Birthday: May 23, 1928
Died At Age: 74
Sun Sign: Gemini
Born in: Maysville
Famous as: Singer
Height: 5'6" (168 cm), 5'6" Females
Spouse/Ex-: Dante DiPaolo, José Ferrer
father: Andrew Joseph Clooney
mother: Marie Frances Guilfoyle
siblings: Betty Clooney, Gail Stone, Nick Clooney
children: Gabriel Ferrer, Maria Ferrer, Miguel Ferrer, Monsita Ferrer, Rafael Ferrer
Died on: June 29, 2002
place of death: Beverly Hills
Diseases & Disabilities: Bipolar Disorder
U.S. State: Kentucky
Who was Rosemary Clooney?
Rosemary Clooney was a popular American actor and cabaret singer in the fifties and had the No.1 hit ‘Come on-My House’ to her credit. The famous Hollywood actor George Clooney is her nephew. The singer started her singing career with Betty Clooney, her sister as a duo in bands and on radio before she decided to go solo. She had several other hit numbers to her credit such as ‘This Ole House’, ‘Hey There’, ‘Half as Much’, ‘Tenderly’, “Mambo Italiano’ and ‘Botch-a-Me’ to name a few. Though she was a successful as a Jazz vocalist her career was doomed in the Sixties due to problems like her drug addiction and severe depression. But during the seventies, when Bing Crossby, one of her former co-stars, asked her to perform with him at a show that marked his fiftieth anniversary in the show business, her career got the much needed boost. When Betty, Rosemary’s sister died at the age of 45 due to a brain aneurysm, she organized a memorial for her departed sister in association with the Betty Clooney Center at Long Beach in California for all those young adults who are brain-injured. She performed there every year so that she could raise funds for the foundation. Read on to know more about her life and works
Childhood & Early Life
Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky on 23rd May, 1928 to Andrew Joseph Clooney and Marie Frances. Her mother belonged to a mix of English and Irish ancestry while her father was of German and Irish descent.
Rosemary was one of the five children of her parents and she was brought up in Maysville. In this both she and her sister Betty sang in the campaigns for their grandfather’s mayoral election. Incidentally her grandfather won the election thrice.
The singer had a far from happy childhood as her father abused alcohol and was rarely at home while her mother had to often go away from home on work. Thus Rosemary and her siblings had to stay with their relatives very often.
Rosemary was only three when she performed for the first time on ‘When Your Hair Has Turned to Silver’ at the ‘Russell Theater’. She was raised a Catholic and attended her high school at ‘Our Lady of Mercy’ in Cincinnati.
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Rosemary began her singing career with Betty, her sister on a radio show at Cincinnati. The two sisters joined big band orchestra of Tony Pastor in the year 1946 and toured with the band for some years.
In 1949, the budding singer went to New York to start her solo career after Betty retired from singing. Two years down the line, after she signed a contract with ‘Columbia Records’, Rosemary tasted her first major success with the Number 1 hit, ‘Come On-a My House’.
Soon she had other major hits such as ‘Tenderly’, ‘The Ole House’ and ‘Hey There’ that further established her reputation as a singer.
Rosemary made her appearances in some feature films too around this time such as ‘White Christmas’ in 1954 and ‘The Stars Are Singing’ with Bing Crosby. She also had a self-titled television show in the late Fifties called ‘The Rosemary Clooney Show’.
The popular singer’s career took a downturn in the late sixties due to her personal problems that included a broken marriage from Jose Ferrar, a failed love affair and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy who was one of her close friends. She also abused sleeping pills and tranquilizers during this time.
She had a mental collapse and took years to recover from her trauma but managed to rebuild her singing career slowly as she started out singing in small lounges and clubs.
She joined her former co-star Bing Crosby in the mid-seventies on his finale tour that was a big boost for her comeback and later managed to sign a recording contract with ‘Concord Jazz’ label.
In the initial years, Rosemary’s career advanced slowly but in the beginning of 1951 she recorded her first hit song “Beautiful Brown Eyes’ that eventually sold around 400,000 copies. Her royalty rates went up from 3% to 5% and she had an assured income of $250,000 for the next 5 years.
Clooney’s professional life changed after she sang ‘Come On-a My house’ which was a nonsensical song penned by Ross Bagdasarian and William Sarroyan. Though Rosemary thought the song would fail to do well, yet it was the biggest hit of her career and sold over 1 million copies.
Awards & Achievements
Though several of her songs got ‘Grammy’ nominations yet she did not win. In 2002 though, Clooney received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award’.
Rosemary had also appeared on the cover page of ‘Downbeat’, one of the most well-known Jazz magazines and ‘The Wall Street Journal’ called her a ‘ A Pop icon’
Clooney received several honors throughout her long and illustrious singing career that included a nomination in Emmy for a guest appearance on NBC’s ‘ER’.
Personal Life & Legacy
Rosemary Clooney married twice to Jose Ferrar a movie star who was 16 years older to her. Clooney fist married him on 1st June, 1953 and the couple had five children from their marriage.
Though their first marriage culminated in a divorce the couple remarried in the year 1964. However, the marriage did not survive and they parted ways three years later.
In 1996, she married her longtime friend Dante Di Paolo, a dancer, whom she had worked with in two of her films and remained married to him till her death. Her personal life was greatly improved after this marriage.
On 29th June, 2002, Clooney died at the age of 74, after she suffered from several complications due to lung cancer, at Beverly Hills in California.
In 1997, when Rosemary got married to her second husband Dante Di Paolo, George Clooney, one of the famous Hollywood actors and her nephew did not attend it as he did not want to shift the spotlight from her aunt on the latter’s special day.