Rosemary's Friends Remember

It has been said that we can tell a lot about people from the company they keep. That is certainly true of legendary singer Rosemary Clooney. She hobnobbed with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holliday and John and Robert Kennedy. But being around the greats never went to her head. She was Rosemary from Maysville, Ky., after all, and her lifetime friends included the friends of childhood; the boys and girls in the band whose names appear only in small print on album liner notes; fellow singers who, like her in her lifetime, struggle to find a stage and a mike in a tough business; and fellow human beings she touched in her very special way.

It has been said, too, that she was an Earth Mother, and it is true that she literally became mom to those who needed her. She mentored those who needed mentoring and she pushed those who needed pushing and she ran interference for those who needed an advocate.

The Rosemary Clooney Palladium has been working on a "Rosemary's Friends Remember" page. We have been contacting a few folks "in the industry" whom we know were part of Rosemary's circle. We requested that they contribute a quote or an anecdote to be included in this tribute page. We're not "in the industry" and so these folks don't know us at all, but they loved Rosemary, and so they have been willing to share their memories of her with the world. Rosemary would have done this for a Bing website, or a Dean website or a Frank website. We shouldn't have been surprised that her friends would do the same for a website honoring her. So, this is the result. The page will continue to expand as more memories come our way.

Those of us who have followed her career have always known that Rosemary Clooney was a sweetheart. In case you didn't know, the folks who were her real family and those whom she called her friends, her sisters and her sons and daughters are sweethearts too.



"Dear Rosie"

"She was a tremendous person. A helluva musician. She did more with communicating a song than I have ever heard and she didn't have half the breath half the time to do it. She lived inside the songs she sang and made us go with her there, too. She was a great person to eat with, drink with and she was a wonderful presence when she held court. When audience responses weren't to her liking, she worked harder and although she could fly out a "shut up" playfully to someone during a show (usually to someone who was so comfortable that they felt they could talk to her right there) she never compromised her performance. She was always great.

"One quick story, when we were together at Mackinac Island in Michigan 2 years ago, Rose invited Jess (John's wife) and I and Maddie (their daugher) to dinner along with her manager (Allen Sviridoff) and his wife and Rose's best friend (Jackie Rose). We were a little skeptical at bringing Maddie, but we had enough 'stuff' to keep her occupied. Stuff that included stickers. Well, of course, Maddie passed out the stickers, but wanted everyone to put them on their face. Rosie happily agreed and long after our stickers came off, there was Rose telling a Bing Crosby story with a sticker on each cheek and one on her forehead. She was somethin' else. I am sad."




"Rosie [and I] do go back a long way, and it is hard for me to pick out a particular time to remember. Her sister, Betty, was also a big part of our friendship. Rosie loved her so much, and it was very special to witness their love for each other. That part we shared will always be something I treasure."


Barry Manilow

"When I wrote 'When October Goes' to that wonderful Johnny Mercer lyric, I swear, I was imagining Rosemary Clooney singing the song. You could say I wrote it for her voice. In fact, that same night, I had a dream that she was singing it on the Tonight Show.

"Years later, I was tuning into the Tonight Show, and there she was, singing 'When October Goes' just as I had dreamt it. Having Rosemary sing one of my songs was one of the great thrills of my professional life. She was one of the last of a kind of singer that interprets the lyric and makes the melody her own. She comes from that great time when singers respected the songwriter and music arranger more than anyone and how their interpretation showed that!

"As a human being, Rosemary was as dear and down to Earth as anyone I ever knew. I loved working with her and took pride in calling her a friend. I will miss her very much."


"Rosie was such an inspiration to me (and many other young singers, I'm sure) in her commitment to a lyric, and her purity of time.

"There were few like Rosemary Clooney -- few with her wit, with her sex appeal (even in later life when she wasn't the perfect 36-24-36 anymore) with her absolute truth that came through every song she put her mark on.

"As a neighbor I have little memory of Rosie. She lived only a few houses up from my mother and dad on Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, and I know she was close to them early in their marriage, and a confidant to Mom when my parents were going through their divorce (she understood Latins, I guess, having been married to Jose Ferrer). But unfortunately, the way Beverly Hills is, I didn't hang out with her kids on the street much (the police used to stop us if we were even walking on the sidewalks in Beverly Hills!).

