She began her career in 1945 singing duets with her sister Betty for WLW Radio in Cincinnati, followed by appearances with local bands. This brought them to the attention of bandleader Tony Pastor who was passing through Ohio. In 1947, they joined the Pastor band as the Clooney Sisters, making their debut at The Steel Pier in Atlantic City. After two years on the road with its one-night stands, Betty decided to return to Cincinnati.
Rosemary struck out on her own and headed for New York. Almost immediately she was signed to a recording contract by Columbia Records. Her timing was perfect. In 1949, the big band era was coming to a close and the "girl singers," such as Doris Day, Kay Starr and Peggy Lee were beginning to emerge as recording stars.
In 1951, Mitch Miller, the reigning monarch of Columbia, convinced Rosemary to record a novelty song, "Come On-a My House". She felt the song was demeaning. Much to her surprise it was an immediate success. This one song catapulted Rosemary Clooney to stardom, and the next few years became an incredible whirlwind of professional activity.
She has appeared and starred on many television shows and still does today. She has been featured on the 1982 CBS-TV movie, Rosie, the Rosemary Clooney Story, based on her autobiography, This For Remembrance. Recently she was featured on The Arts & Entertainment Network in a special titled "Demi-Centennial: A Girl Singer's Golden Anniversary". She also appeared on the hit television series ER with her nephew George Clooney for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1995.
In addition, Rosemary has appeared on many television specials, including The Bob Hope NBC Special, The Road To Hollywood, CBS 100th Birthday Tribute To Irving Berlin, a PBS Salute To Benny Goodman with Frank Sinatra, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight and The Merv Griffin Show.
Rosemary has been busy with appearances and concerts across the nation. Once again in February 1996, she appears at Rainbow and Stars in New York City. Every year she returns to the standing room only audiences, whose members ages range from 17-70. In 1993, she gave a performance for President and Mrs. Clinton at the White House, which later aired on television.
She has received many awards, and was recently inducted into the National Broadcaster's Hall of Fame. In July 1995 ASCAP awarded Rosemary with The Pied Piper Award, describing her as "an American Musical Treasure and one of the best friends a song ever had."
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