has been said that we can tell a lot about people from the company
they keep. That is certainly true of legendary singer Rosemary
Clooney. She hobnobbed with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra,
Marlene Dietrich, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holliday and John and Robert
Kennedy. But being around the greats never went to her head. She was
Rosemary from Maysville, Ky., after all, and her lifetime friends
included the friends of childhood; the boys and girls in the band
whose names appear only in small print on album liner notes; fellow
singers who, like her in her lifetime, struggle to find a stage and a
mike in a tough business; and fellow human beings she touched in her
very special way.
has been said, too, that she was an Earth Mother, and it is true
that she literally became mom to those who needed her. She mentored
those who needed mentoring
pushed those who needed pushing and she ran interference for those
who needed an
Rosemary Clooney Palladium has been working on a "Rosemary's
Friends Remember" page. We have been contacting a few folks
"in the industry" whom we know were part of Rosemary's circle.
We requested that they contribute a quote or an anecdote to be included
in this tribute page.
We're not "in the industry" and so these folks don't know
us at all, but they loved Rosemary, and so they have been willing to
share their memories of her with the world. Rosemary would have done
this for a Bing website, or a Dean website or a Frank website. We
shouldn't have been surprised that her friends would do the same for
a website honoring her. So, this is the result. The page will
continue to expand as more memories come our way.
of us who have followed her career have always known that Rosemary
Clooney was a sweetheart. In case you didn't know, the folks who were
her real family and those whom she called her friends, her sisters
and her sons and daughters are sweethearts too.
"She was a tremendous
person. A helluva musician. She did more with communicating a song
than I have ever heard and she didn't have half the breath half the
time to do it. She lived inside the songs she sang and made us go
with her there, too. She was a great person to eat with, drink with
and she was a wonderful presence when she held court. When audience
responses weren't to her liking, she worked harder and although she
could fly out a "shut up" playfully to someone during a
show (usually to someone who was so comfortable that they felt they
could talk to her right there) she never compromised her performance.
She was always great.
"One quick story, when
we were together at Mackinac Island in Michigan 2 years ago, Rose
invited Jess (John's wife) and I and Maddie (their daugher) to dinner
along with her manager (Allen Sviridoff) and his wife and Rose's best
friend (Jackie Rose). We were a little skeptical at bringing Maddie,
but we had enough 'stuff' to keep her occupied. Stuff that included
stickers. Well, of course, Maddie passed out the stickers, but wanted
everyone to put them on their face. Rosie happily agreed and long
after our stickers came off, there was Rose telling a Bing Crosby
story with a sticker on each cheek and one on her forehead. She was
somethin' else. I am sad."
"Rosie [and I] do go
back a long way, and it is hard for me to pick out a particular time
to remember. Her sister, Betty, was also a big part of our
friendship. Rosie loved her so much, and it was very special to
witness their love for each other. That part we shared will always be
something I treasure."
"When I wrote 'When
October Goes' to that wonderful Johnny Mercer lyric, I swear, I
was imagining Rosemary Clooney singing the song. You could say I
wrote it for her voice. In fact, that same night, I had a dream that
she was singing it on the Tonight Show.
"Years later, I was tuning into the Tonight Show, and
there she was, singing 'When October Goes' just as I had dreamt it.
Having Rosemary sing one of my songs was one of the great thrills of
my professional life. She was one of the last of a kind of singer
that interprets the lyric and makes the melody her own. She comes
from that great time when singers respected the songwriter and music
arranger more than anyone and how their interpretation showed that!
"As a human being, Rosemary was as dear and down to Earth as
anyone I ever knew. I loved working with her and took pride in
calling her a friend. I will miss her very much."
"Rosie was such an inspiration to me (and many other young
singers, I'm sure) in her commitment to a lyric, and her purity of time.
"There were few like Rosemary Clooney -- few with her wit,
with her sex appeal (even in later life when she wasn't the perfect
36-24-36 anymore) with her absolute truth that came through every
song she put her mark on.
"As a neighbor I have little memory of Rosie. She lived only
a few houses up from my mother and dad on Roxbury Drive in Beverly
Hills, and I know she was close to them early in their marriage, and
a confidant to Mom when my parents were going through their divorce
(she understood Latins, I guess, having been married to Jose Ferrer).
