News / TV

R.I.P. Rose Marie (1923-2017)

Rose Marie, a vaudeville star at 3 and hit radio singer at 5, who performed opening night at Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingto resort in Las Vegas and is best known now for her co-starring role as TV comedy writer Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show, has died. She was 94.

The Dick Van Dyke Show creator, writer and co-star Carl Reiner, still going at 95, posted his thoughts Thursday:

Rose Marie’s role on TV as Sally Rogers helped inspire a generation of women to get into comedy writing, including Nell Scovell:

Born into the business in New York City on Aug. 15, 1923, the daughter of vaudeville actor Frank Mazzetta (Frank Curley), Rose Marie Mazzetta hit the stage herself at age three as “Baby Rose Marie,” and soon thereafter begin singing regularly on the radio via NBC, and then quickly into movies, as well.

She had her own radio show, made records, appeared in Paramount films, including 1933’s International House opposite W.C. Fields, and became a favorite of mobsters. No wonder Bugsy Siegel booked her to help open his Flamingo Hotel & Casino resort alongside Jimmy Durante in 1946.

Her first major TV series came in 1960 with My Sister Eileen, but it was the following year where she co-starred on the legendary hit sitcom, The Dick Van Dyke Show, alongside Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore and Reiner. She followed that up with regular or recurring roles on The Doris Day Show, The Monkees, The Dean Martin Show, S.W.A.T., Murphy Brown, and the original Hollywood Squares, where she occupied the upper center square on the game show.

Her black hair bow is in the Smithsonian.

A new documentary just came out this fall in limited release about her life: Wait For Your Laugh.

Here is her official obit:

The longest active career in entertainment history has come to an end. Rose Marie, Star of Broadway, Film and TV (The Dick Van Dyke Show / The Doris Day Show / Hollywood Squares) has passed at the age of 94.

Born on the day that the Broadway musical “Rose-Marie” opened, Rose Marie had one of entertainment’s longest and most fascinating entertainment careers in history. She began at the age of 3 by winning an amateur contest that took her to Atlantic City where she was billed as Baby Rose Marie. She became a popular radio personality appearing on numerous top shows of the time. She eventually received her own program on NBC and recorded some of the most successful albums on the Mercury label. Her extensive touring took her to some of the finest showplaces across the country. Rose Marie would sing for presidents Coolidge, Hoover and Roosevelt. She starred in several of the earliest talking films, beginning with a 1929 short, Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder, which was screened in theaters before feature films such as “The Jazz Singer.”

She appeared in several pictures for Paramount, including “International House” and “Big Broadcast of 1935.” She married her husband, musician Bobby Guy, who was the lead trumpeter for the NBC orchestra on “The Tonight Show” and moved to California. In 1946, when Las Vegas opened its first big-time casino hotel, The Flamingo, Rose Marie was hired by Benjamin “Bugsy” Segal as one of the headliners, along with Jimmy Durante and Xavier Cugat. She had a brief Broadway career in Top Banana with Phil Silvers and in 1960 she accepted her first regular role on “My Sister Eileen.”

When “The Dick Van Dyke Show” premiered in 1961, Rose Marie became a household name as the quick-witted comedy writer, Sally Rogers. After five seasons, she moved to “The Doris Day Show.” She was the only original member of the hit game show “Hollywood Squares” to have worked on all of its reincarnations and hosts.

She extensively toured the night-club circuit with Rosemary Clooney, Helen O’Connell & Margaret Whiting in 4 Girls 4. She received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 3, 2001. When asked about retiring she said, “I’ve been in show business my whole life. Why start something new now?” She later released her best selling memoirs “Hold The Roses” in 2006.

Her famous hair bow, which had a strong personal significance that she refused to elaborate on, was inducted into the Smithsonian along with other items from her extensive career in 2008. In 2017, the critically acclaimed film, “Wait For Your Laugh” by director Jason Wise premiered, about the incredible life and career of the former child star turned adult legend and icon. Rose Marie was very proud of the film and how well it was received by fans and industry. Late in life she discovered a love for social media, which allowed her to interact directly with fans.

Rose Marie is survived by her daughter Georgiana Marie “Noopy” and her son-in-law Steven Rodrigues. Service announcements pending. In lieu of flowers donations to Thrive and Heaven Helper’s

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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