"Fond Farewell to Rosemary Clooney: Beloved songstress dies of cancer at age 74"

by Patricia Nola, THE STAR - July 16, 2002

Singer Rosemary Clooney's final days were spent as a recluse because she didn't want her Hollywood friends to see how much she had deteriorated.

Clooney, 74, starred in 1954s White Christmas with Bing Crosby and sang the hit Come On-A My House.

She was surrounded by her five hcildren when she passed away from lung cancer at her Beverly Hills home June 29.

A few of Rosemary's closest friends -- Kathryn Crosby, Bing's window, and Dolores Hope, Bob Hope's wife -- had been allowed to visit earlier this year after she underwent lung cancer surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

And her nephew, George, with whom she starred on several episodes of ER, came by to see her -- but that was it.

Clooney became a star in 1951 with her recording of Come On-A My House, a song that she hated and almost refused to sing.

She married actor Jose Ferrer in 1953.

They had three sons -- Miguel, who stars on NBC's Crossing Jordan, Gavriel and Rafael.

The couple also had two daughters -- Maria and Monsita.

She and Ferrer divorced in 1961, remarried and then divorced again in 1967.

After the final divorce, she battled a weight problem and an addiction to pills and was admitted to a mental hospital.

Clooney underwent years of therapy and made her comeback in 1975 touring with Bing Crosby. But in recent years she suffered many health problems.

She was diagnosed with cancer in January.

Singer Pat Boone, whose daughter Debby is married to Clooney's son Gabriel, was not allowed to see the ailing legend before the end.

But he respected her wishes.

"She wanted us to remember her as she was," says Boone.

"Rosemary was one of the greatest singers in the world.

"She was a special and unique lady. We love her."