Monday, April 15, 2024

This Week in Television History: April 2024 PART III

 April 16, 1949

Garroway at Large debuts. 

Radio personality Dave Garroway moves to TV, as the host of one of television's earliest musical-variety shows. Garroway at Large was one of the two most important series to be made in Chicago, along with Kukla, Fran & Ollie, during the city's brief period in the late 1940s as an important production center for network programs. Garroway at Large ran until 1951.

Dave Garroway started out as a page at NBC and worked his way up to the position of radio announcer for various NBC programs. From 1944 to 1948, he announced for the NBC radio series The World's Great Novels. The show featured dramatic readings of classic novels and later evolved into NBC University of the Air, which offered accredited radio-assisted degrees in literature. Garroway also hosted his own radio talk show with music, which aired under various names from 1946 to 1955.

Starting in 1952, Garroway became the longtime host of NBC's Today show. He continued some prime-time work, though, and when Garroway at Large ended, he tried another show, called The Dave Garroway Show, in 1953. The second show, however, didn't take off, partly because of stiff competition from the other networks, which were airing popular programs Mama and Ozzie and Harriet.

April 18, 1929

First Our Gang film with sound debuts. 

Small Talk, the first Our Gang picture with sound, debuts on this day in 1929. Producer Hal Roach had started producing the Our Gang short comedies in 1922. The series' mischievous band of kids, later known as the "Little Rascals," quickly caught on with the public, especially after characters Spanky, Alfalfa, and Darla were added in the early 1930s. In 1938, Roach sold the Our Gang rights to MGM, which produced the shorts until 1944. In total, more than 100 Our Gang films were made.

April 18, 1979

Real People premiered. 

Real People had the format of a comedy talk show taped in front of a large studio audience. Each segment featured a news report consisting of visits to people with unique occupations or hobbies, occasionally bringing some of them in-studio to interact with the audience. In its early seasons, Real People was NBC's most popular series, often scoring at the top of the ratings, and was a rare hit for the network at a time when NBC was a distant third in the ratings and struggling with numerous flops. Segments included "funny pictures" and funny newspaper errors sent in by viewers, who were awarded a Real People T-shirt. According to a 2008 interview with producer George Schlatter, who also co-created Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In for NBC, the show had covered serious topics like war heroes.

Regular hosts included John BarbourSarah PurcellByron AllenSkip StephensonBill RaffertyMark RussellPeter Billingsley, andFred Willard.

April 20, 1959 - Desilu Playhouse on CBS-TV presented a two-part show titled The Untouchables.

April 20, 1989 - Scientist announced the successful testing of high-definition TV.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Joe Flaherty

If you don't hop aboard the change train, you're gonna get derailed.
-Joe Flaherty

Joseph Flaherty

June 21, 1941 – April 1, 2024

Joseph O'Flaherty was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the eldest of seven children. His father was a production clerk at Westinghouse Electric and of Irish heritage and his mother was of Italian descent.

Flaherty served in the United States Air Force for four years. He then got involved in dramatic theatre.

Flaherty moved to Chicago, where he started his comedy career in 1969 with the Second City Theater as Joe O'Flaherty, where he would work with future stars such as John Belushi and Harold Ramis, He dropped the O as there was another Joseph O'Flaherty registered with Actors Equity. Along with several other Second City performers, he began appearing on the National Lampoon Radio Hour from 1973 to 1974. 

After seven years in Chicago, he moved to Toronto to help establish the Toronto Second City theatre troupe. During those years, he was one of the original writer/performers on SCTV, where he spent eight years on the show, playing such characters as Big Jim McBob (of Farm Film Report fame), Count Floyd/Floyd Robertson, and station owner/manager Guy Caballero, who goes around in a wheelchair only for respect and undeserved sympathy.

Other memorable Flaherty characterizations included emotional talk-show host Sammy Maudlin, seedy saxophonist-private eye Vic Arpeggio, aggressive elocution lecturer Norman Gorman, myopic public-television host Hugh Betcha, and "crazy as a snake" ex-convict Rocco.

SCTV ceased production in 1984. The same year, Flaherty played Count Floyd in a short film that was shown at concerts by the rock band Rush before the song "The Weapon", for their tour in support of Grace Under Pressure (and can be seen in the home video, Grace Under Pressure Tour).

