Comedian Steve Rossi of Allen & Rossi Dies at 82
Steve Rossi, the handsome straight man who teamed with bushy-haired Marty Allen to form the popular comedy act Allen & Rossi of the 1960s, died Sunday in Las Vegas. He was 82.
Rossi "has left the stage," his website reported, surrounded by friends and family that included his wife, Karma. He had cancer and died at a hospice, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Allen and Rossi joined forces in 1957 and appeared dozens of times on The Ed Sullivan Show, including three times with The Beatles.
“I spoke to John [Lennon] and to Paul [McCartney], and they had a terrific sense of humor," Rossi recalled. "They knew who we were. It was, ‘Mr. Rossi, what a pleasure to meet you.’ I said, ‘We really are the stars of this show, whether you want to believe it or not. That’s why 76 million people are tuning in!’ They laughed. We only had about 9 million on our other appearances.”
Steady performers in comedy clubs and Vegas casinos, they released a string of comedy albums, appeared on game shows and were regulars on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and The Merv Griffin Show before splitting up in 1968.
They starred as American tourists in France in the 1966 Paramount film The Last of the Secret Agents?
A native of New York, Rossi at age 16 received a scholarship to Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and earned his bachelor's degree. He sang and toured with Mae West before teaming with Allen.
Handsome, tall and lean, Rossi made for a funny visual counterpoint to the short, round Allen.
“We had a lot of great years together. He was a wonderful straight man, he was a wonderful talent and a wonderful man,” Allen, 92, told the Sun.