Twelve years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Rosemary Clooney perform at the Hollywood Bowl. Clooney, then in her 70s, was still blessed with an amazing voice, unique gift for interpreting songs, easy humor and grace on stage. Today, on the 10th anniversary of her death, Linnea Crowther takes a look at the first of the talented Clooney clan to rocket to stardom. –Jessica Campbell, Executive Producer
Singer Rosemary Clooney performs in Paris, Texas, on April 7, 1987. Clooney died in California at age 74 from complications of lung cancer. Her publicist says her family was with her when she died at home in Beverly Hills Saturday, June 29, 2002. (AP Photo/Bob Galbraith)
Rosemary Clooney's first and biggest hit was a song she couldn't stand.
When Clooney's bandleader, Mitch Miller, gave her "Come On-a My House" to record, she said she didn't like it and preferred not to sing it. But Miller was determined – he said she would record the song or be fired. Clooney gave in. Years later, she reflected that she could hear the anger in her voice when she listened to the recording.
"Come On-a My House" wasn't the only song Clooney would record in an exaggerated dialect. Fans of Mad Men might recognize her hit from the following year, "Botch-a-Me."
Rosemary Clooney was more than an acclaimed singer – she was also an award-winning actress. As her recording career was heating up, she starred along with Bing Crosby in White Christmas.
Clooney had a great relationship with her famous nephew, George Clooney, with whom she once appeared on a memorable two-episode arc of ER. She won an Emmy for her performance, and younger viewers were introduced to their heartthrob's very talented aunt.
Written by Linnea Crowther. Originally published May 2012.