George pays tribute to Aunt Rosemary

During the course of George Clooney's promotional blitz for his new movies SOLARIS * CONFESSIONAL OF A DANGEROUS MIND, he has consistently mentioned his Aunt Rosemary and all that she taught him. In addition to paying tribute to her in print and in interviews, George has also honored his Aunt Rosemary by selecting her version of "There's No Business Like Show Business" to close his directorial debut movie, CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND which openED in late December.

Following are excerpts from George's interviews and articles.

ITV network interview 2/16/03

Here is an excerpt:


Clooney was well qualified to direct the film about TV game shows - his father was a former host of 1970s quiz The Money Maze.

"I grew up in a world of bad television and I was around game show sets during that exact same period of time. So as soon as I saw the screenplay I knew how to tell the story," he said.

The film includes a rendition of There's No Business Like Show Business by Rosemary Clooney, George's aunt who died last summer.

Clooney said: "We didn't know she was ill when we shot that scene, we just used it because it seemed the perfect song.

"She passed away afterwards and it's a great thing to be able to do this for her because she was such a huge part of my life and taught me so much about fame."

(For the complete article:

Living the Life of Clooney
60 Minutes II
January 8, 2003

(CBS) George Clooney is rich, handsome, smart and funny. He has a new movie out that’s getting great reviews. But not everyone has succumbed to this guy’s charms. Dan Rather reports.

On this day, Clooney’s appeal is completely lost on his sleeping 200 pound pig Max.

“Normally, he sleeps at the end of my bed&ldots; but now he’s gotten so fat,” says Clooney. He says that Max doesn’t help with the ladies, but “but he’s my longest relationship.”

Clooney may not be known for long relationships with women, but it’s certainly not for lack of opportunity. It is Clooney’s blessing and curse to be a heartthrob. Even his best movies are built around his looks.

If Clooney takes all this in stride, it’s because he understands show business in a way most beginners don’t. He grew up watching his aunt Rosemary Clooney, a singer and actress who appeared in classic films like White Christmas.

“When she was 21, 22 years old, she was the biggest thing,” he says. “On the cover of Life magazine, and singing and everybody loved her. She went out on the road. And while she’s on the road, rock and roll comes around and all women singers are gone. And suddenly they start telling her how bad she is in what she did. So she went through a very bad period of time, of hating herself, drugs, you know lost all of her money. So by example, she was a great lesson to me about how to deal with fame. Which there is no handbook for.”

It is a lesson Clooney has heeded in his career: “You have to have control. Because if you leave it up to other people at the end of the day, it will fall apart. And I would rather, when it falls apart, it be in my hands and not in someone else’s.”

George Clooney's Confessions

By Roger Friedman, FOX NEWS, Monday, December 30, 2002

"This is going to be a hard Christmas for our family," George Clooney told me yesterday right before we all went off to the premiere of his directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. He was thinking about his late aunt, the legendary (and truly so, no kidding) Rosemary Clooney who left this planet last June much too early.

"Christmas was a big time for her," George remembered. "Every year she'd send us a Christmas song on tape that she'd sing for the whole family. Then two years ago we got the tape and put it in and she said on it, I've been doing this for like 30 years and 'I've run out of Christmas songs.' So she sang 'Easter Parade!' Isn't that great?" He took a moment. "But it's still sad."

George did not forget Rosie when he was making Confessions. For one thing, he made sure her voice would be heard in the film. "We have her in the movie," he said. She sings at the end of the movie.

"I heard the song and it's Irving Berlin's song. His estate never lets that song out, but we called up and said it's a tribute to Rosie, so they let us use it."

You'll have to wait and see Confessions to hear which song George chose by his aunt.

"George Clooney - Curious About George"

Interview By Kam Williams - The Black World Today Contributor - Article Dated 11/27/2002

KW: I always associate your Aunt Rosemary with the holiday season because of her great work in that family classic, White Christmas. Will Christmas season be difficult for you to get through?

GC: "It will be tough, since this is the first one without her, and there's this thing she did every year, where she put together a tape, and later a CD, where she'd sing a Christmas song. Just one. And she'd send it as a Christmas card to everyone. So, this will be the first year that we don't have that. And that feels weird. She was a huge part of our lives."

