"Mother's at the Waldorf"

Newsweek, October 3, 1960

To the bright strains of "Clap Hands, Here Comes Rosie," Rosemary Clooney bounced up to the bandstand of the Empire Room at New York's Waldort-Astoria last week. With hardly a pause for breath, the blond singer belted out "Ev'rything's Coming Up Roses," and then moved into the seductive, husky-voiced rendition of "Tenderly," which has become her theme song. Before the roar of applause died down, she abruptly threw off the white ostrich-feather coat which had enveloped her like a tent. "I'll bet," she told the packed room, "that 50 per cent of the audience was saying 'She's pregnant again.' I fooled you, didn't I?"

What else could a Clooney fan think? Since she married Jose Ferrer seven years ago, she and the actor-director have produced five children in relentless succession: Miguel, Marian, Gabriel, Monsita, and Raphael. While this domestic bliss has afforded scattered opportunities for Rosie to appear on television ("When I walk onto a TV set," she said, "I automatically look for the highest piece of furniture to hide behind"), it has confined her personal appearances to the environs of Los Angeles, where she and Ferrer live in a big rambling house in Beverly Hills.

'Under My Hat'" Rosie's current four-week run at the Waldorf for example marks the first time she has sung on a New York stage in nine years--or since she played the Paramount after her record of "Come On-a My House" made her a star. And she confesses that she would not even be in New York except for a directing assignment Jose had on Broadway. After the Waldorf she will tape two TV shows and then, says Rosie, "I will be finished until the first of the year. Christmas shopping alone will take up all of my time."

The Clooney formula for having her babies and a career too is simple and direct, like Rosie herself. "I'm not an actress who has to have a play in New York or a movie in Hollywood in order to function," she explained. "If Joe has to be in New York in England, I can take what I do along under my hat. I know the songs I sing, and there are musicians anywhere in the world."

Although Ferrer's play was postponed, he has kept himself occupied in New York while Rosie is there by continuing his new operatic career. At the Brooklyn Academy of Music last week, he performed the title role in Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi," the part in which he made his debut last summer at Santa Fe, N.M. (Newseek, July 25).

When Ferrer went to Santa Fe, Miss Clooney and the kids tagged along. The two oldest were taken to hear one of the opera performances. "In the soprano aria when she sing "Oh! My beloved daddy, won't you be kind and help us?' Rosie recalled ruefully, "Maria, the 4-year-old, said in a very loud voice: 'He's not her father, he's my father.' Everyone could hear it. I could have died."