Rosemary ClooneyActor / Singer
Born: 23 May 1928
Died: 29 June 2002 (lung cancer)
Birthplace: Maysville, Kentucky
Best known as: Co-star of the 1954 movie White Christmas
In the decade after World War II, Rosemary Clooney was the cheerful, dimpled singer of pop tunes like "Hey There" and "This Ole House." Her saucy 1951 hit "Come On-A My House" made her a star. ("Come on-a my house, my house, I'm gonna give you candy.") She was briefly a movie star as well, appearing in musical romances like Here Come the Girls
(1953, with Bob Hope
). Her most famous film was White Christmas
(1954), in which she and Vera-Ellen played sisters wooed by Danny Kaye
and Bing Crosby
. Clooney married actor José Ferrer in 1953, and they had five children between 1955 and 1960. They were divorced in 1961, remarried in 1964, and then divorced again in 1967. Romantic turmoil and overwork, combined with an addiction to prescription pills and the assassination of her friend Robert Kennedy
in 1968, led to a nervous breakdown and a stay in a psychiatric hospital. But in later years she returned to the scene as a matronly and nostalgic singer of jazz and pop standards. She was a longtime spokesperson for Coronet paper towels and in 1994 made a few guest appearances on the TV show E.R.
, which starred her nephew, George Clooney
. Her 1977 autobiography was titled This for Remembrance
; a second autobiography, Girl Singer
, was published in 1999.
Clooney was played by Sondra Locke (then the girlfriend of Clint Eastwood) in the 1982 biopic Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney Story. Tony Orlando played José Ferrer… Clooney’s children with Ferrer were Miguel (b. 1955), Maria (b. 1956), Gabriel (b. 1957), Monsita (1958), and Rafael (1960). Miguel, an actor, starred in the TV series Crossing Jordan from 2001-07… Clooney’s brother Nick Clooney, father of George, is a journalist and TV personality… Rosemary Clooney was married to dancer Dante DiPaolo from 1997 until her death… White Christmas was a sequel of sorts to the 1942 film Holiday Inn, which starred Crosby but not Clooney. The Irving Berlin tune “White Christmas” was introduced in Holiday Inn and was such a hit that a second film was made with the song’s title.
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