Family closes Rosemary Clooney memorial to public

Mon Jul 1, 7:54 PM ET

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) - The family of 1950s singing sensation Rosemary Clooney closed a public memorial service planned for Wednesday "due to tremendous response" for seats in the Beverly Hills church, Clooney's publicist said Monday.

Clooney died Saturday at her Beverly Hills mansion from complications of lung cancer. She was 74.

Plans for the evening rosary at Church of the Good Shepherd were announced Monday, but hours later it was changed from a public to a private event.

"The family thanks those who want to extend their personal wishes, but the church is at capacity and cannot accommodate any unexpected guests," publicist Linda Dozoretz said in a statement.

A public memorial is scheduled for Dec. 9 in Los Angeles, Dozoretz said.

Clooney will be buried in her native Kentucky on Friday. The former "girl singer" is survived by her five children with ex-husband Jose Ferrer, an Academy Award-winning actor who died in 1992.

Clooney shot to fame with a string of hits in the 1950s including the million-selling "Come On-A My House" and "Mambo Italiano" and had a successful, if limited, film career.

After virtually quitting music during a period of personal difficulties in the late 1960s, she reemerged in the 1980s, endearing herself to a new generation of music fans and landing a recurring role on hospital drama "ER" opposite her nephew, George Clooney.