But unfortunately, the way Beverly Hills is, I didn't hang out with
her kids on the street much (the police used to stop us if we were
even walking on the sidewalks in Beverly Hills!).
"Rosie was kind enough to honor me with her words of
encouragement when I recorded my first CD on her record label,
Concord Jazz. She was a huge fan of my work in the theatre, and quite
in love with my husband, Larry Luckinbill. (Laurence Luckinbill,
actor and narrator, is best known for Boys in the Band, Star
Trek 5: The Final Frontier and numerous appearances on television.)
"One of the the last times we were able to see Ro perform was
on Larry's birthday (Nov. 21) in 1999, at Feinstein's at the Regency
in New York City, and I was telling her about my offer to go to
London with Witches of Eastwick. She turned to her manager
(Allen Sviridoff), who also books Feinstein's, and said, 'You gotta
get Lucie in here before she goes away!' And he did. I played a
wonderful engagement there just two weeks before leaving to spend 15
months in England.
"It doesn't seem possible that her voice is stilled -- but it
will never really be silent as long as we have her music. And now
she's where she can lead the best choir in the heavens. God
bless you, Ms. Clooney."
"SHE IS IN THE CLASS OF THE GREATEST OF SONG STORY TELLERS.
AN AMAZING TALENT. WE WILL TRULY MISS HER.
"ALOHA, DON HO."
Glen Barros, President, Concord
"Rosemary left an
indelible impression upon Concord Records, with 25 albums over 25
years. She graciously credited Concord with reviving her career, but
her contributions to our label were equally meaningful. Quite simply,
Rosemary played a very significant role in building Concord Records.
And, while we will miss her terribly, we have the comfort of knowing
that she left each one of us with a rich musical legacy---a legacy
which we will have the privilege to honor and protect. Rosemary will
always remain a living part of the Concord Records family."
“...an enormous personal
loss, as she was my great friend and colleague...She was one of
America's finest pop vocalists, with a clear, pure voice filled with warmth and
sincerity. She was a wonderful person."
August 5, 2002
"A Message to Rosemary"
Once in a while a person enters your life who changes it so
fundamentally that you can't imagine what things were like before you
met them. Rosemary was such a force in my life. I know that I am not
alone in this experience, for she effected so many friends and fans
in a similar fashion. Her deep love and warmth made you feel like you
were the most special person in the world. She lived life from a deep
place and had no time for artifice or phoniness.
Humor was a Clooney trademark, and she laughed abundantly. She
also cried abundantly and had sadness underneath the nurturing that
made me wish that I could have eased it for her. But no one could. If
she only knew how much she gave to others, how much we adored who she
was and how we treasured the expression of her personality through
It was her voice after all that made her beloved, even by those
who never even knew her. The voice carried a resonance that caressed
you completely. It had humor, honesty, life lessons, heartbreak, a
smile in spite of the tears, joy, candor, abandon and grace. And
holding it all together was an innate musicianship that effortlessly
expressed everything she felt and lived. We were there with her
through it all.
She had the courage to be comfortable with who she was onstage and
was happiest when she was singing for us. And so were we.
Thank you Rosemary for a wonderful time. Your legacy will always
be with us and your music will remind us of how priceless life really is.
(The following quotes from Michael were compiled
from various reports including UPI and Cincinnati Enquirer)
"Rosemary Clooney was one of the great distinctive voices of
the century. She was an impeccable interpreter of the best of our
American musical literature. She was very self deprecating and it was
genuine. She loved talent. She was a great mentor and support of
others and she lived passionately. [Her recordings] will remain an
aural legacy and a primer for other singers when they want to know
how it should be done.
"She did not like the material she had to sing when she
started recording as a solo artist for Columbia, but it was those
flash-in-the-pan hits that made people aware of her talent -- and her
talent transcended the material. She deserves to be remembered for
the great artist that she was and I'm in shock, because she's one of
those people I never expected to lose in spite for her physical
difficulties. [She] referred to herself as my
Beverly Hills mother....I owe the beginning of my recording career to
Rosemary because she generously agreed to sing a duet with me on my
first album. Several radio DJs later told me that they paid attention
to it because she was on it.
"Her music was an extraordinary extension of
this joyful soul...She was an earth mother, a heart person, and that
quality came through in her music. The warmth she radiated onstage
was the same warmth she gave to everyone offstage. She
loved life and she loved singing more than anything.
