A singer and actor who was a huge pop star in the ’50s and ’60s has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. People reports that Steve Lawrence, who was half of the musical duo Steve and Eydie with his late wife Eydie Gorme, discussed the diagnosis in a letter released by his spokesman Howard Bragman.
“Dear Friends, There have been a number of rumors and some press reaching out to me and I feel it’s important that I tell my own truth,” Lawrence says in the letter. “I have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s in the early stages. I am being treated with medications under the supervision of some of the finest doctors in the field. Fortunately, they have managed to slow down this horrific process. I’m living my life, going out in public and trying to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends while I am still able to engage and enjoy.”
Lawrence, 83, adds in the letter: “I want my beloved fans to know that in spite of this bittersweet moment, what I don’t want is pity or sympathy — I have lived and am living a wonderful, joyous life filled with love, support, and amazing moments. With my beloved Eydie, I had one of the great loves of all time; my career has always been there for me as a source of joy and fulfillment; and you, my fans, have shown immeasurable love and support in ways I only could have imagined.”
Lawrence notched a string of pop hits including “Go Away Little Girl,” which topped the charts in 1962. His other hits included “Party Doll” (1957), “Pretty Blue Eyes” (1959), “Footsteps” (1960) and “Portrait of My Love” (1961).
He was a fixture on NBC’s “Tonight Show” going back to the Steve Allen days in the mid-1950s, and has appeared regularly over the years in guest spots as an actor or singer on TV shows including “The Judy Garland Show,” “The Flip Wilson Show,” “Night Gallery,” “Police Story,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Two and a Half Men” and “CSI.” He appeared frequently on “The Carol Burnett Show” and briefly had his own CBS variety show, “The Steve Lawrence Show,” in 1965.
Here’s a clip of Lawrence talking about Carol Burnett …