"Rosie was kind enough to honor me with her words of encouragement when I recorded my first CD on her record label, Concord Jazz. She was a huge fan of my work in the theatre, and quite in love with my husband, Larry Luckinbill. (Laurence Luckinbill, actor and narrator, is best known for Boys in the Band, Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier and numerous appearances on television.)

"One of the the last times we were able to see Ro perform was on Larry's birthday (Nov. 21) in 1999, at Feinstein's at the Regency in New York City, and I was telling her about my offer to go to London with Witches of Eastwick. She turned to her manager (Allen Sviridoff), who also books Feinstein's, and said, 'You gotta get Lucie in here before she goes away!' And he did. I played a wonderful engagement there just two weeks before leaving to spend 15 months in England.

"It doesn't seem possible that her voice is stilled -- but it will never really be silent as long as we have her music. And now she's where she can lead the best choir in the heavens. God bless you, Ms. Clooney."







Glen Barros, President, Concord Records

"Rosemary left an indelible impression upon Concord Records, with 25 albums over 25 years. She graciously credited Concord with reviving her career, but her contributions to our label were equally meaningful. Quite simply, Rosemary played a very significant role in building Concord Records. And, while we will miss her terribly, we have the comfort of knowing that she left each one of us with a rich musical legacy---a legacy which we will have the privilege to honor and protect. Rosemary will always remain a living part of the Concord Records family."



“ enormous personal loss, as she was my great friend and colleague...She was one of America's finest pop vocalists, with a clear, pure voice filled with warmth and sincerity. She was a wonderful person."



August 5, 2002

"A Message to Rosemary"

Once in a while a person enters your life who changes it so fundamentally that you can't imagine what things were like before you met them. Rosemary was such a force in my life. I know that I am not alone in this experience, for she effected so many friends and fans in a similar fashion. Her deep love and warmth made you feel like you were the most special person in the world. She lived life from a deep place and had no time for artifice or phoniness.

Humor was a Clooney trademark, and she laughed abundantly. She also cried abundantly and had sadness underneath the nurturing that made me wish that I could have eased it for her. But no one could. If she only knew how much she gave to others, how much we adored who she was and how we treasured the expression of her personality through her voice.

It was her voice after all that made her beloved, even by those who never even knew her. The voice carried a resonance that caressed you completely. It had humor, honesty, life lessons, heartbreak, a smile in spite of the tears, joy, candor, abandon and grace. And holding it all together was an innate musicianship that effortlessly expressed everything she felt and lived. We were there with her through it all.

She had the courage to be comfortable with who she was onstage and was happiest when she was singing for us. And so were we.

Thank you Rosemary for a wonderful time. Your legacy will always be with us and your music will remind us of how priceless life really is.


(The following quotes from Michael were compiled from various reports including UPI and Cincinnati Enquirer)

"Rosemary Clooney was one of the great distinctive voices of the century. She was an impeccable interpreter of the best of our American musical literature. She was very self deprecating and it was genuine. She loved talent. She was a great mentor and support of others and she lived passionately. [Her recordings] will remain an aural legacy and a primer for other singers when they want to know how it should be done.

"She did not like the material she had to sing when she started recording as a solo artist for Columbia, but it was those flash-in-the-pan hits that made people aware of her talent -- and her talent transcended the material. She deserves to be remembered for the great artist that she was and I'm in shock, because she's one of those people I never expected to lose in spite for her physical difficulties. [She] referred to herself as my Beverly Hills mother....I owe the beginning of my recording career to Rosemary because she generously agreed to sing a duet with me on my first album. Several radio DJs later told me that they paid attention to it because she was on it.

"Her music was an extraordinary extension of this joyful soul...She was an earth mother, a heart person, and that quality came through in her music. The warmth she radiated onstage was the same warmth she gave to everyone offstage. She loved life and she loved singing more than anything.

"It was the love of her audience that sustained her when she wasn't in the greatest physical health these last couple of years. She still insisted on getting out there and performing because it was just part of her soul. She had the gift of the music. Music was something that was a constant for her, when a lot of other things came and went."