Flaherty appeared in a number of cult-favorite films, for example, playing the part of the Western Union postal worker who delivers Doc Brown's 70-year-old letter to Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part II (1989), as well as the crazed fan yelling "jackass!" who secretly works for antagonist Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore. In season eight of Family Guy, Flaherty once again played the Western Union man in "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side". He likewise satirizes his Back to the Future Part II character in "The Big Bang Theory", this time playing a Vatican worker whose role is essentially identical to that of his Western Union character.

In 1989, Flaherty played a guest role in Married... with Children in the season-four episode "Tooth or Consequences", as a recently divorced dentist who must repair Al Bundy's teeth.

During 1997–1998, Flaherty starred in the television adaptation of Police Academy (Police Academy: The Series) as Cmdt. Stuart Hefilfinger. The series lasted for only one season.

In 1999, Flaherty joined the cast of Freaks and Geeks, an NBC hour-long dramedy set in the 1980–1981 academic year, in which he played Harold Weir, the irascible father of two teens. Despite a dedicated cult following, the show only lasted one season. In the third episode, "Tricks and Treats", he dons a cheap vampire costume reminiscent of his "Count Floyd" character of the depicted era.

Flaherty made appearances on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens as Father McAndrew, the priest at the Heffernans' church. He starred on the Bite TV original program, Uncle Joe's Cartoon Playhouse, and served as a judge on the CBC program The Second City's Next Comedy Legend.

From 2001 to 2004, he had appeared in various Disney shows and films, including The Legend of Tarzan and Home on the Range.

In 2018, Flaherty participated in a cast reunion at Toronto's Elgin Theatre filmed by Martin Scorsese for a yet to be released Netflix special.

Beginning in 2004, Flaherty was a member of the faculty at Humber College, where he taught a comedy-writing course. He was also on the program's advisory committee.

Flaherty was married to Judith Dagley for 22 years until their divorce in 1996. They had two children, Gudrun, who is also an actress and writer, and Gabriel. His brothers, Paul and Dave, are comedy writers. He died on April 1, 2024, at the age of 82 after a short illness.

Good Night Mr. Flaherty

Stay tuned 
Tony Figueroa

Monday, April 01, 2024

This Week in Television History: April 2024 PART I

        April 2, 1974

The 46th Academy Awards Streaker. 

While David Niven was introducing Elizabeth Taylor to present the award for Best Picture, a streaker named Robert Opel ran out from backstage, causing spontaneous laughter. David Niven tookcontrol of the situation by saying, “Isn't it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?”

April 3, 1924

Doris Day is born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff. 

Day began her career as a big band singer in 1939. Her popularity began to rise after her first hit recording, “Sentimental Journey“, in 1945. After leaving Les Brown & His Band of Renown to try a solo career, she started her long-lasting partnership with Columbia Records, which would remain her only recording label. The contract lasted from 1947 to 1967, and included more than 650 recordings, making Day one of the most popular and acclaimed singers of the 20th century. In 1948, after being persuaded by Sammy CahnJule Styne and her agent at the time, Al Levy, she auditioned for Michael Curtiz, which led to her being cast in the female lead role in Romance on the High Seas.

 When third husband Martin Melcher died on April 20, 1968, a shocked Day discovered that Melcher and his business partner Jerome Bernard Rosenthal had squandered her earnings, leaving her deeply in debt. Rosenthal had been her attorney since 1949, when he represented her in her uncontested divorce action against her second husband, saxophonist George W. Weidler. In February 1969, Day filed suit against Rosenthal and won the then-largest civil judgment (over $20 million) in the state of California. (She later settled for about one-quarter of the amount originally awarded.)

Day also learned that Melcher had committed her to a television series, which became The Doris Day Show.

Day hated the idea of doing television, but felt obliged to it. ”There was a contract. I didn’t know about it. I never wanted to do TV, but I gave it 100 percent anyway. That’s the only way I know how to do it.” The first episode of The Doris Day Show aired on September 24, 1968, and, from 1968 to 1973, employed “Que Sera, Sera” as its theme song. Day grudgingly persevered (she needed the work to help pay off her debts), but only after CBS ceded creative control to her and her son. The successful show enjoyed a five-year run (its second season finished in the Top 10 of the Nielsen ratings), and functioned as a curtain-raiser for The Carol Burnett Show. It is remembered today for its abrupt season-to-season changes in casting and premise. It was not widely syndicated as many of its contemporaries were, and was re-broadcast very little outside the United States, Australia and the UK. By the end of its run in 1973, public tastes had changed and her firmly established persona regarded as passé. She largely retired from acting after The Doris Day Show, but did complete two television specials, The Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff Special (1971) and Doris Day to Day (1975). 


