Friday, December 29, 2017

Random Thoughts on Rose Marie and Life

Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Dick Van Dyke: Circa 1961
Remember me with laughter and not with tears
-Rose Marie

Born Rose Marie Mazetta on August 15 1923 in New York City, NY, USA
Transitioned at 2:00pm on Dec 28th, Van Nuys, CA

It is Friday, December 29th, 2017.

On The Doris Day Show
December 29 is the 363rd day of the year.  There are two days remaining until the end of the year. 
As I sit down to write my blog, I'm listening to my late great friend Janet Carroll. 
Thank God for recordings, film, photographs. Those that have 'gone' before us. These moments of time are captured to evoke memories and most of the time, feelings of love and warmth. 
Rosemary Clooney, Helen O'Connell, Margaret Whiting, Rose Marie: 
Officials this morning are trying to figure out what caused a fire that killed at least 12 people when it swept through a five-story apartment building in the Bronx, New York ... A rooftop restaurant fire in Mumbai, India, killed 14 early this morning ... Gunmen opened fire at a church on the outskirts of Cairo this morning, causing a number of injuries.

I am also sad to tell you that Tom Rolla, owner of the Gardenia in LA, has passed away.  Tom was an avid supporter of our artform since the beginning of time.  When all the other LA clubs had gone by the wayside, Tom and the Gardenia remained.  It was a great compliment if Tom stayed to watch your act.  His partner, Bruce, will keep Tom's legacy alive with Nicole Rice continuing her role as manager.Thank you, Tom, for all the years.  You will be missed.

Earlier this week, Menzies-Urich passed away. She was the widow of actor Robert Urich and had been recently diagnosed with cancer, according to her son Ryan Urich.
Carpe Diem.
Take the time to tell those that you love what they mean to you. Don't put off to tomorrow what you can do today.
Remember, you can spend a lifetime collecting tomorrows only to find you have no yesterdays.
Whether you've arrived at the finish line fresh and invigorated for another trip around the sun, or are so exhausted you may wheeze out your actual soul, 2017 is (almost) OVER.
I'm ready to cash in my social life for a monastic one in order to find some peace and quiet in a noisy world today. I can’t turn back the clock, but I can tap dance through my memory bank to weave a thread of continuity to my story before moving on. 
Last night after returning from a nice dinner with my producer and best friend, we settled in to watch a little innocuous television.
with co host and dear friend, Dick Van dyke
It was then that the news of Rose Marie's passing popped into my Twitter Newsfeed. For many, she is probably best known for portraying the wisecracking Sally Rogers in the popular 1960s sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” She transitioned yesterday, according to her publicist Harlan Boll and official website. She was 94. 
It brought a tear to my eyes and a lump to my throat. 

It warms my heart that in the last months of her life, she was celebrated in a way that few of us will ever seen.
Just over the course of the past few months, a documentary was released celebrating her life, Wait For The Laugh

Her caricature was unveiled at Sardi's here in New York and Decades devoted 24 hours to her television career.  I am so very, very sorry for this tragic news. However, I am so thankful that 'Wait For Your Laugh' has been released and will give us all the opportunity to know this amazingly talented individual and gifted entertainer.

When I think of Rose Marie, I'm reminded of an old Indian proverb. In the proverb, six blind men are encountering an elephant for the first time.
Each of them experiences a different aspect of the elephant. One grabs the trunk and thinks it is a hose, another feels the side and feels that i is a great wall, another grabs the tail and thinks it is a rope, etc.  You get the idea.   
She began as a bobbed-hair child star named Baby Marie in vaudeville and worked for nearly a century in theater, radio, TV and movies.  
She was the youngest star to have her own national radio program. 

As a child, she headlined in Vaudeville. As an adult, she was a great nightclub entertainer. She starred on Broadway in Top Banana opposite Phil Silvers. 
She was a regular on The Dick Van Dyke ShowWhen the series wrapped in 1966, she became a regular on the game show, The Hollywood Squares, essentially staying in character. She had been too depressed to pursue work as an actor and singer, she often said, after being widowed at 40. Marie stayed with the game show for 14 years. She would also go on to be a regular on Doris Day Show.

In the seventies, she returned to her nightclub roots touring the country in 4 Girls 4 with Rosemary Clooney, Helen O'Connell, and Margaret Whiting breaking box office records wherever they appeared. For twelve years, 4 Girls 4
was an unprecedented
sensation across the U.S.