"Bob and I are heartbroken at the loss of our dear friend Rosie.

"For over 50 years she has brightened our lives with the richness of her personality and her voice. Her courage and love have been an inspiration to all who call her friend.

"We who are left behind will miss her greatly, but take comfort in knowing that her warm voice is now part of the choir of angels."


EDITOR'S NOTE: Diana wrote the following when Rosemary received her Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in February of 2002. After Rosemary passed away Diana said this was still how she felt about Rosemary. There friendship began only six years ago, but it was as if they'd known each other a lifetime. The present tense in the original tirbute has been changed to the past tense and placed within parentheses

"The first Rosemary Clooney record I bought, when I was about 14 years old, was Everything's Coming Up Rosie – her first album for Concord, in 1977. That was her 'comeback' record, but Rosemary Clooney had always been a part of my life. Every Christmas my family watched White Christmas (we still do). My father would play 'Count Your Blessings' on the piano. And Rosemary was heard in our home more than just on Christmas Eve.

"As a jazz piano player, I was drawn to Rosemary's recordings because I love the way she sings – her singing influenced my playing. I would play along with her records, trying to capture the same feel. She is true to the melody, yet makes it uniquely hers.

"And she knows how to tell a story – both ours and her own. When Rosemary sings a song, you know she knows what she's talking about – every lyric she sings, you know she's lived. The best piece of advice she ever gave me was, 'Just sing the damn song, honey, it's all right there!'"

"...several comebacks into her stellar career, Rosemary...developed an even greater understanding of her voice and the unique and powerfully effective way she approache[d] a song.

"Rosemary Clooney [was] one of the most important interpreters of American popular song, and she has collaborated with some of the finest arrangers, musicians, and singers of our time, including Guy Mitchell, Marlene Dietrich, the Benny Goodman Sextet and Duke Ellington. This is not only because of her great talent, but because of who she [was] – generous, smart, funny, indomitable; devoted to her family and dedicated to her music; mother and mentor, girl singer and road warrior. Rosemary [was] always herself – she [was] too honest not to be, whether on-stage or dear Rosemary, you are a blessing to us all."


“I found out in later years from working with her, that she didn't just sing anything...the lyric had to really mean something to her for her to sing it.”

“It hasn't hit me yet that she's not going to walk out on the stage ever again...what I've learned from her I will try to pass onto other younger singers that I work with. I already find myself saying, what would Rosemary Clooney do in this situation?" (from the Cincinnati Enquirer)



"[Clooney was] beloved by singers. Bing Crosby adored her. She had a great sense of humor and a great sense of rhythm. She simply took the copy and sang it frankly from the heart. She had honesty and it showed in her singing. She called me 'sister,' which always pleased me." (from the San Francisco Examiner, July 3, 2002)




EDITOR'S NOTE: Following is an excerpt from Gary Giddins' "Cadenza" column, to appear in the October issue of Jazz Times. Gary is the author of "Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams The Early Years 1903-1940," which includes quotes from Rosemary and is in part dedicated to her. Pictured is Gary presenting Rosemary with the Manhattan Association of Cabaret's (MAC) Lifetime Achievement Award on April 1, 2001.

"In 1992, when I embarked on a biography of Bing Crosby, my first problem was: How do I penetrate Hollywood? One day I placed a dozen calls to representatives of movie people, and reached answering machines, supercilious assistants, and an estwhile glamour queen who claimed to be her own secretary before hanging up. I received one call-back that evening.

"Before I could untie my tongue long enough to thank Miss Clooney for her prompt and unforeseen attention (I expected to hear only from managers), she proclaimed, in that unmistakably throaty alto, "You are the only person who can write this book." My guess is she did a bit of research ("who is this guy?") and surmised, in typical Mama Rose fashion, that I desperately needed encouragement. Given her remarkable gift for friendship, I soon entered her ever expanding family: She became Aunt Rose to my daughter, and a ready source of information, introductions, and inspiration to me.

