By Dianne R. Davis
Photo credit: Dianne or Burt Davis
Steve Rossi, 82, passed away in a Las Vegas hospice on Sunday, June 22, less then two weeks after he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. His passage was peaceful, surrounded by friends and family. Rossi is best remembered as half of the hilarious comedy team of Allen and Rossi.
Rossi began his career as a singer. He joined forces in the late 1950's with Marty Allen. The pair enjoyed tremendous success, guesting on television's top variety shows and appearing often on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Rich Little, Dianne R. Davis and Steve Rossi
Steve served in the United States Air Force both in the reserve unit at Loyola Marymount University and on active duty at Parks Air Force base. He was discharged from the service in May 1957 with the rank of Second Lieutenant. He served as a personnel officer. Throughout his career active duty military were always given free admission to his shows.
Following their partnership in 1957 Allen and Rossi became America’s #1 comedy team.They appeared on over 700 television shows including 44 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show 3 of which were with the Beatles in 1964. Other shows he guest starred on were Perry Como, Dean Martin, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Allen and Rossi were also regular guests stars on “What’s My Line“, “Hollywood Squares“, “Password” and numerous other game shows. They also starred in several Paramount films notably The Last of the Secret Agents with Nancy Sinatra and Ed Sullivan as guest stars.
Steve Rossi produced and starred in The 25th Anniversary Allen and Rossi Special with special guest stars Engelbert Humperdinck, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., Don Rickles, Phyllis Diller, Redd Foxx, Martin Sheen, Ernie Borgnine, Rich Little, Jack Jones and Tony Orlando.
Steve has produced 11 comedy albums and eight singing albums on such labels as RCA and Columbia. Steve sold two million copies of his hit record “More”, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
On May 20th 1999, Steve Rossi was inducted into the Show Business Legends Hall of Fame at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. In 1999, Steve celebrated his 50th year in show business.
Steve continued to work up until his death on June 22, 2014. He enjoyed writing with his close friend Rich Little and stopping by Pia’s Place inside Piero’s Restaurant to belt out a few tunes. He was proud to make Las Vegas his home.
Steve thrived on supporting members of the entertainment industry in Las Vegas. The last year of his life he performed at charity benefits and continued to write as well.
Mr. Rossi is survived by his wife Karma, a son, Dean: a daughter, Gina, and two grandchildren.