What’s Goin’ On

Remembering Marty Allen

The hilarious half of Allen & Rossi, dead at 95


Back in the day when comedians routinely worked in pairs, Marty Allen played off his straight man, singer Steve Rossi, with madcap energy and a signature greeting, "Hello dere!"

His eyes bugged out and rolled, his frazzled hair stood seemingly on end. But Allen, who died of pneumonia Monday at 95, generated enough laughs and electricity to light up a room and black-and-white TVs throughout the 1960s as the Lou Costello to Rossi's Bud Abbott, the Jerry Lewis to his partner's Dean Martin, the Tommy Smothers to brother Dick.

Allen & Rossi played Las Vegas and nightclubs nationwide, but they were most famous for their frequent appearances on talk shows and variety hours, especially "The Ed Sullivan Show." The duo had the unenviable task of appearing after the Beatles—twice—and pulled it off each time. Once, in September 1965, Allen careened throughout the studio audience as Rossi reworked an early Beatles hit into a sweet crowd pleaser, "We Love You." Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Allen & Rossi went their separate ways in 1968 but would reunite in 1983 and perform until the cusp of the '90s. Allen also popped up on game shows like "The Hollywood Squares" and acted in assorted TV movies, situation comedies and dramas ("The Big Valley"). He later put together a new lounge act with his second wife, singer Karon Kate Blackwell.

She survives him, but Rossi doesn't. He died of cancer in 2014 at 82.

Now, four years later, Allen and Rossi are reunited once again for the last time.

Goodbye dere.

Photo by CBS via Getty Images