"It was her combination of humor, candor, and maternalistic empathy that made her interpretations of lyrics so incomparably vital. No singer put more effort into getting at the core of the stories in songs. She could make the absolute most of an astonishing variety of them, from Duke Ellington's "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" (on her and Ellington's classic 1956 Blue Rose, for which Billy Strayhorn supervised her overdubbed vocals); Marc Blitzstein's "I Wish It So" (on her 1961 masterpiece with Nelson Riddle, Love, a defining statement on romance that sold so poorly it was discontinued, remaining unheard for more than 30 years); the Gershwins' "But Not for Me" (on 1979's Rosemary Clooney Sings the Lyrics of Ira Gershwin, one of several songbook albums with small jazz bands); Lerner and Loewe's "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" (which she purged of Chevalierian salaciousness on 1997's Mothers & Daughters, an autumnal treatise on maternal love); and Dave Frishberg's wry "I Want To Be a Sideman" (on 1998's At Long Last with the Count Basie Orchestra, a project she relished, having worked but never recording with Basie himself). She is the only singer every inducted into jazz and cabaret halls of fame. Her musical recipe was simplicity itself: great tunes, solid beat, emotional honesty--practically a definition of jazz, or at least a kind of smart jazz-influenced pop we won't see again."

Copyright Gary Giddins

Gavin De Becker

EDITOR'S NOTE: Gavin is widely regarded as our nation's leading expert on the prediction and management of violence. He is the best-selling author of THE GIFT OF FEAR, PROTECTING THE GIFT, and FEAR LESS.

"When I was 16, my mother died, and Rosemary drove down and held me as I cried in the street in front of our house. She then took me into her home, even though she already had five children and plenty of challenges of her own. Thinking back in recent days, I've been amazed that there was never any discussion, it was just obvious that I had a home with her. When she restarted her career, working fairs and hotel lounges, she couldn't afford an assistant, and I (at 17) certainly couldn't expect to be paid - and she took me on the road with her. At that point in her career, she got no fancy suites, no first-class air travel, no limousines. We stayed at Holiday Inns and I drove a rental car. She had to stand in line with me to rent the cars because I was too young. And we laughed every day about whatever we could, and she sang beautifully and even at county fairs, she gave world-class, God-blessed performances. For 32 years, she was the mother to whom I proudly reported every accomplishment, from whom I received encouragement, and whose home and generous family was the home and family throughout my life. She held my heart, opened my heart, and the loss breaks my heart, but mostly, I feel grateful for the gift she is in my life."

Gary Jaffe of Linda Chester and Associates

Editor's Note: Linda Chester & Associates served as literary agent for Rosemary's second autobiography Girl Singer.

"Immediately following college, a good friend turned me on to the joys of Rosemary. And since then, I've felt enormously fortunate to have not only enjoyed listening to her timeless recordings, but also to have seen her perform live at least 10 times. She was and always will be one the great singers and song stylists of the 20th century.

"Something that has frustrated me in the tributes I've read since her recent passing are the constant references to her early work being 'fraught with dumb songs like "Come On-A My House,"' etc. It's true, of course, that Rosemary came into the public eye with material like this, but she was also recording standards and high quality material as early as the late 1940's (listen to her 1949 recording of 'Bargain Day' to see that she was already poised to be a major interpreter of ballads.) Now, do we judge Ella Fitzgerald's career by a silly song like 'A-Tisket, A-Tasket'? These performers were required to churn out commercial/novelty songs like every other singer of their time - the point is that, because of their enormous gifts, these tunes of questionable quality glowed as if they were written by Porter or Gershwin.

"If you listen to her recordings of 'I Wish It So' (1961), 'The Summer Knows' (1983) and 'Secret of Life' (2000) back to back, you will see that Rosemary's magic is present in every phase of her career. We can never forget her or her indispensable contribution to popular song."


  "I loved Rosemary Clooney. She was a wonderful friend and an artist I greatly
  respected. When we were filming the movie 'The Stars are Singing,' Rosemary
  gave me my first bottle of cologne for my 15th birthday. It was Arpege. I used it for years after that."


EDITOR'S NOTE: Sal is co-owner & chef at the famous New York Italian Restaurant, Patsy's. He's followed in his grandfather Patsy's footsteps and also those of his father Joe. Patsy's was Rosemary's favorite restaurant in New York City. She'd been coming to Patsy's since 1948. It was like an extension of her home, and the people a part of her family.

