shows he guest starred on were Perry Como, Dean Martin, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Allen and Rossi were also regular guests stars on “What’s My Line“, “Hollywood Squares“, “Password,” and numerous other game shows. They also starred in several Paramount films notably, “The Last of the Secret Agents,” with Nancy Sinatra and Ed Sullivan as guest stars. The film is shown worldwide and has been the movie of the week on Showtime, HBO, Cinemax and 11 appearances (a record) on American Movie Classics, most recently, September 21, 1999. Steve Rossi produced and starred in The 25th Anniversary Allen and Rossi Special with special guest stars Engelbert Humperdinck, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., Don Rickles, Phyllis Diller, Redd Foxx, Martin Sheen, Rich Little, Jack Jones, and Tony Orlando. Steve produced 11 comedy albums and eight singing albums on such labels as RCA and Columbia. Steve sold 2 million copies of his hit record “More”, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
On May 20, 1999, Steve Rossi was inducted into the Show Business Legends Hall of Fame at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. In 1999, Steve celebrated his 50th year in show business. Steve continued to work up until his death on June 22, 2014. He enjoyed writing with his friend, Rich Little, and stopping by Pia’s Place inside Piero’s Restaurant to belt out a few tunes. He was proud to make Las Vegas his home. No other place in the world could he be surrounded by so many lovely and talented people who cared for him in his sunset years. In his later years Steve continued to enjoy attending performances throughout Las Vegas. The last year of his life he performed at charity benefits and continued to write every single day. We will remember Steve for the bold and beautiful life he enjoyed on this earth. At the end of his life he was diagnosed with cancer which had spread to several areas of his body. Due to his age, and weakened condition, there were no treatment options available. Steve reached the brave decision with the support of his wife, family, and friends to enter hospice care. He lived only 10 days after his diagnosis. Steve’s family would like to thank Infinity Hospice Care of Nevada for their tremendous support during this difficult and confusing time. The end of his life he had the blessing of time to say goodbye to those he loved, and we had the gift to know how much we are loved.
Schedule of Events
- 1:00 – 1:45 p.m. Visitation and Presentation of memories from dear friends of Steve Rossi.
- 1:45 – 2:00 p.m. Reflection and Prayer.
- 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Celebration of Life with Father Ron. Steve had spoken with his Priest, Father Ron, about his final wishes for his service and sought a traditional Catholic service.
- 3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Travel to Graveside Service. Steve’s final resting place is at Palm Eastern Cemetery, 7600 S Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, NV. 89123 or call (702) 464-8500.
- 4:00p.m. Graveside Service
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
Don’t forget the very important tribute show taking place this Sunday, at 3:00 p.m. in the Gordie Brown Theater at the Golden Nugget, downtown, honoring our good friend, Bill Acosta. As previously mentioned in my column last week, producer Nelson Sardelli has obtained the services of not only Gordie, but Rich Little and Bob Anderson. Tickets are all $45.00, and every cent of the ticket price will go directly to Bill. There are no complimentary tickets for this very special event. See ya there.
Well, gang, another great entertainer has left our earth.
I will miss Steve Rossi.
I’m outa here!