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Singer Steve Rossi dies at age 82

Allen and Rossi appear as mystery guests on What's My Line
Allen and Rossi appear as mystery guests on What's My Line
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Steve Rossi was a handsome singer who got his first break working with Mae West in the early 1950s, and in 1957, teamed up wild-haired comic Marty Allen. It was perfect timing. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis had just gone their separate ways, and America desired a new comedy team.

Allen and Rossi fit the dynamic quite well. They appeared on all the variety shows throughout the 1960s, especially The Ed Sullivan Show. Of their 40-some appearances with Sullivan, the best-remembered are the three on which The Beatles appeared as well. The Beatles were fans of the comedy team. Allen and Rossi stayed together until 1968, even making a movie, “The Last of the Secret Agents,” in 1966, which has become a cult favorite.

Steve Rossi had been suffering from cancer for several months and was moved into hospice care on June 11. According to The Las Vegas Sun, Rossi’s old partner Marty Allen spent several hours with him, and at one point put a picture of the two of them and The Beatles on the wall, stating, “I don’t want you to forget this.”

Apart throughout the 70s, both Allen and Rossi worked successfully as solo performers. Rossi would also work in teams with other comedians, including Slappy White, Joe E. Ross, Bernie Allen (no relation to Marty), and Sandy Hackett. He and Marty Allen would reteam for a while during the 1990s, first performing at Vegas World, then the Sands hotel. In more recent years, Rossi worked with such performers as Pia Zadora and Rich Little, continuing to perform his songs and exude his winning personality. He also was close to Howard Stern, working as his manager for a period of time, and appearing frequently on his radio show.

Unlike many comedians, especially of his era, Steve Rossi was an educated man, with a bachelor degree in communication, and master’s degrees in Greek, and Latin from Loyola University. He was also a veteran of the United States Air Force.

Rossi’s real name was Joseph Charles Tarafella.