KW: I know how busy you are as an actor, having to be away on location for long stretches of time. But did you get to say goodbye to her before she passed?

GC: "I was there with her the day she died. It had a big effect on all of us, especially my father. I chose Rosemary singing There's No Business Like Show Buiness as the closing song in the movie I just directed."

"Sci George - Clooney flying high, but feet on the ground"

By LOUIS B. HOBSON -- Calgary Sun, November 26, 2002

"There is no school for fame," Clooney says. "Until you've actually been there you can't possibly explain to someone else why you should never do certain things or how to behave or what to believe.

"My aunt (Rosemary Clooney) taught me a lot by example about what mistakes not to make because she made them all."

His aunt, Clooney's mentor since he was a teenager, died on June 29, barely a month after turning 74.

"At 20, Rosemary believed everyone when they told her she was a genius," Clooney says. "Eight years later, the music industry changed. Rock and roll arrived and instantly the female pop singers of her day were replaced. They were gone.

"She didn't become any less of a singer. People just didn't want her kind of music any more. She did the drugs, the alcohol, the depression, the breakdown, the divorces."

Twenty-five years after his aunt's fall from fame, Clooney found himself acting as her chauffeur when she went on tour with a female lounge act called 4 Girls 4 Tour.

At 20, when he was not camped out at Rosemary's Hollywood home, he was squiring Martha Raye, Helen O'Connell, Kaye Ballard and Rosemary to their gigs.

"It was a lot of fun. They were always drinking, laughing, smoking and trashing everyone they knew.

"They were tough old broads and I loved them. I really, really loved Rosemary. As a tribute to her, I close Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind with her version of There's No Business Like Show Business."

With a little prodding, Clooney admits he could well become the male version of his aunt.

"I have a group of male friends who are a lot like Rosemary's girls and like her guy pals, who included Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The big difference is that not all my buddies are in the business but we are close like Rosemary's group was."


"But thanks to my aunt I know there is a possibility this won't last. I won't always be in demand. I won't always have this privileged position, so I have to make the most of my time."

"Clooney's bottom line"

His latest movie may so far be best known for certain risqué shots, but it also looks like his biggest acting challenge

By BOB STRAUSS, Special to The Globe and Mail, November 25, 2002

Clooney attributes his ability to enjoy success while taking risks other stars might not to several factors. The up-and-down, but never out, examples set by his forebears -- his television-personality father Nick Clooney and his recently deceased aunt, the legendary singer Rosemary Clooney -- long ago convinced him that show business careers go through cycles no matter how you try to steer them. And the fact that his first up cycle was a long time in coming, he feels, makes him appreciate what he can get away with now even more.

"It really helps that I was 33 before I really started to make it," he figures.

"There's a great advantage to being 41 now and having not been famous for 25 years. There's a real advantage to growing up for a period of time and understanding things a little bit better. And the fact that my Aunt Rosemary went down the road before me . . . I had a lot of help.

"George Clooney only has eyes for his pig"

Reveals longest relationship is with 150 lb. porker Latest film outing, Solaris, opens in theatres next week


His mother, Nina, was a runner-up in the Miss Kentucky pageant. Father, Nick, was a popular TV anchorman and talk-show host in Cincinnati.

George was never close to his father growing up — "He worked a lot, so we didn't really get to know each other" — but now they speak at least once a week and trade letters. George types his on the 1972 IBM Selectric typewriter that he personally restored.

Clooney briefly considered a career in broadcasting, but quickly discovered "I was not bright enough." Instead, after attending Northern Kentucky University, he tried out to play baseball for the Cincinnati Reds. When he eventually arrived in Hollywood in his rusty 1976 Monte Carlo with little more than $300 in his pocket, he was welcomed into the home of his aunt, singer Rosemary Clooney.

She immediately put the aspiring actor to work as her personal driver.

Over the years, George looked to his aunt as an example of how to navigate the highs and lows of show business. "Rosemary didn't handle it very well when she became less famous after being on the cover of Life and Time and every magazine in the world," he explained in a 1999 interview.

