There’s a lot of cheering going on this week. There’s also a huge parade taking place every day. My friend of many, many years is arriving. Eydie Gorme is back doing what she does best—singing for the greatest audience in the galaxy. She is in perfect pitch. She can run across the stage. And, what is so neat about this particular stage, many of her buddies are there – The Chairman of the Board (Frank Sinatra) is leading the cheering section. Another one of her buddies, and the guy who discovered and brought Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme to television, Steve Allen, had the biggest smile as he sat down at the ivories and hit the first note of, “Blame It on the Bossa Nova.”
Steve and Eydie’s beloved son, Michael, who is still only 23, awaits his mother’s arrival. The “A” chorus has been assembled just for her arrival: Enrico Caruso and Lauritz Melchior are warming up; Bing and Bob Crosby are standing casually as the rest of the “Rat Pack” arrives (Sammy Davis and Dean Martin), Louis Armstrong is smiling, as Hoagy Carmichael sits down at an old up-right piano. Ella Fitzgerald and Robert Goulet have arrived. That’s just a few of the chorus members who will be singing in honor of their newest addition. It’s a glorious day in the Land of Golden Clouds; Eydie Gorme has officially been inducted into Gods Chorus. The Angels have taken her in their arms and gently sat her down center stage. Bob Hope and Jack Benny have brought her the golden microphone and her favorite slippers.
This writer met Eydie Gorme when I first came to Las Vegas with Joe Louis, the former heavyweight champion of the world. The year, I believe, was around 1961-62, and Joe was going to perform with Pearl Bailey at the Flamingo Hotel. That was the first time I saw Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme perform live. After I moved to Vegas in 1965, I would always try and go watch them as they opened and closed a number of casino showrooms on the Strip. That was one of their standing jokes—the two, who incidentally loved to tell jokes, and most of the time it was banter between them about them. One thing I learned over the years, they would always have separate dressing rooms so they wouldn’t see each other until they walked out on stage—that way the jokes would be fresh about what maybe occurred at home during the day, or something along that line. The pair were perfect foils for each other.
What I truly loved about Steve and Eydie was how they loved the great songs of the past—The Great American Songbook and the men and women who created the music. They loved the music so much, they performed three television specials dedicated to three of the greats – George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin, which garnered them a bunch of Emmy and Grammy Awards.
The final show for the pair in Las Vegas was a very special night. It was in October, 2006, and was the final performance for anyone on the wonderful stage of the grand showroom at the Stardust Hotel. Steve and Eydie were magnificent that evening. The room was filled to the rafters with celebrities from every walk of life. A few of them have since joined that special chorus I talked about earlier.
I would on occasion run into Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence as they dined out at various restaurants in town. I communicated with Eydie a lot via email – she loved the internet and talking to her fans and friends.
No one will miss Eydie Gorme like her partner of 59 years, Steve. Vincent Falcone, who has been their conductor for a great many of those years, was devastated when I talked to him the other evening. It’s so hard on those who are left behind, but like Vince said, now she is in peace and the pain is gone. Her surviving son, David, was at her bedside when she took that last breath of life on this earth.
Rest in Peace and Love my friend, Eydie Gorme: August 16, 1928 – August 10, 2013.