"I'm so honored to have known Rosemary Clooney. She was so nice, just good in every way. I didn't know all of her songs, or all the movies she'd been in, because for us, it was beyond that, she was just my friend. There was never any pretense with her.

"It is just so sad, I can't believe she isn't going to walk in that door. When she'd come through the door, she'd give you a big hug and a kiss. And I mean a real one, she'd hold on real strong, and she'd hold your face in her hands and look in your eyes.

"I'd call her Ms. Clooney and she said to me, very emphatically, ‘You call me Aunt Rosemary.' She'd always want me to sit down and talk with her, and sometimes I'd have to say, ‘I can't, I gotta cook.'

"She loved having her family around. One evening she had some of her grandkids nestled around her, hugging on them, and she said to me, ‘isn't this great, isn't this what life is all about Sal?'

"When I was putting the book together (Patsy's Cookbook), for legal reasons you have to get people's permission to quote them or use their likeness in print. Well there are like 35 or 40 quotes in the book, so we had to send out all these forms for the celebrities to sign to give us permission to include them. You know the only person who I didn't ask permission cause it would have offended her was Rosemary. And she even wrote something really nice for the book.

"We were good to each other. She really made us feel like we were a member of her family...and that's how it feels, like I've lost a member of my family. She'd always say, come out and see me. In the restaurant business I don't ever get to take a real vacation. Now I wish I'd taken her up on her offer.

"Her favorite dish was Pasta Fagiole, beans and macaroni. She had others like Pasta Ceci, chickpeas and pasta, and in later years Risotto Primavara, rice and vegetables, but her real favorite, what she'd always order if she was ordering out, was beans and macaroni. And we only make that on Wednesdays, but whenever she wanted it, we'd make it for her.

"Once we went to see her at 'Rainbow and Stars' and she stopped the show and made my dad stand up and she introduced him to everyone, like he was really somebody special. That's just the way she treated us. That's just the kind of person she was.

"I remember on the 'Late Late Show with Tom Synder,' he and Rosemary were lamenting how the world had changed so much and that what happened back in the 40s when Patsy let her run a tab for four months, that sort of thing wouldn't happen today, cause that type of kindness it just doesn't exist anymore. Then there was this pause, and all of sudden she sat up and she said ‘NO, I bet you it still exists...with Joey... Patsy's son.' That makes the hair on my neck stand up.

"She'd told a reporter years ago, ‘whenever I'm in town, I always have to have a Patsy's Pasta Pilgrimage.' She always wanted to do something for us, she'd say, ‘let me do something.' For us it was enough she loved us, and we could love her back. But she was a great PR person for us. I mean she'd talk us up so much, it was like ridiculous sometimes. When we were coming out with the sauces, she said to me. ‘Sal you ever want to go on QVC or something and they need a celebrity, you just let me know, I'll do it.' I'd never thought about that, she'd just boggle my mind with what she'd be willing to do.

"We've gotten to be a bridge bringing together so many people. I got to introduce Rosemary's son Miguel Ferrer to Frank's granddaughter A. J. Lambert. She brought people together, and she brought people here, Beverly D'Angelo, Allen her manager, her family, Nick. She brought Nick here in 1949. The story Nick tells about his first time here is very cute (you can read it in Patsy's Cookbook).

"Sinatra and she possessed that unique ability to make you feel like they were singing just to you. It was personal and they could make that connection that it was just you and them. She was the female version of Frank.

"How could you not love her. Once there was this radio personality who had been making some jabs about her on his show. So one night he comes in, and we say to him, ‘hey there is someone who wants to meet you.' He asked who and we told him Rosemary Clooney. Well his mouth drops, but he goes to meet her and she ribs him back about what he'd said about her, and within like 30 seconds she'd won him over, and by five minutes they were huggin and kissin. I mean how could you not love her.

"It is so easy to be tempted to let yourself be changed. It is hard to stay yourself and not let success negatively effect you. And she never did. Everything she said she meant. What you saw is what you got. It gives me a little comfort to know we were a part of so many wonderful memories for her. The world is a much sadder place without her in it. I'm really gonna miss her."



