Lawrence had success on the pop record charts in the late 50's and early 1960s with such hits as "Go Away Little Girl" (U.S. #1), "Pretty Blue Eyes" (U.S. #9), "Footsteps" (U.S. #7), "Portrait of My Love" (U.S. #9), and "Party Doll" (U.S. #5). However much of his musical career has centered on nightclubs and the musical stage. Lawrence is an actor as well, appearing in guest roles on television shows in every decade since the 1950s, in shows such as The Carol Burnett Show, Night Gallery, Police Story, Murder, She Wrote, Gilmore Girls, and CSI. In the 1960s Lawrence was the star of a variety show called The Steve Lawrence Show, "the last television show in black and white on CBS".. Lawrence also appeared in the last season of The Nanny as Fran's never-before-seen father, Morty Fine.
Between 1953 and the 1970's, Lawrence first recorded for King Records then signed to Coral, then ABC-Paramount, then United Artists, then Columbia and finally MGM, never staying with a label for a long period of time.
He and Gormé appeared together in the Broadway musical Golden Rainbow, which ran from February 1968 until 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. would later record a version of the song that became a Top 40 hit in 1969.
In 1980, Lawrence was introduced to a new generation of fans with his memorable portrayal of blackmailed manager Maury Sline in the hit movie The Blues Brothers with John Belushi.
His 1964 song, "Bewitched" was featured in the film "Bewitched" (2005).
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