Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme
Steve Lawrence and Eydie GormeReuters/IMAGO/MediaPunch

Jewish singer Steve Lawrence, remembered for his work both as a solo performer and in tandem with his wife Eydie Gorme, died on Thursday at the age of 88, according to The Associated Press.

Lawrence, whose hits included “Go Away Little Girl,” died from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease, said Susan DuBow, a spokesperson for the family.

Lawrence and Gorme, who were known as Steve & Eydie, made frequent appearances on talk shows, in night clubs and on the stages of Las Vegas. The duo took inspiration from George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and other songwriters.

Although Lawrence and Gorme were best known as a team, both also had huge solo hits just months apart in the early 1960s.

Lawrence had his first hit in 1962 with the ballad “Go Away Little Girl,” written by the Brill Building songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Gorme scored a hit a year later with “Blame It on the Bossa Nova”.

Born Sidney Liebowitz in New York City’s borough of Brooklyn, Lawrence was the son of a Jewish cantor who worked as a house painter. He began singing in his father’s synagogue choir at the age of 8, moving on to bars and clubs by his mid-teens. He took his name from the first names of two nephews.

He launched his professional singing career at age 15. After two failed auditions for “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” TV show, he was accepted on the third try, going on to win the competition and the prize of appearing on Godfrey’s popular daytime radio show for a week.

King Records, impressed by Lawrence’s voice, signed him to a contract. His first record, “Poinciana,” sold more than 100,000 copies.

After several guest appearances on Steve Allen’s television show, Lawrence was hired as a regular. When the program became NBC’s “Tonight” in 1954, he went with it, singing and exchanging quips with Allen. The series set the pattern for the long-running “The Tonight Show.”

Early in the series’ run, Gorme, whose original name was Edith Gormezano and who was the daughter of Sephardic Jewish parents, joined the cast. After singing together for four years, she and Lawrence were married in 1957.

Until Gorme’s death, in 2013, they remained popular, whether working together in concert or making separate TV appearances.

Lawrence and Gorme had two sons, David, a composer, and Michael, who died of heart failure in 1986 at age 23.