The Record (Bergen County, NJ) - 2-11-95


Rosemary Clooney has just quit smoking, after 49 years.

She will continue to smoke, musically, however, at Rainbow & Stars in Manhattan, where she performs through March 4.

"Rainbow & Stars is just like a living room," said Clooney, who is marking her 50th year in the business. "It's so intimate and the people who come there really come and want to hear the music. They come with a purpose. I always have a new album coming out in January, and I do the show with most of the songs from the new album. This is a very, very special thing. I do this show just really for New York."

The January release this year is "Rosemary Clooney Demi-Centennial," which Clooney says contains songs she associates with the people in her life.

It includes "I'm Confessin' That I Love You," which was performed by bandleader Tony Pastor, who gave Clooney and sister Betty their first job in 1946. Clooney's rendition of "Falling in Love Again" is a tribute to pal Marlene Dietrich. "There Will Never Be Another You" is to Clooney's former husband Jose Ferrer, the late actor with whom she had five children.

"White Christmas" is for former screen co-star Bing Crosby; "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," and "Time Flies" are for Tony Bennett and Linda Ronstadt, respectively. "Mambo Italiano" salutes film and stage dancer Dante DiPaolo, Clooney's close companion.

Clooney and her sister launched their careers on radio in Cincinnati.

The duo joined Pastor's band as "The Clooney Sisters," making their debut at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. Clooney went out on her own a few years later and was taken under the wing of Mitch Miller and Columbia Records in 1951. Her first hit was "Come On-a My House."

Clooney, in album notes written by her brother, Nick Clooney, said she and Bennett often appeared on the same CBS radio and television shows when they were struggling to make it in New York.

"Tony always had exquisite taste [in music], even back then," she said. "His hits were good songs. I sold out. My hits were mostly bad songs."

She clarified a bit last week. "Well, they're not great songs," she said. "I took everybody's advice. I couldn't fight with the kind of success Mitch Miller was having with me." The bottom line at the time, she said, was to sell records.

Bing Crosby taught Clooney to be true to her audience.

"A big lesson was working with Crosby the last two years of his life in the 1970s," she said. "I never saw anybody trust an audience the way that he did.

Clooney's autobiography is appropriately named "This for Remembrance."

"It's a long time," she said. "You think about the friends that you have and the people that aren't here anymore. You also think about the friends that you've got right now that are coming up."

Rainbow & Stars is on the 65th floor at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Show times are 8:30 and 11 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays with an a la carte dinner menu offered from 6:30 p.m. and supper served from 10 p.m. There is a $40 cover charge. (212) 632-5000.

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