Rose Marie, Wisecracking Star of ‘Dick Van Dyke Show,’ Dies at 94

Rose Marie, the actress who went toe-to-toe in a man’s world as wisecracking comedy writer Sally Rogers on the legendary 1960s CBS sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, has died. She was 94.

Marie died at 2 p.m. Thursday at her home in Van Nuys, California, according to her website.

The comedienne-vocalist, who started her career at age 3 in some of the earliest talking films, co-headlined on the opening night of Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas in 1946 and was a regular on the game show The Hollywood Squares.

Readily identifiable by the bow in her hair and her raspy voice, Marie was a member of one of the most popular ensemble casts in TV history. Along with Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Morey Amsterdam and, occasionally, Carl Reiner (the series’ creator), she appeared in all five seasons of the sitcom and received Emmy nominations in 1963, 1964 and 1966.

“We were always changing lines, even right up to the very minute of going on the air,” she recalled in a 2004 interview. “If something didn’t work, it didn’t work. Sometimes guest stars would panic because they weren’t used to this. We were a tight-knit, hard-working crew. I couldn’t wait to get to the set each day.”

The man-needy Rogers’ verbal jousts with Amsterdam — whom she had known in real life since she was 11 — were among the show’s highlights. At the time, the sight of a single woman in the workplace was novel on TV.

She was hired for the sitcom — the second person cast after Van Dyke himself — for $1,000 an episode by executive producer Sheldon Leonard, who had played her brother on the radio on The Phil Harris Show.

Marie had cultivated her persona as a husband-hunter in a number of comic guest appearances on the shows of such luminaries as Jimmy Durante, Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, Garry Moore, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dinah Shore, Dean Martin, Merv Griffin and, frequently with Johnny Carson, on The Tonight Show.

She also played secretary Myrna Gibbons, who worked with Doris Day’s character in a magazine office, on the CBS sitcom The Doris Day Show; was Hilda, the sandwich delivery lady, on the ABC action series S.W.A.T.; appeared as Frank Fontana’s (Joe Regalbuto) mom on Murphy Brown; portrayed a baseball owner, not unlike Marge Schott of the Cincinnati Reds, on the Fox sitcom Hardball; and was the voice of Norma Bates in Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho (1998).

Marie also was a 14-year participant on The Hollywood Squares, where her comic cackle delighted audiences, and she appeared in such films as Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966), Don’t Worry, We’ll Think of a Title (1966) and Lunch Wagon (1981).

“I play me in almost everything I do,” she once said. “I play a part to the best of my ability to get a joke out, to sell it and to do it best.”

Rose Marie Mazetta was born in New York on Aug. 15, 1923, her name inspired by the popular Broadway musical Rose-Marie. She entered show business as a 3-year-old toddler when she appeared at New York’s Mecca Theater and belted out a torch ballad.

The precocious performer, known as “Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder,” won a spot on a national radio show and became one of the hottest stars on the NBC Radio Network.

During the 1930s, Marie also toured in vaudeville and had small parts in movies, including International House (1933), which starred W.C. Fields. She was so talented, many people thought she was a midget dressed in kids’ clothes.

(Excerpt) Read More in: The Hollywood Reporter

Rose Marie, Wisecracking Star of ‘Dick Van Dyke Show,’ Dies at 94

| Featured | 0 Comments

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>