Artists - Abbe Lane

Artist Biography

Abbe Lane, born Abigail Francine Lassman on December 14,1932, in Brooklyn, New York, is a celebrated entertainer known for her many talents as a singer, actress, dancer and her striking presence. Abbe’s career spanned  decades, from her start in show business at 4 years old to her many appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, as an adult. Lane captivated audiences with her latin- music style singing and sultry stage presence.

Lane’s journey to stardom began as a child actress on Vitaphone and radio before graduating to  Broadway as a dancer in her early teens.  It was during this time that Lane met famed bandleader, Xavier Cugat when she auditioned for his band at 15 years old in New York City. Cugat, a notable figure in the popularizing of Latin music in the United States, and the resident bandleader for The Waldorf–Astoria in Manhattan hired the young Lane to join his act. Not soon after, Lane and Cugat, 30 years her senior, were married. This union led to Lane and Cugat performing and touring together for years to come. Abroad, Lane became a notable figure starring in 21 European films in her teens and early twenties. 

However,  it was her appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show that provided her with the biggest stage and the broadest audience. As a frequent guest on the variety show, Lane mesmerized audiences with her captivating performances and alluring sex appeal. Lane herself has stated, “Jayne Mansfield may turn the boys into men, but I take them from there.” Lane made her first appearance on the show on October 10, 1954, during the Toast of the Town era. She appeared as a special guest with her then-husband, Xavier Cugat, and sang one of their hits, “Bim Bam Bum”. Lane would go on to perform five more times, both as a solo singer and with the Cugat orchestra. Some of the most famous songs that she performed include “Malagueña Salerosa”, “Bésame Mucho“, and “La Cucaracha”. Showcasing her sultry voice and dynamic stage presence to millions of viewers across the country, Lane’s numerous, memorable appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show solidified her status as a beloved entertainer.

Early in her Broadway career, Lane appeared in “Barefoot Boy with Cheek” (1947) and “As the Girls Go” (1948). Ten years later, in 1958, she returned to Broadway with her portrayal of Bobo in “Oh Captain!” starring Tony Randall.  However, the stage was just one of Lane’s mediums. She made strides in Hollywood as well, with guest appearances on shows like “The Flying Nun,” “The Brady Bunch,” and many others.  

Lane and Cugat divorced 1964, and later that same year Lane married the “love of her life” theatrical agent and businessman Perry Leff to whom Lane would remain married until Leff’s death in 2020 at age 93.  The two had two sons together.  

Throughout her career, Abbe Lane’s  helped popularize Latin and Rumba style music here in the U.S., with her ability to fluently sing and speak, English, Italian, Spanish and French; her appeal was internationally celebrated. Lane remains  an iconic figure whose talent, charisma, and unforgettable appearances on stages worldwide, but especially on The Ed Sullivan Show, have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment.

While we continue to look back on Abbe Lane’s incredible career, her lasting performances keep viewers wanting more. For full performances and medleys tune into our Abbe Lane playlist.