EDITOR'S NOTE: Joe, co-owner of Patsy's, is the son of the restaurant's founder. He worked along-side his dad beginning at the age of seven. He followed in his father's footsteps serving as one of only three chefs in the restaurant's history. He turned over the chef duties to his son Sal, about 17 years ago.

"Losing Rosemary, it broke my heart. I can see her coming in the door now...big smile, arms outstretched, ready for a hug. I fell in love with her years ago when she'd come in here with her sister Betty. She was a beautiful girl. It is too hard to believe she is gone. A whole era is gone now, we will miss her. She'd smile every time she looked at me. She'd hug me and say, ‘Everything ok Joey?' With all she had going on in her life at times and with all her problems, she'd console me, or whoever needed consoling. Such a good person.

"The page is turned in the book now. There are only a couple left from that Golden Era, Tony Bennett, Vic Damone, just a couple.

"She'd point to that first table and say, ‘Joey, that's where Frank tried to pick me up.'

"She didn't really have a favorite spot or table in the restaurant, just walking through the door was her favorite spot.

"She'd say ‘Joey your father kept us alive.' Papa loved everyone, once he had me rip up a box of checks. They'd be worth so much now just for the autographs, but they were struggling and couldn't pay, and Papa said rip them up.

"She was so loyal, she loved people, she never turned anyone away if they came up to her and wanted an autograph or to say hi. She had such love and affection and humanity.

"One night Placido Domingo was upstairs and Rosemary was in here and I told her he was upstairs and she said, ‘Joey I love him, I'd love to meet him.' So I go upstairs and I say ‘Mr. Domingo, someone would like to meet you.' And he says who and I said ‘Rosemary Clooney.' He said, ‘My God, I'm dying to meet her.' So I took him down and they hugged and kissed and took their picture together. Families have been extended in Patsy's.

"Whatever she'd want, if it wasn't available, we'd make it available. It became available as soon as she asked for it.

"She didn't just feed her body in here, she feed her soul. She'd say, ‘Joey, I'm coming home when I come here.'

One night here she was going to sing ‘My Funny Valentine' for Dante. She made everyone stop, told them to shut up and she sang to him. It was so touching, you can never recreate that. She radiated such warmth, there was just something about her.

When she wrote the book (Girl Singer), we asked where they were having the party. She said they weren't, they were just going to do book signings in bookstores. We said, ‘the hell you aren't having a party, you'll have it here.' We closed the restaurant, invited 400 people and had a great time. The next day, she sent me 300 roses.

I have to think she's not really gone. She's home in Kentucky and she will be coming here anytime and she'll walk though that door like she has thousands of time.

"I've walked with kings, and I'm telling you she is one of the most memorable people of my life."



EDITOR'S NOTE: Anna is the daughter of Patsy and the mother of Frank DiCola, one of the co-owners of the restaurant.

"Rosemary started coming to Patsy's when she first got to New York. My father took such a liking to her, he told her when she was struggling to find work, that she could have a meal here anytime. He said to her, 'someday if you could pay me back when you make it, then you pay me.' She was part of our family and we've lost a dear friend. She referred to me as her sister, even when she signed my copy of her book, she signed it, 'To My Sister Anna.' She used to come in here with Jose Ferrer, and even after they broke up they would meet here for different occasions. She had such a wonderful family, her children, her wonderful brother Nick and his wife Nina. Her children were very close to her, her grandchildren too, she was so close to them. They will miss her.

"She was always bringing people in here with her, sometimes groups of 10 or 20, once even 22, mostly her family, but sometimes famous people like Linda Ronstadt and Michael Feinstein. I remember once meeting Kathryn Crosby, she was here with Rosemary and she came up to me and said, 'Your father was so good to everyone. Rosemary can't stop talking about him. I wish I'd had the chance to meet him.'

"I was so happy when she married Dante. He was so good to her. I remember her telling us about how when she told her nephew George that she was going to get married he said something like 'why so soon, what's your rush.' We all laughed.

"A few years ago she was in Lennox Hill hospital and she told them there that she couldn't survive on what they were giving her, that they needed to go to Patsy's for her. Joey made her two containers of Pasta Fagolie. After she tasted it, she said, 'now I feel better.'

