Rose Marie, known best for her portrayal of television writer Sally Rogers on the beloved CBS sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, has died, according to her official website. She was 94.
The actress’ official Twitter account shared the news Thursday, with a message that read, “It is with broken hearts that we share the terribly sad news that our beloved Rose Marie passed away this afternoon.”
She first rose to fame as a child star under the name Baby Rose Marie and was one of the last surviving stars of vaudeville. In addition to her most popular role on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rose Marie also endeared herself to audiences on The Doris Day Show and as a regular panelist on Hollywood Squares.
Rose Marie was born Rose Marie Mazetta on August 15, 1923 in New York City, she was one of the first stars to be known only by her first name. She began performing from the age of three as “Baby Rose Marie,” and by age five she had her own coast-to-coast radio show on NBC. At seven, NBC sent her on the road to prove that her husky voice belonged to a child and she made her feature film debut at age 10 in 1933’s International House opposite W.C. Fields. According to her autobiography Hold the Roses, her early career was assisted by the likes of Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel. As a child, she sang for Presidents Coolidge, Hoover, and Roosevelt.
As a teenager, Rose Marie officially dropped the “Baby” and became one of the most acclaimed nightclub singers in the country. She headlined everything from New York’s Copacabana to playing the opening of Las Vegas’ first luxury casino, The Flamingo, alongside the likes of Jimmy Durante. At this time, she also began developing her comedic chops, appearing on Broadway with Milton Berle in Spring in Brazil, Zero Mostel in Lunatics and Lovers, and Phil Silvers in Top Banana.
Making a film version of Top Banana returned Rose Marie to the big screen after making numerous films as a child star. She was also in the films Memories of Us, Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, The Man from Clover Grove, Lunch Wagon, Cheaper to Keep Her, and Dick and Jane, among others.
Rose Marie found her sweet spot with the emergence of situation comedy on television, where she appeared on shows like My Sister Eileen, The Doris Day Show, and S.W.A.T, as well as featured in her own series Honeymoon Suite. In 1961, she earned her most famous role as Sally Rogers, a comedy television writer on The Dick Van Dyke Show. She earned three Emmy nominations for the role and praise for her ahead-of-its-time portrayal of a woman in a man’s world and aging man-eater.
She also made her mark on the variety show scene, using both her comedic and vocal skills alongside everyone from Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, and Dinah Shore to Dean Martin, Merv Griffin, and Johnny Carson. She was also a regular on game shows, most notably in her 14-year stint as a regular as the upper center square on Hollywood Squares.
In later years, she continued an active career on the night-club concert hall circuit, as well as continuing to make guest star appearances on television shows such as Murphy Brown, Wings, and Caroline in the City.
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In 2006, she published an autobiography entitled Hold the Roses. Rose Marie found a new outlet for her humor on social media, attracting over 125,000 followers on Twitter, where she shared memories of her career and continued to comment on contemporary affairs with her characteristic humor. Her lengthy career was chronicled in the 2017 documentary Wait for Your Laugh, which featured interviews with many of her costars, including Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner, and more.
Though she often played husband-hunters on television, she was happily married to Bobby Guy, who tragically died in 1964 from a blood infection. She is survived by her daughter Georgiana Marie “Noopy” and her son-in-law Steven Rodrigues.