|Rose Marie Mazetta|
August 15, 1923 – December 28, 2017
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Rose Marie Mazetta was born in New York City to Italian-American Frank Mazetta and Polish-American Stella Gluszcak. At the age of three, she started performing under the name "Baby Rose Marie." At five, she became a radio star on NBC and made a series of films. Rose Marie was a nightclub and lounge performer in her teenage years before becoming a radio comedian. She was billed then as "The Darling of the Airwaves". According to her autobiography, Hold the Roses, she was assisted in her career by many members of organized crime, including Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel.
She performed at the opening night of the Flamingo Hotel, which was built by Siegel. At her height of fame as a child singer, from late 1929 to 1934, she had her own radio show, made numerous records, and was featured in a number of Paramount films and shorts. She continued to appear in films through the mid-1930s, making shorts and one feature picture, International House (1933), with W.C. Fields for Paramount.
In 1929, the five-year-old singer made a Vitaphone sound short titled Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder. Between 1930 and 1938, she made 17 recordings, three of which were unissued. Her first issued record, recorded on March 10, 1932, featured accompaniment by Fletcher Henderson's band, one of the premier black jazz orchestras. According to Hendersonia, the bio-discography by Walter C. Allen, Henderson and the band were in the Victor studios recording the four songs they were intending to produce that day and were asked to accompany Baby Rose Marie, reading from a stock arrangement.
Her recording of "Say That You Were Teasing Me" (backed with "Take a Picture of the Moon", Victor 22960) also featured Henderson's orchestra and was a national hit in 1932. According to Joel Whitburn, Rose Marie is the only pre-World War II hitmaker still living as of 2017.
In the 1960–61 season, Rose Marie co-starred with Shirley Bonne, Elaine Stritch, Jack Weston, Raymond Bailey, and Stubby Kaye in the CBS sitcom My Sister Eileen. She played Bertha, a friend of the Sherwood sisters: Ruth, a magazine writer, played by Stritch, and Eileen, an aspiring actress, Bonne's role.
After five seasons (1961–1966) as Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rose Marie co-starred in two seasons (1969–1971) of CBS's The Doris Day Show as Doris Martin's friend and coworker, Myrna Gibbons. She also appeared in two episodes of the NBC series The Monkees in the mid-1960s. She later had a semi regular seat in the upper center square on the original version of Hollywood Squares, alongside her longtime friend and Dick Van Dyke co-star, Morey Amsterdam. She also appeared on both the 1986 and 1998 syndicated revivals.
Rose Marie performed on three 1966 and 1967 episodes of The Dean Martin Show variety series on NBC and also twice (1964 and 1968) on The Hollywood Palace on ABC.
In the mid-1970s, she portrayed, in recurring fashion, Hilda, who brought fresh doughnuts, made coffee for the team, and provided some comic relief on the police drama S.W.A.T..
In the early 1990s, she had a recurring role as Frank Fontana's mother on the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown. She appeared as Roy Biggins's domineering mother, Eleanor "Bluto" Biggins, in an episode of the television series Wings. Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam appeared together in an October 1993 episode of Herman's Head and guest-starred in a February 1996 episode of the NBC sitcom Caroline in the City, shortly before Amsterdam's death in October of that same year.
She appeared with the surviving Dick Van Dyke Show cast members in a 2004 reunion special. Rose Marie was especially close to actor Richard Deacon from that show and offered him the suits left behind when her husband died in 1964, as the two men were of similar height and build.
Rose Marie appeared opposite Phil Silvers in the Broadway show Top Banana in 1951.
She was the celebrity guest host of a comedy play, Grandmas Rock!, written by Gordon Durich. It was originally broadcast on radio in 2010 on KVTA and KKZZ, and rebroadcast on KVTA and KKZZ again in September 2012 in honor of National Grandparents Day. A CD of the show was also produced, featuring audio clips from The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Good Night Rose Marie