April 3, 1944

Tony Orlando is born Michael Anthony Orlando Cassavitis. 

Born to a Greek father and a Puerto Rican mother, he spent his earliest years in Manhattan, New York’s then-notorious Hell’s Kitchen. In his teenage years, the family moved to Union City and later, Hasbrouck Heights in New Jersey.

Best known as the lead singer of the group Tony Orlando and Dawn in the early 1970s.

Discovered by producer Don Kirshner, Orlando had songs on the charts in 1961 when he was 16, “Halfway to Paradise” and “Bless You”. Orlando then became a producer himself, and at an early age was promoted to a vice-president position at CBS Records, where he was in charge of the April-Blackwood Music division. He sang under the name “Dawn” in the 1970s, and when the songs became hits, he went on tour and the group became “Tony Orlando and Dawn”. They had several songs which were major hits including “Candida“, “Knock Three Times“, and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree“.


April 3, 1949

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis debuted on radio in an NBC program that ran until 1952. 

April 4, 1969

The CBS Television Network fired The Smothers Brothers because the brothers failed to submit an episode of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour to network executives before its broadcast. 

The network claimed the second to last show of the season was turned in late, and claimed that their tardiness constituded a breach of contract justifying their dropping of the series. The network ultimately refused to run the episode anyway because they said it "would be considered irreverent and offensive by a large segment of our audience". That episode is on the Smothers Brothers: The Best of Season 3 DVD.

The variety show was well known for its censorship battles with the network. The network executives often objected to the brothers' selection of controversial, outspoken, left wing, and antiwar guests, including:

Pete Seeger, who had been invited to appear on the Smothers' second season premiere to sing his anti-war song, "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy.” Seeger would later apear on the show and sang that song.

Harry Belafonte was scheduled to do a calypso song called "Don't Stop the Carnival" with images from the riots at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention behind him. The Song was cut and the time was sold to the Nixon campaign but can now be seen on the season 3 DVD.

Joan Baez wanted to dedicate a song to her draft-resisting husband who was about to go to prison for his stance. The dedication to her husband made the air but the reason for the dedication did not.

Dr. Benjamin Spock, noted baby doctor and anti-war activist, was prevented from appearing as a guest of the show because, according to the network, he was a "convicted felon."

Under the category of irreverent and offensive, we have:

David Steinberg’s satirical sermonettes caused controversy for being sacrilegious. His second sermonette was in the episode that never aired.

Leigh French created the recurring hippie character, Goldie O'Keefe, whose parody of afternoon advice shows for housewives, "Share a Little Tea with Goldie," was actually one long celebration of mind-altering drugs. (Tea" was a counter culture code word for marijuana, but the CBS censors seemed to be unaware of the connection). Goldie would open her sketches with, "Hi(gh)– and glad of it!"

Elaine May wrote a skit about censorship that featured Tom and Elaine who playing motion picture censors trying to find a more acceptable substitution for unacceptable dialogue. The skit ended up being censored.


Tom and Dick Smothers assembled the old Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour gang in February 1988 for a 20th reunion special on CBS. Now the network wanted the brothers and company to be edgy and controversial but no one associated with the show was interested. After all when the establishment tells you something is cool... It's no longer cool.

In 1968 when it came time to submit the names of the writers for Emmy considerations, Tom refused to include his name for fear that he had become too controversial and it would hurt the show’s chances of winning. The show won the Emmy for outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy Variety that year.

Almost 40 Years later (Sunday, September 21st 2008) during the live television broadcast of the 60th Annual Emmy Awards, Tom Smothers received an Emmy acknowledging his contributions as a writer on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”. Steve Martin, who was one of the Emmy winning writers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, presented Tom with a commemorative Emmy acknowledging his role in the writing of a variety show.

 April 5, 1949

Fireside Theatre starts. Fireside Theatre, one of TV's first dramatic series to be filmed rather than broadcast live, debuts.

The show ran until 1958 and was revived for one year in 1963. For the first year, each film was only 15 minutes long, but later the time slot expanded to 30 minutes. Jane Wyman, who was married to Ronald Reagan between 1940 and 1948, served as host from 1955 to 1958 and during the 1963 revival.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Friday, March 29, 2024

Louis Gossett Jr.

I believe the gift of acting is a gift from God, my oath to God, and I want to make sure on a daily basis that it is honed and deeply spiritual... I want to believe that the audience believes that my acting comes from this special place. 

