DATELINE: Second Bananas are Tops
A major star before Shirley Temple was born, Rose Marie’s last act was the receive the lifetime Shirley Temple Award in 2017. Waiting for Your Laugh is her testimonial, made with her cooperation shortly before she died in 2017.
Never a beauty, but always a beaut. As a child, Rose Marie counted among her friends and supporters, gangsters like Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel. Capone told her to call him “Uncle Al.”
She helped Bugsy build a resort entertainment venue that happened to be Las Vegas. She was the first headline and didn’t think twice to tell Siegel her paycheck was short $11.
He apologized and paid up.
She worked with them all—from Jimmy Durante to Milton Berle. Among her friends were Jerry Lewis and Johnny Carson, whom she called “angels.” They all treated her like a daughter and she liked all of them.
She learned how to do standup comedy to enhance her singing career. And, when TV demanded, she became a character actress on shows like Gunsmoke. Though she performed movies and Broadway, nightclubs were her secret passion. She played everywhere in America.
When TV comedy needed her, she did the Dick Van Dyke Show when no one knew who he was. She did a dozen years on Hollywood Squares, and made dozens of guest shots as cranky old bossy women. Her coworkers like Morey Amsterdam and Peter Marshall adored her.
In a time when old singers were forgotten, she organized Rosemary Clooney, Margaret Whiting, and Helen O’Connell, into a lucrative concert series.
Rose Marie lived 90 years, a staple of entertainment for multiple generations and only passed away last year.
In her love life, there was the greatest tragedy, having found the ideal man, Bobby Guy, a trumpeter from Kay Keyser and Bing Crosby bands, but who died too young—stealing her only personal love besides work.
This compelling documentary cannot be stopped. It unfolds and hypnotizes like Rose Marie herself.