"It was the love of her audience that sustained her when she
wasn't in the greatest physical health these last couple of years.
She still insisted on getting out there and performing because it was
just part of her soul. She had the gift of the music. Music was
something that was a constant for her, when a lot of other things
came and went."
& BOB HOPE
"Bob and I are
heartbroken at the loss of our dear friend Rosie.
"For over 50 years she
has brightened our lives with the richness of her personality and her
voice. Her courage and love have been an inspiration to all who call
"We who are left behind
will miss her greatly, but take comfort in knowing that her warm
voice is now part of the choir of angels."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Diana
wrote the following when Rosemary received her Grammy Lifetime
Achievement Award in February of 2002. After Rosemary passed away
Diana said this was still how she felt about Rosemary. There
friendship began only six years ago, but it was as if they'd known
each other a lifetime. The present tense in the original tirbute has
been changed to the past tense and placed within parentheses
"The first Rosemary Clooney record I bought, when I was about
14 years old, was Everything's Coming Up Rosie – her first album
for Concord, in 1977. That was her 'comeback' record, but Rosemary
Clooney had always been a part of my life. Every Christmas my family
watched White Christmas (we still do). My father would play 'Count
Your Blessings' on the piano. And Rosemary was heard in our home more
than just on Christmas Eve.
"As a jazz piano player, I was drawn to Rosemary's recordings
because I love the way she sings – her singing influenced my
playing. I would play along with her records, trying to capture the
same feel. She is true to the melody, yet makes it uniquely hers.
"And she knows how to tell a story – both ours and her
own. When Rosemary sings a song, you know she knows what she's
talking about – every lyric she sings, you know she's lived. The
best piece of advice she ever gave me was, 'Just sing the damn song,
honey, it's all right there!'"
"...several comebacks into her stellar career,
Rosemary...developed an even greater understanding of her voice and
the unique and powerfully effective way she approache[d] a song.
"Rosemary Clooney [was] one of the most important
interpreters of American popular song, and she has collaborated with
some of the finest arrangers, musicians, and singers of our time,
including Guy Mitchell, Marlene Dietrich, the Benny Goodman Sextet
and Duke Ellington. This is not only because of her great talent, but
because of who she [was] – generous, smart, funny, indomitable;
devoted to her family and dedicated to her music; mother and mentor,
girl singer and road warrior. Rosemary [was] always herself –
she [was] too honest not to be, whether on-stage or off....my dear
Rosemary, you are a blessing to us all."
“I found out in later years from working with her, that she
didn't just sing anything...the lyric had to really mean something to
her for her to sing it.”
“It hasn't hit me yet that she's not going to walk out on the
stage ever again...what I've learned from her I will try to pass onto
other younger singers that I work with. I already find myself saying,
what would Rosemary Clooney do in this situation?" (from
the Cincinnati Enquirer)
"[Clooney was] beloved
by singers. Bing Crosby adored her. She
had a great sense of humor and a great sense of rhythm. She simply
took the copy and sang it frankly from the heart. She had honesty and
it showed in her singing. She called me 'sister,' which always
pleased me." (from
the San Francisco Examiner, July 3, 2002)
EDITOR'S NOTE: Following
is an excerpt from Gary Giddins' "Cadenza" column, to
appear in the October issue of Jazz Times.
Gary is the author of "Bing
Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams The Early Years 1903-1940,"
which includes quotes from Rosemary and is in part dedicated to her.
Pictured is Gary presenting Rosemary with the Manhattan Association
of Cabaret's (MAC) Lifetime Achievement Award on April 1, 2001.
"In 1992, when I embarked on a biography of Bing Crosby, my
first problem was: How do I penetrate Hollywood? One day I placed a
dozen calls to representatives of movie people, and reached answering
machines, supercilious assistants, and an estwhile glamour queen who
claimed to be her own secretary before hanging up. I received one
call-back that evening.
"Before I could untie my tongue long enough to thank Miss
Clooney for her prompt and unforeseen attention (I expected to hear
only from managers), she proclaimed, in that unmistakably throaty
alto, "You are the only person who can write this book." My
guess is she did a bit of research ("who is this guy?") and
surmised, in typical Mama Rose fashion, that I desperately needed
encouragement. Given her remarkable gift for friendship, I soon
entered her ever expanding family: She became Aunt Rose to my
daughter, and a ready source of information, introductions, and
inspiration to me.