-Louis Gossett, Jr.
Louis Cameron Gossett Jr.

May 27, 1936 – March 29, 2024

Good Night Mr. Gossett

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, March 25, 2024

This Week in Television History: March 2024 PART IV

       March 27, 1974

The Rockford Files premier episode. 

The Rockford Files is an American television drama series which aired on the NBC network between September 13, 1974 and January 10, 1980. It has remained in regular syndication to the present day. The show stars James Garner as Los Angeles-based private investigator Jim Rockford and features Noah Beery, Jr. as his father, a retired truck driver.

The show was created by Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell. Huggins had created the television show Maverick (1957–1962), which had also starred Garner, and he wanted to try to recapture that magic in a "modern day" detective setting. He teamed with Cannell, who had written for Jack Webb productions such as Adam-12 and Chase (1973–1974, NBC), to create Rockford.

The show was credited as "A Public Arts/Roy Huggins Production" along with Universal Studios and in association with Cherokee Productions. Cherokee was the name of Garner's company, which he ran with partners Meta Rosenberg and Juanita Bartlett, who doubled as story editor during most of Rockford's run.

The series theme by composers Mike Post and Pete Carpenter was released as a single and went to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for 16 weeks. and won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement for 1975.

In 2002, The Rockford Files was ranked #39 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.

Producers Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell devised the main character to be a rather significant departure from typical television detectives of the time, essentially Maverick as a modern detective. Rockford had served time in California's San Quentin Prison in the 1960s due to a wrongful conviction. After five years, he received a pardon. His infrequent jobs as a private investigator barely allow him to maintain his dilapidated mobile home (which doubles as his office) in a parking lot on the beaches of Malibu, California.

The show's title sequence began with someone leaving a message on Rockford's answering machine, which were still novel in 1974. A different message was heard in each episode. These frequently had to do with creditors to whom Rockford owed money, or deadbeat clients who owed money to him. They were usually unrelated to the rest of the plot. As the series went on, this gimmick became a burden for the show's writers, who had to come up with a different joke every week. Suggestions from staffers and crew were often used.

In contrast to most television private eyes of the time, Rockford wears low-budget "off the rack" clothing and does his best to avoid fights. He rarely carries his Colt Detective Special revolver, for which he does not have a permit, preferring to talk his way out of trouble. He works on cold cases, missing persons investigations, and low-budget insurance scams, and he repeatedly states in the series that he does not handle "open cases" to avoid trouble with the police.

In early episodes of the show's first season, Rockford's trailer is located in a parking lot alongside the highway (address 2354 Pacific Coast Highway) and near the ocean; for the rest of the series, the trailer is at Paradise Cove (address 29 Cove Road), adjacent to a pier and a restaurant ("The Sand Castle", now known as the "Paradise Cove Beach Cafe").

In the series of television movies from 1994 to 1999, Rockford is still living in a trailer, but it has been extensively enlarged and remodeled.

In an interesting piece of homage, the trailer serving as a home for Mel Gibson's "Martin Riggs" character and his girlfriend, shown near the beginning of Lethal Weapon IV, appears to be located at nearly the exact same spot.

The show went into hiatus late in 1979 when Garner was told by his doctors to take time off because of his bad knees and back, as well as an ulcer. He sustained the former conditions largely because of his insistence on performing most of his own stunts, especially those involving fist fights or car chases. Because of his excruciating physical pain, Garner eventually opted not to continue with the show a number of months later, and NBC cancelled the program in mid-season. It was also alleged that Rockford became extremely expensive to produce, mainly due to the extensive location filming and frequent use of high-end actors as guest stars. According to some sources, NBC and Universal claimed the show was generating a deficit of several million dollars, a staggering amount for a nighttime show in those days, although Garner and his production team Cherokee Productions claimed the show always turned a profit.

A pilot for a remake of the series was written and produced for NBC by David Shore in 2010, with Dermot Mulroney playing the title character, but was not picked up by the network due to complaints that it was not written well and the lead was miscast. NBC then gave it to Peter Berg to rewrite and produce. As of January 2011, the project is still in development at NBC.

March 30, 1964

Jeopardy debuted on NBC-TV.

March 30, 1994

First episode of Ellen (originally titled These Friends of Mine for season one). 

