Remembering Steve Rossi

June 25, 2014 at 11:08 pm Leave a comment

Dean Martin, Marty Allen, Steve Rossi
(above) Host Dean Martin (l.) enjoys some laughs with guest stars Marty Allen (center) and Steve Rossi (r.) on a second-season episode of The Dean Martin Show.

Steve Rossi, singing half of the popular 1960s showbiz team in which he was paired with Marty Allen, passed away June 22. The cause of death was reported to be cancer; he was 82.

Bred in the mold of the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis partnership, though never achieving the latter duo’s stratospheric level of fame, Allen and Rossi nonetheless were regular fixtures in nightclubs and on the TV talk and variety show circuit from the late 1950s until their amicable split in 1968 (they reunited in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, and occasionally thereafter). In their act, Rossi (born Joseph Tafarella) crooned and played straight man to Allen’s bug-eyed, Brillo pad-haired zany persona.

Preserved for posterity, thanks to its inclusion on Time-Life’s DVD release of The Dean Martin Variety Show Uncut, is Allen & Rossi’s appearance (depicted in the accompanying photo) on the January 12, 1967 episode of Dean’s series, in which Steve offered a dramatic performance of “My Lonely Room”, before being joined by Marty and Dean for some wacky patter, winding up with Steve and Marty delivering a comic rendition of “Let’s Face The Music And Dance.”

Steve is survived by Marty, and by his wife, daughter, two grandchildren…and by a son named Dean.

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