January 18th, 2012 at The Paley Center Screening of Carol Channing: Larger Than Life. 

According to Matt Conner on Rosemary Clooney's website, It was one of the most surprising and unconventional show business successes of the 1970s and 80s. At a time when the biggest touring acts in the country were youth-driven pop acts like the Eagles, Abba and the Bee Gees, three middle aged female singers -- none of whom had had a chart hit in decades -- joined forces with the
fourth-billed star of a long-cancelled TV sitcom to create what can only be described as a genuine show business phenomenon.

It was called 4 Girls 4, and when it first appeared on the scene in 1977, it brought staggering new success to a quartet of show business veterans who were far from their commercial peak, and launched a completely new genre of entertainment that thrives to this day: The Oldies Nostalgia Tour. "They were like rock stars with an older audience," said Allen Sviridoff, who was road manager for the group at the time. "It was pretty phenomenal. The theaters that they played were all 2,500 or 3,000 seats and they were packing it for five to eight shows a week. There were a lot of people packing these shows, and it was several years of a phenomenon." more HERE
I was lucky enough to interview her on her 90th Birthday. 
She had PERFECT RECALL. HERE is the result of that interview. 
I was lucky enough to meet Rose Marie on January 18th, 2012 at The Paley Center Screening of Carol Channing: Larger Than Life. 
I was lucky enough to sit and visit with her for quite some time at the after party. She was incredibly funny. 
Thank you, Scott Clark, for sending this to me. 
My husband, Danny, and I were on our honeymoon and she was incredibly open with both of us. He told her he wanted her black bow! She laughed and said there were many more where that came from!
In the documentary on her life, Just Wait For The Laugh, it was revealed that it was a mourning tribute to her dear departed husband. 
For the rest of her life, while making public appearances, she invariably wore the black hair bow that had been her signature on the sitcom. One of her bows is in the Smithsonian. 

She had been onstage for much of the 20th century after winning a New York City talent contest in the late 1920s. As a 3-year-old, she had belted out “What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry?” in a raspy voice mature beyond her years.

She was soon known professionally as Baby Rose Marie and became a sensation on the NBC radio network, which signed her to a seven-year contract. To prove to a doubting public that the singer who sounded like Sophie Tucker actually was a child, the network sent her on a yearlong tour.

She toured in vaudeville, was featured in a handful of movies and — after dropping “Baby” from her name as an adolescent — began headlining nightclubs. She also made her way to Broadway in the early 1950s in “Top Banana,” appearing with Phil Silvers in the musical revue and subsequent film.
Some people think my whole life started with ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show,’ which is not so,” Marie said in a 1999 interview with the Archive of American Television.

The following is from my friend Jamie Farrar: 
I was at a Disney convention with my sister Sasha in the summer of 2011. Coming back from the bathroom, I spotted an elderly woman in a wheelchair off to the side in a long line of other convention attendees. 

"Hello ma'am . How are you today. Enjoying the convention?"

Her eyes lit up, surprised that someone noticed. 

Jamie and Rose Marie
"Oh yes, I'm having a wonderful time These lines are something else".  

I laughed. " Yes they can be something else.

"My friend is giving a concert tonight. I'm waiting to see him". 

"That's wonderful! Would you like some company while you wait"?

The woman with the kind eyes smiled . "Love some! " 

I had no inkling of a clue as to who she was. 
I outstretched my hand. "Hi there, I'm Jamie. Pleasure to meet you!"
From Four Years Ago. You can make contribution in Rose Marie's honor HERE

"Hi Jamie. I'm Rose." Nice to meet ya!" 
'I have always loved the name Rose". I said with a smile. 

Her caregiver whispered to me. ' Her name is Rose Marie. She was on the Dick Van Dyke Show" . 

We didn't talk about show business. We talked wheelchairs and our lives in them. She held tight to my hand, gingerly squeezing every now and then. I squeezed back.
Before I left, I asked her if I could take a picture with her to remember this sweet moment. Rose smiled. "Of course " Dolly! Us gals in chairs have to stick together don'tcha know?" 
Rest in peace, Rose!

