Rosemary Clooney Mass is Friday in Maysville

'Girl singer,' 74, got start on WLW-AM as a teenager

By John Kiesewetter,, The Cincinnati Enquirer - Tuesday, July 02, 2002

  Services for Rosemary Clooney,the singer who died Saturday of lung cancer at her Beverly Hills home, have been set for Wednesday in California and Friday in her hometown of Maysville, Ky.

  A rosary service will be 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills.

  A Mass of Christian burial will be 10 a.m. Friday at St. Patrick's Church, Maysville.

  That's where Ms. Clooney, 74, was baptized, made her first Holy Communion, and married former Hollywood dancer Dante DiPaolo in 1997.

  A memorial service will follow immediately in St. Patrick's Cemetery chapel. She will be buried next to family members.

  Ms. Clooney started her 57-year show business career in 1945, singing with her younger sister, Betty, on WLW-AM. Later that year, the Clooney Sisters toured with Tony Pastor's orchestra.

  In 1951, as a solo act, she recorded “Come On-A My House,” the first of her five No. 1 hit records that decade.

  In 1953, Maysville honored Ms. Clooney with a parade for her movie debut, The Girls are Singing, at the Russell Theatre in downtown Maysville. Within a month, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine.

  In the summer of 1953, she married actor Jose Ferrer. Although they had five children in five years, she continued to perform, record albums and host a national TV show.

  White Christmas — the 1954 film in which she starred with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Cincinnati native Vera-Ellen — has become a holiday TV staple. She also starred in Here Come the Girls (1953) with Bob Hope, who would be a life-long friend; Red Garters (1954) with Gene Barry and Buddy Ebsen; Deep In My Heart (1954) with Mr. Ferrer; and the Radioland Murders.

  Ms. Clooney's career was marked by several comebacks. She had a nervous breakdown after witnessing her friend Robert Kennedy's assassination in 1968, and didn't resume performing until 1974. She signed with the Concord Jazz label in 1977, making 24 albums in 21 years.

  She wrote about her personal struggles with prescription drugs in her auto biography, This for Remembrance (1977), which became a CBS movie, Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney Story, in 1982.

  In 1998, she spent three days in a coma with a near-fatal bout of viral meningitis. But she returned to the stage and wrote another book, Girl Singer: An Autobiography.

  In February, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2002 Grammy Awards. Her son, Miguel Ferrer, accepted the award while she was recovering from lung cancer surgery at the Mayo Clinic.

  Her sister Betty died of a brain aneurysm in 1976.

  Survivors include: her husband, Mr. DiPaolo; five children in the Los Angeles area: Miguel Jose Ferrer, Maria Providencia Ferrer-Murdock, Gabriel Vincente Ferrer, Mosita Teresa Ferrer-Botwick, and Rafael Francisco Ferrer; a brother, local broadcaster Nick Clooney of Augusta, Ky.; a sister, Gail Stone Darley of Los Angeles; and 10 grandchildren.

  Memorials may be sent to: Betty Clooney Foundation for Persons with Brain Injury, 4426 Village Road, Long Beach, CA 90808; the St. Patrick School Fund, 318 Limestone St., Maysville, KY 41056; or the Rosemary Clooney Fund for Support of Pulmonary Research, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St. S.W., Rochester, MN 55905.