An inspired couple

The Record - 12-12-97


Looking for a really sweet romance story? Look no farther than the Sands, where you'll find newlyweds Rosemary Clooney and Dante DiPaolo.

Clooney, whose "White Christmas Party" runs through next Friday, and DiPaolo tied the knot last month. But the nuptials, which took place in Clooney's hometown, Maysville, Ky., capped a relationship that began when Dwight Eisenhower was president.

According to DiPaolo, a former Hollywood dancer, the two met on the set of the film "Here Come the Girls" (where, he said, he "fell in love" with Clooney), and continued their acquaintance during taping of the 1954 film classic "White Christmas." But DiPaolo ultimately quit that picture to perform in another Fifties movie musical, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." And that ended the relationship -- or so it seemed.

Clooney married twice (including a high-profile union with actor Jose Ferrer), but both unions ended in divorce. In 1973, fate intervened.

As DiPaolo explains it, he was sitting in his 1956 Thunderbird at a Beverly Hills stop light when Clooney pulled up next to him in her Corvette. They honked at each other, and Clooney yelled her phone number to DiPaolo, who wrote the number in the dust on his car's dashboard.

A lasting romance ensued, and last month they wed. But why, after 24 years as a couple, did they finally make it legal? Call it divine inspiration.

"We went to Rome last April," says Clooney, "and we had an audience with the pope. We were both brought up Catholic, but neither of us were ever married in the church."

The ceremony was held in Maysville, says Clooney, because she still has family there, as well as a house. Economics may have played a role as well.

"It cost me $6.25 to get my hair done [in nearby Augusta]," she says, "not including tip, of course."