Rose Marie

Active - 1933 - 2017  |   Born - Aug 15, 1923 in New York, New York, United States  |   Died - Dec 28, 2017   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The year (give or take a few) was 1929: Stepping on to the stage of New York's Mecca Theatre was 3-year-old Rose Marie Mazetta, offering a surprisingly full-throated rendition of the torch ballad "What Can I Say, Dear, After I Say I'm Sorry." By the time she'd finished dancing her Charleston, Rose Marie had won a trip to Atlantic City and a spot on a major radio program. Amazingly, Rose Marie's father, a professional singer-musician, had nothing to do with this star-making turn: the girl had been entered in the contest by her next-door neighbors. By 1932, Rose Marie--or rather, "Baby Rose Marie"--was one of the hottest stars on the NBC radio network. Her raspy, insinuating singing style was mature beyond her years, so much so that some people wrote into NBC, angrily accusing them of passing off an adult midget as a child. She successfully toured in vaudeville, was spotlighted in a handful of movies (the best-known was 1933's International House), then disappeared completely at the age of 12. No, Rose Marie wasn't washed up; her family had moved from New York to New Jersey and had placed their daughter in a convent school. Resuming her career at 17 as "Miss Rose Marie," the former child sensation endured a few lean years before establishing herself as a comedienne. Wearying of traversing the nightclub circuit by the 1950s--she now had a husband and daughter to look after--Rose Marie began accepting guest-star assignments on such dramatic TV series as Jim Bowie, Gunsmoke and M Squad. She was also seen in continuing roles on the video sitcoms Love That Bob and My Sister Eileen, and was co-starred with Phil Silvers in the 1953 Broadway musical Top Banana. In 1961, Carl Reiner cast Rose Marie as wisecracking, man-chasing Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show. The close-knit camaraderie of her Dick Van Dyke co-stars helped her survive the untimely death of her husband, jazz musician Bobby Guy. Rose Marie's post-Van Dyke projects have included such films as Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title (1966) and Cheaper to Keep Her (1980), frequent appearances on the daytime quiz show The Hollywood Squares, and regular roles on the prime time TVers The Doris Day Show (1969-71, as Myrna Gibbons), Scorch (1992, as Edna Bracken) and Hardball (1994, as Marge Schott-like baseball club owner Mitzi Balzer).

Movie Highlights

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  • Known for her adult-sounding voice as a child, she began her career as "Baby Rose Marie" (a name suggested by Evelyn Nesbit), singing in nightclubs, in film shorts and on the radio until she reached adolescence.
  • Her first singing performances came at the age of 3 when her neighbors heard her and entered her into a contest.
  • Attended a convent school in New Jersey at the age of 12.
  • Although her first regular TV role was in the 1960-61 sitcom My Sister Eileen, it was her role as comedy writer Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show that brought her fame.
  • When her husband, trumpeter Bobby Guy, died in 1964, she wore black for a year.
  • Was well-known and loved as a regular on Hollywood Squares.
  • Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2001.