"It was her combination of humor, candor, and maternalistic
empathy that made her interpretations of lyrics so incomparably
vital. No singer put more effort into getting at the core of the
stories in songs. She could make the absolute most of an astonishing
variety of them, from Duke Ellington's "I Let a Song Go Out of
My Heart" (on her and Ellington's classic 1956 Blue Rose,
for which Billy Strayhorn supervised her overdubbed vocals); Marc
Blitzstein's "I Wish It So" (on her 1961 masterpiece with
Nelson Riddle, Love, a defining statement on romance that sold
so poorly it was discontinued, remaining unheard for more than 30
years); the Gershwins' "But Not for Me" (on 1979's Rosemary
Clooney Sings the Lyrics of Ira Gershwin, one of several
songbook albums with small jazz bands); Lerner and Loewe's "Thank
Heaven for Little Girls" (which she purged of Chevalierian
salaciousness on 1997's Mothers & Daughters, an autumnal
treatise on maternal love); and Dave Frishberg's wry "I Want To
Be a Sideman" (on 1998's At Long Last with the Count
Basie Orchestra, a project she relished, having worked but never
recording with Basie himself). She is the only singer every inducted
into jazz and cabaret halls of fame. Her musical recipe was
simplicity itself: great tunes, solid beat, emotional
honesty--practically a definition of jazz, or at least a kind of
smart jazz-influenced pop we won't see again."
Copyright Gary Giddins
EDITOR'S NOTE: Gavin
is widely regarded as our nation's leading expert on the prediction
and management of violence. He is the best-selling author of THE
GIFT OF FEAR, PROTECTING THE GIFT, and FEAR LESS.
"When I was 16, my mother died, and Rosemary drove down and
held me as I cried in the street in front of our house. She then took
me into her home, even though she already had five children and
plenty of challenges of her own. Thinking back in recent days, I've
been amazed that there was never any discussion, it was just obvious
that I had a home with her. When she restarted her career, working
fairs and hotel lounges, she couldn't afford an assistant, and I (at
17) certainly couldn't expect to be paid - and she took me on the
road with her. At that point in her career, she got no fancy suites,
no first-class air travel, no limousines. We stayed at Holiday Inns
and I drove a rental car. She had to stand in line with me to rent
the cars because I was too young. And we laughed every day about
whatever we could, and she sang beautifully and even at county fairs,
she gave world-class, God-blessed performances. For 32 years, she was
the mother to whom I proudly reported every accomplishment, from whom
I received encouragement, and whose home and generous family was the
home and family throughout my life. She held my heart, opened my
heart, and the loss breaks my heart, but mostly, I feel grateful for
the gift she is in my life."
Gary Jaffe of Linda Chester and Associates
Editor's Note: Linda Chester &
Associates served as literary agent for Rosemary's second
"Immediately following college, a good friend turned me on to
the joys of Rosemary. And since then, I've felt enormously fortunate
to have not only enjoyed listening to her timeless recordings, but
also to have seen her perform live at least 10 times. She was and
always will be one the great singers and song stylists of the 20th century.
"Something that has frustrated me in the tributes I've read
since her recent passing are the constant references to her early
work being 'fraught with dumb songs like "Come On-A My
House,"' etc. It's true, of course, that Rosemary came into the
public eye with material like this, but she was also recording
standards and high quality material as early as the late 1940's
(listen to her 1949 recording of 'Bargain Day' to see that she was
already poised to be a major interpreter of ballads.) Now, do we
judge Ella Fitzgerald's career by a silly song like 'A-Tisket,
A-Tasket'? These performers were required to churn out
commercial/novelty songs like every other singer of their time - the
point is that, because of their enormous gifts, these tunes of
questionable quality glowed as if they were written by Porter or Gershwin.
"If you listen to her recordings of 'I Wish It So' (1961),
'The Summer Knows' (1983) and 'Secret of Life' (2000) back to back,
you will see that Rosemary's magic is present in every phase of her
career. We can never forget her or her indispensable contribution to
ANNA MARIA ALBERGHETTI
"I loved Rosemary Clooney. She was a wonderful friend
and an artist I greatly
respected. When we were filming the movie 'The Stars are
gave me my first bottle of cologne for my 15th birthday. It
was Arpege. I used it for years after that."