Ellen, Ellen DeGeneres' popular show about single thirty-somethings in Los Angeles, premieres. The show quickly became one of the country's Top 15 most watched shows and drew even more attention when, in April 1997, the gay title character "came out" to her friends in a high-profile episode featuring cameos by Oprah Winfrey, k.d. lang, Demi Moore, Billy Bob Thornton, and Dwight Yoakum. Some 42 million viewers watched the special hour-long program. Ellen became the first prime-time sitcom to feature a gay leading character. However, the show was not renewed the following season.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, March 18, 2024

This Week in Television History: March 2024 PART III

      March 21, 1983

The last episode of the long-running TV series Little House on the Prairie aired. The series, based on the children's book by Laura Ingalls Wilder, premiered in 1974. 

The show was one of television's 25 most highly rated shows for seven of its nine seasons. When series star and executive producer Michael Landon decided to leave the show in 1982, the show's title changed to Little House: A New Beginning  and focused on character Laura Ingalls Wilder (Melissa Gilbert) and her family. The show lasted only one more season. Three made-for-television movie sequels followed: Little House: Look Back to Yesterday (1983), Little House: Bless All the Dear Children (1983), and Little House: The Last Farewell (1984). 

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, March 11, 2024

This Week in Television History: March 2024 PART II

     March 11, 1989

COPS debuts on Fox. 

The hit reality-based television show COPS premieres on the Fox television network, and audiences hear the reggae beat of its distinctive theme song, Inner Circle's "Bad Boys," for the very first time.

Created by the producing team of John Langley and Malcolm Barbour, COPS placed cameras and production crews in the car with real patrol officers around the country as they went on raids and did whatever was necessary to catch the perpetrators of various drug-related crimes. The pilot episode, like the rest of that debut season, was based in Broward County, Florida, and followed members of the Broward County Sheriff's Office. The actor Burt Lancaster provided the voice-over for the pilot episode, but the rest of the show, shot documentary-style, was not accompanied by any narration.

At the time, Fox was only a fledgling television network, having launched in October 1986. The network took a chance on COPS after other major networks passed on it, leaping on Langley and Barbour's idea in the middle of a five-month-long strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) during the summer of 1988. A reality-based show was ideal for the network at the time, as it would require no writers and was relatively inexpensive to produce.

COPS surprised the industry by becoming a hit; it is now one of the longest-running TV shows in history, with more than 700 episodes airing between 1989 and 2008. Its success spawned an entire new genre of reality programming that would gain traction during the 1990s and become a major cultural phenomenon by the next decade. Like any touchstone of popular culture, COPS has inspired numerous imitators--including the John Langley-produced series Jail and Street Patrol--and has been parodied extensively, most notably by the Comedy Central series Reno 911!

In February 2008, producers released a special two-disc DVD set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of COPS.

March 12, 1974

Wonder Woman debuted on ABC-TV. The show later went to CBS-TV.

Wonder Woman's first broadcast appearance in live-action television was a television movie made in 1974 for ABC. Written by John D. F. Black, the TV movie resembles the Wonder Woman of the "I Ching" period. Wonder Woman (Cathy Lee Crosby) did not wear the comic-book uniform, demonstrated no apparent super-human powers, had a "secret identity" of Diana Prince that was not all that secret, and she was also depicted as blonde (differing from the brunette image established in the comic books). This 1974 film follows Wonder Woman, assistant to government agent Steve Trevor (Kaz Garas) as she pursues a villain named Abner Smith (Ricardo Montalban) who has stolen a set of code books containing classified information about U.S. government field agents. Along the way, she has to outwit Smith's chief assistants: the handsome yet dangerous George (Andrew Prine) and a rogue Amazon, Angela (Anitra Ford), who Smith has taken on as a bodyguard; a brief duel between Wonder Woman and Angela is the film's only significant action sequence, which occurs during the final third of the story.

March 16, 1949

Henry Enrique "Erik" Estrada is born. 

Actor and reserve police officer, known for his co-starring lead role in the 1977–1983 United States police television series CHiPs. He later became known for his work in Spanish language telenovelas, and in more recent years, his appearances in reality television shows and infomercials and as a regular voice on the Adult Swim series Sealab 2021.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Steve Lawrence

You will never see a portrait of my love, for miracles are never seen.

— Steve Lawrence

Steve Lawrence

Sidney Liebowitz

July 8, 1935 – March 7, 2024

When he was 18 years old, Steve Lawrence was hired by Steve Allen to be one of the singers on Allen's local New York City late night show on WNBC-TV in 1953, along with Eydie Gormé and Andy Williams. When the show got picked up by NBC to be seen on the national network, becoming The Tonight Show, Lawrence, Gormé and Williams stayed on until the program's end in 1957.

