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Marie, Rose 1923-

MARIE, Rose 1923-

PERSONAL:

Born Rose Marie Mazzetta, August 15, 1923, in New York, NY; married Bobby Guy (a musician), 1946 (died, 1966); children: a daughter, "Noop." Hobbies and other interests: Plate collector, animal rights.

ADDRESSES:

Home—San Fernando Valley, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, University Press of Kentucky, 663 South Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40508-4008.

CAREER:

Singer, actor, and entertainer. Actor, appearing in numerous television shows, most notably the Dick Van Dyke Show, 1961-66, and as a panelist on Hollywood Squares, 1966-81.

WRITINGS:

Hold the Roses, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2002.

Sound recordings include, Top Banana, 1993.

SIDELIGHTS:

Best known for her role as Sally Rogers on the 1960s' Dick Van Dyke Show and as a panelist for fourteen years on Hollywood Squares, Rose Marie actually began her career in the 1920s at the age of three as Baby Rose Marie. Except for a brief retirement from show business during her teen years, she has worked steadily in show business, from radio and movies to theater and television. In 2002, Rose Marie's memoirs, Hold the Roses, was published, detailing her eight decades as a singer, actress, and comedian.

Rose Marie was born in 1923 as Rose Marie Mazzetta. At the age of three, she entered a talent contest at New York City's Mecca Theatre, in which she sang "What Can I Say Dear, After I Say I'm Sorry." Her powerful, grown-up voice impressed the judges and she won the contest. NBC radio signed the child to a contract and she became an instant radio star as "Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder" in 1929. She also played the vaudeville circuit traveling throughout the United States. In the early 1930s she appeared as "Baby Rose Marie" in several musical shorts and films, most notably the feature film International House starring comedian W. C. Fields.

Unlike most child stars, who grow into puberty and find their careers are over, Baby Rose Marie simply changed her stage name to Miss Rose Marie and forged ahead with her career. During the 1940s she sang in clubs throughout the country, from New York City's famous Copacabana and Latin Quarter clubs to Las Vegas, where she opened at the first luxury casino, the Flamingo, with co-headliners Jimmy Durante and Xavier Cugat. Her fame and popularity was so widespread that the famous Glenn Miller Orchestra played at her sixteenth birthday party while crooner Tony Martin serenaded her.

In the 1950s Rose Marie began to work as a character actor, primarily on stage. She costarred on Broadway with comedians Milton Berle in Spring in Brazil and Phil Silvers in Top Banana. She also appeared in the film version of Top Banana in 1954. The role led to subsequent film work in such movies as Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round and Cheaper to Keep Her, among others.

As television sitcoms began to make inroads into television, Rose Marie found a new niche in show business. In the 1950s she appeared in television shows such as Gunsmoke and the Adventures of Jim Bowie and then landed a recurring role as Bertha in the 1960 television series My Sister Eileen.

In 1961 Rose Marie landed the role of Sally Rogers on the classic comedy series the Dick Van Dyke Show. Her role as a wisecracking comedy writer for a television show who was always trying to land a man reestablished her as a household name in homes across America. The show premiered in 1961, and "Sally Rogers" was one of the first female characters on television who was a "working woman" in a decidedly "man's world."

After the show ended in 1966, Rose Marie signed on with the popular game show Hollywood Squares, where she spent the next fourteen years continuing to play herself in the same vein as the spinster Sally Rogers character, a wisecracking woman who was often asked age-or sex-related questions. For example, on one show she was asked, "During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?" Rose Marie replied, "Unfortunately …I'm always safe in the bedroom."

In reality, Rose Marie led a conservative lifestyle and was happily married for twenty years to musician Bobby Guy until he died in 1966. she continued to work, appearing on many television shows and in movies, as well as touring for a time in the highly successful revue 4 Girls 4, alongside Rosemary Clooney, Helen O'Connell, and Margaret Whiting.

In her memoir, Stop the Roses, Rose Marie recounts her lifelong career in show business and highlights the many working relationships and encounters she had with both the famous and the infamous. For example, she tells about playing in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Oval Office as a child and how she once received a diamond ring from "Uncle" Al Capone, who said he would watch over her. She also knew gangster Bugsy Siegel from working in the early days of casinos in Las Vegas.

Despite her success at a young age, Rose Marie makes it clear in her book that her young life was far from perfect. Her father, a vaudeville performer who worked under the stage name of "Frank Curly," was cruel in managing her career and personal life. He routinely scared off boyfriends as she grew older for fear of losing out on his daughter's earning power. He ended up gambling away most of the money Rose Marie made as a minor.

Writing in Publishers Weekly, a contributor noted, "Though thin on personal commentary and insight, the book's fast pace and happy memories will please Rose Marie's fans." David Marshall James, writing in South Carolina's the State, noted, "With a veritable lifetime of show business credits, the author …has packed the pages of her memoir with unforgettable vignettes dating back to the Roaring Twenties."

In 2001 Rose Marie received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As reported by the New Jersey Star-Ledger, she commented, "I'm usually not speechless, but I am now."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Marie, Rose, Hold the Roses, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2002.

PERIODICALS

Publishers Weekly, October 28, 2002, review of Hold the Roses, p. 63.

Star Ledger (Newark, NJ), October 6, 2001, "Hollywood Tribute Leaves Rose Marie Speechless," p. O34.

ONLINE

Classic Hollywood Squares Web site,http://www.classicsquares.com/ (May 6, 2003), "Rose Marie."

Rosemary Clooney Palladium Web site,http://www.rosemaryclooney.com/ (May 6, 2003), "Rose Marie."

Rainbow Electronic Reviews,http://rainboreviews.com/ (May 6, 2003), review of Stop the Roses.

State online (University of South Carolina), http://www.thestate.com (January 26, 2003), David Marshall James, review of Stop the Roses. *

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