Sal is co-owner & chef at the famous New York Italian Restaurant, Patsy's.
He's followed in his grandfather Patsy's footsteps and also those of
his father Joe. Patsy's was Rosemary's favorite restaurant in New
York City. She'd been coming to Patsy's since 1948. It was like an
extension of her home, and the people a part of her family.
"I'm so honored to have known Rosemary Clooney. She was so
nice, just good in every way. I didn't know all of her songs, or all
the movies she'd been in, because for us, it was beyond that, she was
just my friend. There was never any pretense with her.
"It is just so sad, I can't believe she isn't going to walk
in that door. When she'd come through the door, she'd give you a big
hug and a kiss. And I mean a real one, she'd hold on real strong, and
she'd hold your face in her hands and look in your eyes.
"I'd call her Ms. Clooney and she said to me, very
emphatically, ‘You call me Aunt Rosemary.' She'd always want me
to sit down and talk with her, and sometimes I'd have to say, ‘I
can't, I gotta cook.'
"She loved having her family around. One evening she had some
of her grandkids nestled around her, hugging on them, and she said to
me, ‘isn't this great, isn't this what life is all about Sal?'
"When I was putting the book together (Patsy's
Cookbook), for legal reasons you have to get people's permission
to quote them or use their likeness in print. Well there are like 35
or 40 quotes in the book, so we had to send out all these forms for
the celebrities to sign to give us permission to include them. You
know the only person who I didn't ask permission cause it would have
offended her was Rosemary. And she even wrote something really nice
for the book.
"We were good to each other. She really made us feel like we
were a member of her family...and that's how it feels, like I've lost
a member of my family. She'd always say, come out and see me. In the
restaurant business I don't ever get to take a real vacation. Now I
wish I'd taken her up on her offer.
"Her favorite dish was Pasta Fagiole, beans and macaroni. She
had others like Pasta Ceci, chickpeas and pasta, and in later years
Risotto Primavara, rice and vegetables, but her real favorite, what
she'd always order if she was ordering out, was beans and macaroni.
And we only make that on Wednesdays, but whenever she wanted it, we'd
make it for her.
"Once we went to see her at 'Rainbow and Stars' and she
stopped the show and made my dad stand up and she introduced him to
everyone, like he was really somebody special. That's just the way
she treated us. That's just the kind of person she was.
"I remember on the 'Late Late Show with Tom Synder,' he and
Rosemary were lamenting how the world had changed so much and that
what happened back in the 40s when Patsy let her run a tab for four
months, that sort of thing wouldn't happen today, cause that type of
kindness it just doesn't exist anymore. Then there was this pause,
and all of sudden she sat up and she said ‘NO, I bet you it
still exists...with Joey... Patsy's son.' That makes the hair on my
neck stand up.
"She'd told a reporter years ago, ‘whenever I'm in town,
I always have to have a Patsy's Pasta Pilgrimage.' She always wanted
to do something for us, she'd say, ‘let me do something.' For us
it was enough she loved us, and we could love her back. But she was a
great PR person for us. I mean she'd talk us up so much, it was like
ridiculous sometimes. When we were coming out with the sauces, she
said to me. ‘Sal you ever want to go on QVC or something and
they need a celebrity, you just let me know, I'll do it.' I'd never
thought about that, she'd just boggle my mind with what she'd be
willing to do.
"We've gotten to be a bridge bringing together so many
people. I got to introduce Rosemary's son Miguel Ferrer to Frank's
granddaughter A. J. Lambert. She brought people together, and she
brought people here, Beverly D'Angelo, Allen her manager, her family,
Nick. She brought Nick here in 1949. The story Nick tells about his
first time here is very cute (you can read it in Patsy's
"Sinatra and she possessed that unique ability to make you
feel like they were singing just to you. It was personal and they
could make that connection that it was just you and them. She was the
female version of Frank.
"How could you not love her. Once there was this radio
personality who had been making some jabs about her on his show. So
one night he comes in, and we say to him, ‘hey there is someone
who wants to meet you.' He asked who and we told him Rosemary
Clooney. Well his mouth drops, but he goes to meet her and she ribs
him back about what he'd said about her, and within like 30 seconds
she'd won him over, and by five minutes they were huggin and kissin.
I mean how could you not love her.
"It is so easy to be tempted to let yourself be changed. It
is hard to stay yourself and not let success negatively effect you.