From Geoffrey Mark:
What can I say about Rose Marie? Uber-talented, a genius, really -- a star since she was three. 
Others can wax poetic on the longest continuous career in show business history. Let me tell you about my friend.
I first met her at some show business function or other. She liked that I knew her history, and that we had many friends in common (Milton Berle, Peter Marshall and others). I was invited to her home, back when her mother was still alive. 
Rosie insisted that I taste her mother's chicken soup -- and it was the best marriage of Jewish and Italian food I have ever tasted.
We spent hours talking "shop". She was really never comfortable in the company of those she referred to as "civilians" (non-show business people). 
I sat and absorbed everything she said, because it was like taking an advanced, graduate master class course in show business history.
We would talk on the phone after every one of her TV appearances, and we discussed her book at great length as she was writing it. Afternoons were the best time to visit in person, so that's when I would come to her house in Van Nuys, with the dining room set that was built by George Montgomery. Most of her closest friends were either gone or no longer accessible, and she was making new friends with younger people.
I was thrilled and honored when she agreed to write the foreword for my book on Ethel Merman. She praised my research, wondering how I knew things that she thought Merman had only told her.
I am so proud of the film that was made about her career. Please go see it! It, and she in it, are wonderful -- and my dear friend Harlan Boll is one of the producers!
After awhile, new people were brought in to take care of her as she aged. 
For whatever reasons, I was no longer allowed access. But I treasure my friendship with her -- and her generosity with me was enormous.
Thanks, Rosie. For the kindness, the laughs, the love, the food, the stories, the support and the great advice -- and for ninety years of incredible talent that you shared with your audiences. We will never see your kind again. Well done!!

From Debi Bush Whiting (Margaret Whiting's Daughter)
Margaret Whiting and Rose Marie
Debbi with Rose Marie
with Debbi at Sardi's Celebration of Rose Marie (Caricature unveiling)

Thank you, Harlan Boll for the Historical aspects of this blog.
Thank you, Rose Marie, for the gifts you gave to the world and will continue to give.
Please visit Rose Marie's Website

Wait For The Laugh

You have the power to change anything, because you are the one who chooses your thoughts and feels your feelings.

Here are a Few Testimonials for Richard Skipper Celebrates: Next One January 31st 8PM Laurie Beechman Theater

January 31st 8PM Russ Woolley proudly presents Richard Skipper Celebrates Carol Channing's 97th Birthday (on
her actual Birthday!) at 8PM at The Laurie Beechman Theater featuring Diane J. Findlay, Karen Saunders, Wendy Scherl, Christine Pedi, and a SPECIAL guest to be announced January 5th!  We will be celebrating Carol Channing's life and career through the songs she sang. All under the musical direction of Michael Lavine with Rex Benincasa on percussion, Erik Lawrence on Sax, and Maryann McSweeney on bass. $30.00 cover/$25.00 Food Drink Minimum

Richard Skipper Celebrated all over the Laurie Beechman stage December 3rd, 2017. Nothing could've been
Christmas-ier. If you needed a little Christmas, this was the place to soak in it, being a tinseled treat of warmth and holiday cheer. It was wonderful to see Bobby Belfry, Ann Kittredge, Sidney Myer, and Deborah Stone all at the top of their respectively unique yuletide cabaret games under the musical direction of Tracy Stark and the band. The show opened with a charmingly nostalgic credit crawl designed by Michael Masci and a video sequence featuring the great variety TV stars of thepast, concluding with Mr. Christmas himself Bing Crosby. The highlight of the show, or any Holiday show happening in 2017, would have to be Ms. Kathryn Crosby, Bing's widow, singing first "Holly Jolly Christmas" and of course ending with "White Christmas." That's Christmas right there. Richard tied it all together with great showmanship. His Richard Skipper Celebrates series produces some of the livelier and most just-plain-fun events in Cabaret. -Jeff Macauley

I was so happy attending the wonderful event on Monday, October 30th, with Richard Skipper interviewing my old friend Joyce Bulifant at the Drama Book Shop. Richard's knowledge of show business and his infectious good humor were ideal to bring out the best stories from Joyce's terrific new book. Richard has the ability to make every event a very special occasion. I look forward to attending the next special night when Richard Skipper celebrates another remarkable person. -Joel Vig, NYC

My mom, sister, daughter and I were lucky enough to see Richard Skipper and his stellar guests. We all highly recommend Richard's shows!Christine Milton, Bronx NY

TThank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs ,


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