"I've been able to look at her and go, `Well, from 1950 to 1957 she didn't become less of a singer, but she became less of a star.' You learn it has very little to do with you. The truth is, I'll probably end up on Hollywood Squares no matter what I do."

Rosemary was also one of the believers in her nephew's marriagability. "I can see him as a father so quickly," she said, shortly before her death last June. "He has such an ease with children."

"Take two"

By AMY LONGSDORF, Special to the Bergen, NJ RECORD Sunday, November 24, 2002

Clooney credits a lot of his media savvy to his aunt, crooner Rosemary Clooney, who died earlier this year. When he first came to Hollywood from his native Kentucky, the actor lived with his aunt and even worked as her driver, during a tour that also included big-band singers Helen O'Connell, Margaret Whiting, and Martha Raye.

Clooney visited his aunt the day she died and acted as a pall-bearer at her funeral. He's paying tribute to her by using her recording of "There's No Business Like Show Business" over the closing credits of "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."

"My aunt taught me a lot about the sort of things that there's no school for, which is fame," says Clooney. "She taught me by example, by making mistakes that I never wanted to make. You know, she made them all."

That said, you won't catch Clooney complaining about the price of fame.

"Having cut tobacco for a living, I understand what the guy who cuts tobacco goes through," he says. "I know what he thinks when he comes home, turns on his TV, and hears someone like me in my mansion, with my Porsche, going, 'You know, life is tough.'

"They don't want to hear it. The trick is to understand that all of these things celebrities gripe about are small potatoes compared to what other people out there are going through."

"George Clooney wants you to take him seriously"

BY CINDY PEARLMAN Chicago Sun Times 11/24/02

"I love it when I step on a set and I don't really know emotionally what is going to be asked of me," he says.

Truth be told, it's been a rather emotional year with the passing of his beloved aunt and national treasure, singer Rosemary Clooney. Mention her name and Clooney's eyes mist up and his voice becomes that of a little boy.

"Oh, I miss her so much," he says. "My Dad used to talk to her every day and I talked to her all the time. It seems strange that I can't just pick up a phone and have her with me." In fact, during his struggling actor days in his early 20s, Clooney had a job as the limo driver to his aunt when she was on tour.

"There was nothing sweet and subtle about driving those broads around," he says, his eyes dancing merrily. "In the backseat, Martha Rae would shout, 'Georgie, pull the car over, I have to take a leak.' Then she'd hang a leg out the window and do her stuff while I kept looking forward. Meanwhile, my Aunt Rosemary would say, 'Honey, don't turn around. You'll learn too much about the aging process.'"

Clooney credits his aunt with why he hasn't become a drug-taking nightmare of a movie star who believes in his own fame above all else.

"Aunt Rosemary taught me about all sorts of things, including that there's no school for fame. She told me that until you're in it, you can't possibly explain to someone else that going to a premiere or doing press--the stuff people think is exciting--is truly sort of wearing and hard.

"She taught me by example of the mistakes not to make because she made all of them," he says. "Rosemary believed it at age 21 when everybody said, 'You're a genius.' At age 28 when the music industry changed, she didn't become less of a singer, but suddenly rock 'n' roll was here and no one thought she was a genius anymore. She hadn't done anything differently and suddenly, she was out. She was a failure, and she got caught up in drugs and did all of the things that everyone does, mostly based on the idea that she believed the hype.


Of course, the Kentucky native who cut his teeth on his father Nick Clooney's local TV shows, always wanted to be famous. It just took a couple of decades for him to get there. "The funny thing is that I never gave up," he says. "I figured that as an actor if I was working then I was winning because 95 percent of the people who want to be actors never work. They're in the union but make less then five grand a year.


He's also responsible for life as an A list movie star. Again, Aunt Rosemary put it into perspective for him. "She died last May when we were shooting the most difficult emotional film I've ever done which is 'Solaris.' On the day she died, we were doing the only happy scene in the movie and I got the call that she was dying.

"So, I went over to her house to say goodbye. I also told her that at the end of my movie 'Confessions,' I have her singing 'There's No Business Like Show Business' and that made her really happy, which made it all worth it to me."