And she never did. Everything she said she meant. What you saw is
what you got. It gives me a little comfort to know we were a part of
so many wonderful memories for her. The world is a much sadder place
without her in it. I'm really gonna miss her."
Joe, co-owner of Patsy's, is the son of the restaurant's founder. He
worked along-side his dad beginning at the age of seven. He followed
in his father's footsteps serving as one of only three chefs in the
restaurant's history. He turned over the chef duties to his son Sal,
about 17 years ago.
"Losing Rosemary, it broke my heart. I can see her coming in
the door now...big smile, arms outstretched, ready for a hug. I fell
in love with her years ago when she'd come in here with her sister
Betty. She was a beautiful girl. It is too hard to believe she is
gone. A whole era is gone now, we will miss her. She'd smile every
time she looked at me. She'd hug me and say, ‘Everything ok
Joey?' With all she had going on in her life at times and with all
her problems, she'd console me, or whoever needed consoling. Such a
"The page is turned in the book now. There are only a couple
left from that Golden Era, Tony Bennett, Vic Damone, just a couple.
"She'd point to that first table and say, ‘Joey, that's
where Frank tried to pick me up.'
"She didn't really have a favorite spot or table in the
restaurant, just walking through the door was her favorite spot.
"She'd say ‘Joey your father kept us alive.' Papa loved
everyone, once he had me rip up a box of checks. They'd be worth so
much now just for the autographs, but they were struggling and
couldn't pay, and Papa said rip them up.
"She was so loyal, she loved people, she never turned anyone
away if they came up to her and wanted an autograph or to say hi. She
had such love and affection and humanity.
"One night Placido Domingo was upstairs and Rosemary was in
here and I told her he was upstairs and she said, ‘Joey I love
him, I'd love to meet him.' So I go upstairs and I say ‘Mr.
Domingo, someone would like to meet you.' And he says who and I said
‘Rosemary Clooney.' He said, ‘My God, I'm dying to meet
her.' So I took him down and they hugged and kissed and took their
picture together. Families have been extended in Patsy's.
"Whatever she'd want, if it wasn't available, we'd make it
available. It became available as soon as she asked for it.
"She didn't just feed her body in here, she feed her soul.
She'd say, ‘Joey, I'm coming home when I come here.'
One night here she was going to sing ‘My Funny Valentine' for
Dante. She made everyone stop, told them to shut up and she sang to
him. It was so touching, you can never recreate that. She radiated
such warmth, there was just something about her.
When she wrote the book (Girl Singer), we asked where they were
having the party. She said they weren't, they were just going to do
book signings in bookstores. We said, ‘the hell you aren't
having a party, you'll have it here.' We closed the restaurant,
invited 400 people and had a great time. The next day, she sent me
I have to think she's not really gone. She's home in Kentucky and
she will be coming here anytime and she'll walk though that door like
she has thousands of time.
"I've walked with kings, and I'm telling you she is one of
the most memorable people of my life."
Anna is the daughter of Patsy and the mother of Frank DiCola, one of
the co-owners of the restaurant.
"Rosemary started coming to Patsy's when she first got to New
York. My father took such a liking to her, he told her when she was
struggling to find work, that she could have a meal here anytime. He
said to her, 'someday if you could pay me back when you make it, then
you pay me.' She was part of our family and we've lost a dear friend.
She referred to me as her sister, even when she signed my copy of her
book, she signed it, 'To My Sister Anna.' She used to come in here
with Jose Ferrer, and even after they broke up they would meet here
for different occasions. She had such a wonderful family, her
children, her wonderful brother Nick and his wife Nina. Her children
were very close to her, her grandchildren too, she was so close to
them. They will miss her.
"She was always bringing people in here with her, sometimes
groups of 10 or 20, once even 22, mostly her family, but sometimes
famous people like Linda Ronstadt and Michael Feinstein. I remember
once meeting Kathryn Crosby, she was here with Rosemary and she came
up to me and said, 'Your father was so good to everyone. Rosemary
can't stop talking about him. I wish I'd had the chance to meet him.'
"I was so happy when she married Dante. He was so good to
her. I remember her telling us about how when she told her nephew
George that she was going to get married he said something like 'why
so soon, what's your rush.' We all laughed.