In the late 1950s, Lawrence was drafted into the U.S. Army and served as the official vocal soloist with the United States Army Band "Pershing's Own" in Washington, D.C.

Lawrence had success on the record charts in the late 1950s and early 1960s with such hits as "Go Away Little Girl" (U.S. No. 1), "Pretty Blue Eyes" (U.S. No. 9), "Footsteps" (U.S. No. 7), "Portrait of My Love" (U.S. No. 9), and "Party Doll" (U.S. No. 5). "Go Away Little Girl" sold over one million copies and was awarded a Gold record.[6] However, much of Lawrence's musical career was centered on nightclubs and the musical stage.

Lawrence was also an actor, appearing in guest roles on television shows in every decade since the 1950s. After getting his start with Steve Allen's late night show, he was seen in programs such as The Danny Kaye ShowThe Judy Garland ShowThe Julie Andrews HourNight GalleryThe Flip Wilson ShowPolice StoryMurder, She Wrote; and CSI.

Lawrence and Gormé starred in the 1958 summer replacement series on NBC, The Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé Show. Lawrence made many appearances on The Carol Burnett Show (1967–78), with and without Eydie. The Steve Lawrence Show, with supporting actor Charles Nelson Reilly, ran for 13 weeks in 1965, a variety show that was one of the last CBS television shows to only air in black and white. Lawrence also served as a panelist on What's My Line? (1950–67).

In 1964, Lawrence starred in the Broadway musical What Makes Sammy Run?. It centered on an ambitious young man clawing his way to the top in Hollywood. It ran for 504 performances at the 54th Street Theater.

Lawrence and Gormé appeared together in the Broadway musical Golden Rainbow, which ran from February 1968 to January 1969. Although the show was not a huge success (a summary of this experience is chronicled in unflattering detail in William Goldman's 1968 book The Season), the show contained the memorable song "I've Gotta Be Me". This song was originally sung by Lawrence at the end of the first act of the musical. Sammy Davis, Jr. later recorded a version of the song that hit number 11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1969.

Lawrence starred as Gary McBride in the 1972 film Stand Up and Be Counted, opposite Jacqueline Bisset and Stella Stevens. In 1980, he was introduced to a new generation of fans with his portrayal of Maury Sline in The Blues Brothers, and reprised the role in the 1998 sequel Blues Brothers 2000. Lawrence's other films include the Steve Martin comedy The Lonely Guy (1984) and the crime thriller The Yards (2000).

In 1984, Lawrence and comedian Don Rickles hosted ABC's Foul-Ups, Bleeps & Blunders.

In 1985, Lawrence and Gormé played Tweedledee (Gormé) and Tweedledum (Lawrence) in Irwin Allen's film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

Lawrence played Mark McCormick's father, Sonny Daye, in two episodes of Hardcastle and McCormick. He appeared on The Nanny several times — first as himself in season 2, episode 14, and then as the much-talked about, but never really seen, Morty Fine, father of Fran Fine in a few of the final episodes of the show. In 2011, he portrayed Jack, a wealthy love interest of Betty White's character, Elka Ostrovsky, on Hot in Cleveland. In 2014, he guest-starred in an episode of Two and a Half Men on CBS, and sang the theme song to the parody miniseries The Spoils of Babylon.

Lawrence and Gormé married on December 29, 1957, at the El Rancho Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada. They had two sons together; David Nessim Lawrence (b. 1960) is an ASCAP Award-winning composer, who wrote the score for High School Musical, and Michael Robert Lawrence (1962–1986), who died suddenly from ventricular fibrillation resulting from an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of 23. Michael was an assistant editor for a television show at the time of his death and was apparently healthy despite a previous diagnosis of slight arrhythmia.

Gormé and Lawrence were in Atlanta, Georgia, at the time of Michael's death, having performed at the Fox Theater the night before. Upon learning of the death, family friend Frank Sinatra sent his private plane to fly the couple to New York to meet David, who was attending school at the time. Following their son's death, Gormé and Lawrence took a year off before touring again.

Eydie Gormé died on August 10, 2013, at age 84, after a brief, undisclosed illness.

In June 2019, following public speculation about his health, Lawrence announced that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and that treatment to slow its progression had so far been successful.

Lawrence died from complications due to Alzheimer's disease in Los Angeles, on March 7, 2024, at the age of 88.

Good Night Steve

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa