How well do you know Rosemary Clooney? She was considered one of America’s famous music stars of the 20th century. She came into the limelight in the early 1950s and was able to build a successful career which spanned over 5 decades. Following the release of her chart-topping breakout single “Come On-a My House” in 1951, she cemented her status in the music scene with several other hit singles. Though her career got pretty slow in the 60s, the talented music star was able to return to the limelight in the late 70s and she remained relevant for a very long time after that.
Rosemary Clooney – Bio
Rosemary Clooney was born in May 1928 in the city of Maysville in Mason County, Kentucky. She was one of five children born to Marie Frances (née Guilfoyle) and Andrew Joseph Clooney. In the late 1940s when she was a teenager, her family took up residence at the John Brett Richeson House in Maysville.
In the early years of her career, Rosemary Clooney formed a music duo with her younger sister, Betty. They first found fame as teenagers when they got to perform on the WLW radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio. The sisters also performed with a popular big band led by Tony Pastor starting from the mid-1940. Rosemary officially launched her career as a solo artist shortly after she departed the band in 1949.
Starting from the early 1950s, Clooney began appearing regularly on several musical TV shows, particularly on the CBS network. The year 1951 was indeed a very big year for the talented singer as many of her songs became instant hits and found their way to the music charts. Her biggest hit for the year “Come On-a My House” peaked atop the US Billboard chart. She released several other hit singles in the 1950s including chart-toppers like “Half As Much” (1952), “Botch-a-Me” (1952), “Hey There” (1954), “This Ole House” (1954) and “Mambo Italiano” (1954).
The music star released several albums while her career flourished from the 1950s to the 1960s. She equally recorded major collaborations with other music stars within this peak period of her career. However, her career dwindled in the late 60s partly due to problems in her personal life and this culminated in her experiencing a nervous breakdown in 1968. She took a long hiatus from music but was able to revive her career when she reemerged in the mid-70s.
Clooney got signed to the Concord Jazz record label in 1977 and starting from that year, she recorded one album each year for the remaining years of her career. She was honoured with the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988 and she was also a recipient of the 2002 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In addition to her exploits in music, Rosemary Clooney equally recorded a number of notable performances in film and television. She marked her film debut in The Stars Are Singing (1953) followed by roles in Red Garters (1954), White Christmas (1954) and a couple of TV films. The multitalented star also recorded a memorable guest appearance on the hit NBC medical series ER (1995) for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.
Among Rosemary’s Clooney’s five siblings, the most famous was her younger sister Betty Clooney who was also a singer. Betty rose to fame in the early 1950s when she formed a music duo with her sister, Rosemary. After they split, she had a brief solo career of her own but she later found more success as a TV presenter and actress. She was married to actor and singer Pupi Campo and they had 4 children together. Betty Clooney sadly died in August 1976 at the age of 45.
Spouse & Children
In June 1953, Rosemary Clooney got married to Puerto Rican actor and filmmaker, José Ferrer. They had five children together Miguel, Maria, Gabriel, Monsita and Rafael. However, their union later broke down leading to an eventual divorce in 1961.
After spending about three years apart, Clooney and Ferrer decided to give a second shot at marriage and they got married again in 1964. Their second spell as husband and wife did not last for too long owing to Ferrer’s infidelity. The duo got divorced for the second time in 1967.
Interestingly, Clooney got married again in her 70s. She tied the knot with Dante DiPaolo, a dancer, and actor, on November 7, 1997, and she remained married to him for the rest of her life.
Is Rosemary Clooney Dead Or Alive?
Sadly, Rosemary Clooney is no longer alive. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in the year 2001. She underwent surgery soon afterwards, however, she passed away about 6 months later. She died on June 29, 2002, at the age of 74. She was buried at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in her hometown of Maysville, Kentucky. Her famous nephew, George Clooney was one of the pallbearers at her funeral.
Rosemary Clooney was of average height. The American musician was 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm) in height. One of her most distinctive physical features was her full head of gorgeous blonde hair which she maintained throughout her lifetime.