ROSEMARY CLOONEY Biography - Musicians


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Name: Rosemary Clooney                                                                 
Born: 23 May 1928 Maysville, Kentucky                                                 
Died: 29 June 2002 Beverly Hills, California                                           
Rosemary Clooney (May 23, 1928 - June 29, 2002) was a popular American singer         
and actress. She was most popular singing traditional pop music in the 1940s and       
1950s with songs like "Come On-a My House". She was the mother of actor Miguel         
Ferrer, aunt of actor George Clooney, and the sister to former television             
personality Nick Clooney.                                                             
Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, to Andrew Joseph Clooney and Frances         
Marie Guilfoyle, both of whom were Roman Catholics of Irish ancestry. Her father       
was an alcoholic and she and her brother and sister were constantly moving back       
and forth between her parents. When Rosemary was fifteen, her mother and brother,     
Nick, moved to California. She and her sister, Betty, remained with their father.     
Clooney suffered from bipolar disorder.                                               
Rosemary, Betty, and brother, Nick, all became entertainers. In the next               
generation, some of her own children, including Miguel and Rafael, and also her       
nephew, George Clooney (Nick's son), also became respected entertainers. In 1945,     
the Clooney sisters won a spot on Cincinnati's radio station WLW as singers. Her       
sister Betty sang in a duo with Rosemary for much of her early career.                 
Clooney's first recordings, in May 1946, were for Columbia Records as a singer         
with the big band of Tony Pastor. She continued working with the Pastor band           
until 1949, making her last recording with the band in May of that year and her       
first as a solo artist a month later, still for Columbia. In 1951, her record of       
"Come On-a My House" became a hit, her first of many singles to hit the charts —     
despite the fact that Clooney hated the song passionately. She had been told by       
Columbia to record the song, and that she would be in violation of her contract       
if she did not record it.                                                             
In 1954, she, along with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen, starred in the       
movie White Christmas. In later years, Clooney would often appear with Crosby on       
television, such as in the 1957 special The Edsel Show, and the two friends made       
a concert tour of Ireland together. Crosby opined that Clooney was "the best in       
the business."                                                                         
In 1956, she starred in a half hour syndicated television musical variety show "The   
Rosemary Clooney Show". The show featured the "Hi-Lo's" singing group and "Nelson     
Riddle's orchestra" The following year, the show moved to NBC prime time as "The       
Lux Show Starring Rosemary Clooney", but only lasted one season. The new show         
featured the "Modernaires" singing group and "Frank DeVol's orchestra".               
In 1958, Clooney left Columbia, doing a number of recordings for MGM Records and       
then some for Coral Records. Finally, toward the end of 1958, she signed with         
RCA Victor Records, where she stayed until 1963. In 1964 she went to Reprise           
Records, and in 1965 to Dot Records. In 1966 she went to United Artists Records.       
In 1986 she sang a duet with Wild Man Fischer on "It's a Hard Business".               
Beginning in 1977, she recorded an album a year for Concord Records, which             
continued until her death. This made her something of an anomaly, because most         
of her generation of singers had long since stopped recording regularly by then.       
In the late-1970s and early-1980s, Clooney was also a pitch-person for Coronet         
paper towels, for which she sang a memorable jingle that goes, "Extra value is         
what you get, when you buy Coro-net." Jim Belushi later parodied Clooney and the       
commercial while as a cast member for NBC's Saturday Night Live in the early           
In 1994, Clooney guest starred in the NBC medical drama ER, for which she was         
nominated for an Emmy Award.                                                           
In 1999, Clooney founded the Rosemary Clooney Music Festival, held annually in         
her hometown of Maysville, Kentucky. She performed at the festival every year         
until her death. Proceeds benefit the restoration of the Russell Theater in           
Maysville, where Clooney's first film, The Stars are Singing, premiered in 1953.       
Clooney received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.