Rosemary Clooney through the years

Sunday, June 14, 1998

The Clooney Sisters: Betty, top, and Rosemary.
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May 23, 1928: Born to Andrew and Frances Clooney, Maysville, Ky. Lived with grandmothers, aunts and uncles in Maysville, Ironton and Cincinnati. Attended Withrow and Western Hills high schools.

1945: The telephone has been turned off, utilities are about to be and the rent is due when Rosemary, 17, and Betty, 14, sing at WLW radio in open auditions and get their first job for $40 a week together.

1947: The Clooney Sisters sing with the Tony Pastor Orchestra in Atlantic City, their first tour outside of Cincinnati.

1949: Betty leaves the act; Rosemary heads for New York and lands a recording contract with Columbia Records as the protege of Mitch Miller.

1951: Ms. Clooney records "Come On-a My House," a novelty tune that becomes a smash hit. Her songs on the charts in the '50s include "Hey There," "This Old House," Tenderly," "Botch-a Me" and "Mambo Italiano." Her musical associations are a Who's Who of the entertainment biz: Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Nelson Riddle.

1952-4: Ms. Clooney stars in Hollywood films, including The Stars are Singing, Here Come the Girls with Bob Hope, Red Garters and White Christmas with Bing Crosby.

July 13, 1953: Ms. Clooney marries actor Jose Ferrer in Durant, Okla., breaking the heart of Dante DiPaolo whom she had been dating since Here Come the Girls.

1956-57: She hosts the Rosemary Clooney Show on NBC.

1955-60: Ms. Clooney gives birth to five children in five years; Bob Hope calls it "Vatican roulette": Miguel, Maria, Gabriel, Monsita, Rafael.

1961, 1967: Divorce, reconciliation and divorce again from Mr. Ferrer.

1962: Sings at a political party for President John F. Kennedy; strikes up friendship with the Kennedy family, especially Robert Kennedy, for whom she campaigns.

1968: A prescription drug dependency and the Robert Kennedy assassination trigger a nervous breakdown. She admits herself to the psychiatric ward at Mount Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles.

1975-76: Ms. Clooney's comeback begins with Bing Crosby, when she goes on his last major tour before he dies in 1977.

1976: Betty Clooney dies of a brain aneurysm.

1977: Ms. Clooney signs with the Concord Jazz label, making 24 albums by 1998. She writes her first autobiography, This for Remembrance (Playboy Press).

1982: She is featured in the CBS-TV movie, Rosie, The Rosemary Clooney Story, based on her autobiography.

1990-98: Appears annually at New York's Rainbow & Stars cabaret room.

1991: First Carnegie Hall appearance (her fourth was June 1).

With nephew George on the set of ER
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1995: Ms. Clooney makes an Emmy-nominated guest performance on NBC's top-rated TV drama, ER, starring her nephew George Clooney. Her 50th year in show business is hailed in a 90-minute tribute on the Arts & Entertainment Network.

Nov. 7, 1997: Rosemary, grandmother of nine, and Dante DiPaolo, her partner since 1973, marry in Maysville. It's the second marriage, first church wedding, for both.

1998: Ms. Clooney is working on a new autobiography with ghost writer Joan Barthel for Doubleday Books, due out in spring 1999. Concord Jazz releases Rosemary Clooney, 70, a 70th birthday celebration CD.

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