Comedian Steve Rossi Passes Away, Celebrity Friends Pay Tribute
Steve Rossi, the member of the legendary comedy team Allen and Rossi which appeared three times with The Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show", died of cancer of the esophagus at a hospital in Las Vegas on June 22. He was 82.
The comedian had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of esophagus earlier this month. According to Las Vegas Sun, his family and friends accompanied Steve at the time of his passing. Memorial service will be held at Palm Eastern Mortuary on Friday.
Michael Flores, Steve's 40-year friend who visited Steve at the hospital on Friday, said that Steve was not in any pain although he looked weak because of the cancer which had already spread. He said, "I met every major entertainer in the country through Stevie, and I'm going to miss him."
Marty Allen, Steve's comedy partner who accompanied him when he was hospitalized on June 11, remembered Steve, "What can I say? I am totally at a loss for what has happened. We had a lot of great years together. He was a wonderful straight man, he was a wonderful talent and a wonderful man."
Other friends like Rich Little and Wayne Newton recalled their good times with Steve. Rich said, "Steve was like a brother to me. He was my closest friend, and he was a very, very talented and smart man. He was a great singer. He was very well read. He understood comedy, and we dreamed up jokes together. He had an incredible mind for comedy." Wayne praised Steve, saying, "He was a great man and a great friend. He will be missed dearly."
Pia Zadora, who often appeared with Steve in cabaret shows, said, "He was funny, but he was very smart, too, and he had a great heart. He would teach my son Jordan how to cook. He was very much Uncle Steve to my family."
Allen and Rossi teamed in 1957. They had appeared around "27 or 28" times with Sullivan according to Steve's count, three of which were with The Beatles. They also became favorites on several shows, including "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson", "The Merv Griffin Show", "The Mike Douglas Show", "Dinah", "The Dean Martin Show", and "The Perry Como Show".
Steve once recalled his appearances with The Beatles, "I spoke to John [Lennon] and to Paul [McCartney], and they had a terrific sense of humor. They knew who we were. It was, 'Mr. Rossi, what a pleasure to meet you.' I said, 'We really are the stars of this show, whether you want to believe it or not. That's why 76 million people are tuning in!' They laughed. We only had about 9 million on our other appearances."
Marty said, "Everyone remembers those shows with The Beatles, and they were great, but we appeared on all the shows. There wasn't a talk show on TV that didn't want Allen & Rossi."
Steve was born in New York in 1932. When he was 16, he earned a scholarship and later gained a Bachelor of Arts degree at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Before he teamed up with Marty, he had sung and toured together with Mae West.
Steve is survived by his wife, Karma, two children and two grandchildren.
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