"A few years ago she was in Lennox Hill hospital and she told
them there that she couldn't survive on what they were giving her,
that they needed to go to Patsy's for her. Joey made her two
containers of Pasta Fagolie. After she tasted it, she said, 'now I
"She was a true friend, not a phoney at all. We were like one
big family. We'll miss her."
Frank is one of the co-owner's of Patsy's, son of Anna, and grandson
of Patsy. Frank has been working at Patsy's since he was 13 and has
been there full time for the last 25 years. He primarily takes care
of the accounting and purchasing parts of the business, and helps his
Uncle Joe oversee the dining room.
"Rosemary was part of our extended family. When she'd come
in, she would look for all of us, it was like she was coming to our
house for a visit and she'd want to know where everyone was. 'Where's
Frank,' or 'why's Anna not here, how is she,' she'd ask, wanting to
make sure she saw everyone and got caught up on what was going on in
"She was so very nice, I can't say enough about her. She'd
kid a lot and she'd said I was the handsomest and best looking one in
"It really touched her when we had her book party here. But
really how can your repay someone who has gone around the world
talking about you. You can't repay that."
Susan processes all the product and gift basket orders for Patsy's Restaurant.
"For the last 6 or 7 years, Rosemary had been sending 25 to
40 Patsy's gift baskets out at Christmas time to her friends and
family. I got to know her when she'd call in to place the orders for
her gift baskets. She'd never met me, she didn't really know me, but
she'd tell me to come to LA and bring my family and stay at her house
with her, that she had plenty of room. Unfortunately, I never had the
opportunity to go, but I knew her invitation was genuine. Each time I
spoke with her, I always felt special. It was like talking to a close
member of my family. She would take the time, with genuine interest,
to ask about me and my family. She was a genuinely kind and friendly
person who will be greatly missed."
Editor's Note: Joan was Rosemary's cowriter for her
Singer. Joan has also
written several books including
A Death in Canaan.
In 1990 she authored an article
that ran in LEARS
magazine entitled "CLOONEY!
"Come On-a My House"
home at last."
Pictured at left are
Joan and Rosemary
taken in front of Rosemary's
house on the Ohio River in Augusta, Ky,
Rosemary was used to sold-out houses, so of course St. Patrick's
Church was SRO, with sidewalk overflow. At the end of the funeral
Mass, Nick Clooney talked about his sister's gift for connecting with
people. "Everybody here is secretly thinking, 'I knew her best,'
" he said. I looked around at all the people who could make that claim:
...Nick himself, beginning with their tangled childhood.
...her husband Dante, who loved her with such generous
intensity for more than half a century.
...her children and grandchildren, always her priority and pride.
...Blanche Chambers, girlhood friend, stupidly separated in
school because of color but nonetheless, always inseparable.
...Allen Sviridoff, close friend and manager who guided her
back to contemporary professional heights.
...Jackie Rose, her roomate in Manhattan in 1950.
...and so many others, I had to stop. "Goodbye,
Rosemary," Nick said.
Back at the house, I sat on the porch, watching the river that she
has now followed safely home. She'd entrusted me with her life story,
and in the nearly two years we'd worked on GIRL
SINGER, our relationship had been so much like the
river--sometimes tranquil, sometimes turbulent--that maybe I could
say I knew her best.
But as I listened to her music playing throughout the house, all
afternoon, I realized it's not a matter of "knew." Her
music is now. Today, tomorrow. Always. Present tense. Who knows
her best? And that's easy. Whenever you listen to her singing, when
you not only hear but understand its emotional truth, its intimate
grace, its uncluttered, uncomprimising honesty: you do.
Editor's Note: RoseMarie toured with
Rosemary Clooney for 8 years as part of the act "4
Girls 4". She's known to most from her starring days as
Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show and her 14 years as a
regular on The Hollywood Squares. Her autobiography HOLD
THE ROSES will be available in October 2002.
is my pleasure to be a part of a project, in memory of a dear friend.
"I knew Rosemary for many years before
having the honor of working with her in '4 Girls 4.' We were on the
road together for 8 years and became fast friends. We both loved to
cook and always enjoyed eating Italian food together. It was a
pleasure to be on the same stage with such a talented, well loved
legend. Her voice was a gift from God and she was the consumate
professional. I dare say there is no one who hasn't, at some time in
their life, been touched by a Rosemary Clooney song. Her legacy will
live on in all of our hearts."