"She was a true friend, not a phoney at all. We were like one big family. We'll miss her."



EDITOR'S NOTE: Frank is one of the co-owner's of Patsy's, son of Anna, and grandson of Patsy. Frank has been working at Patsy's since he was 13 and has been there full time for the last 25 years. He primarily takes care of the accounting and purchasing parts of the business, and helps his Uncle Joe oversee the dining room.

"Rosemary was part of our extended family. When she'd come in, she would look for all of us, it was like she was coming to our house for a visit and she'd want to know where everyone was. 'Where's Frank,' or 'why's Anna not here, how is she,' she'd ask, wanting to make sure she saw everyone and got caught up on what was going on in our lives.

"She was so very nice, I can't say enough about her. She'd kid a lot and she'd said I was the handsomest and best looking one in the family.

"It really touched her when we had her book party here. But really how can your repay someone who has gone around the world talking about you. You can't repay that."



EDITOR'S NOTE: Susan processes all the product and gift basket orders for Patsy's Restaurant.

"For the last 6 or 7 years, Rosemary had been sending 25 to 40 Patsy's gift baskets out at Christmas time to her friends and family. I got to know her when she'd call in to place the orders for her gift baskets. She'd never met me, she didn't really know me, but she'd tell me to come to LA and bring my family and stay at her house with her, that she had plenty of room. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to go, but I knew her invitation was genuine. Each time I spoke with her, I always felt special. It was like talking to a close member of my family. She would take the time, with genuine interest, to ask about me and my family. She was a genuinely kind and friendly person who will be greatly missed."


Editor's Note: Joan was Rosemary's cowriter for her second autobiography Girl Singer. Joan has also written several books including A Death in Canaan. In 1990 she authored an article that ran in LEARS magazine entitled "CLOONEY! The "Come On-a My House" singer, home at last." Pictured at left are Joan and Rosemary taken in front of Rosemary's house on the Ohio River in Augusta, Ky, sometime after the LEARS piece and before Girl Singer.

Rosemary was used to sold-out houses, so of course St. Patrick's Church was SRO, with sidewalk overflow. At the end of the funeral Mass, Nick Clooney talked about his sister's gift for connecting with people. "Everybody here is secretly thinking, 'I knew her best,' " he said. I looked around at all the people who could make that claim:

  ...Nick himself, beginning with their tangled childhood.

  ...her husband Dante, who loved her with such generous intensity for more than half a century.

  ...her children and grandchildren, always her priority and pride.

  ...Blanche Chambers, girlhood friend, stupidly separated in school because of color but nonetheless, always inseparable.

  ...Allen Sviridoff, close friend and manager who guided her back to contemporary professional heights.

  ...Jackie Rose, her roomate in Manhattan in 1950.

  ...and so many others, I had to stop. "Goodbye, Rosemary," Nick said.

Back at the house, I sat on the porch, watching the river that she has now followed safely home. She'd entrusted me with her life story, and in the nearly two years we'd worked on GIRL SINGER, our relationship had been so much like the river--sometimes tranquil, sometimes turbulent--that maybe I could say I knew her best.

But as I listened to her music playing throughout the house, all afternoon, I realized it's not a matter of "knew." Her music is now. Today, tomorrow. Always. Present tense. Who knows her best? And that's easy. Whenever you listen to her singing, when you not only hear but understand its emotional truth, its intimate grace, its uncluttered, uncomprimising honesty: you do.


Editor's Note: RoseMarie toured with Rosemary Clooney for 8 years as part of the act "4 Girls 4". She's known to most from her starring days as Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show and her 14 years as a regular on The Hollywood Squares. Her autobiography HOLD THE ROSES will be available in October 2002.

"It is my pleasure to be a part of a project, in memory of a dear friend.

"I knew Rosemary for many years before having the honor of working with her in '4 Girls 4.' We were on the road together for 8 years and became fast friends. We both loved to cook and always enjoyed eating Italian food together. It was a pleasure to be on the same stage with such a talented, well loved legend. Her voice was a gift from God and she was the consumate professional. I dare say there is no one who hasn't, at some time in their life, been touched by a Rosemary Clooney song. Her legacy will live on in all of our hearts."


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