Rose Marie – on stage from childhood

Making her British debut on Granada’s The Variety Show

TVTimes masthead
From the TVTimes for week commencing 14 February 1960

ROSE MARIE, a vigorous entertainer whom viewers will see in Granada’s The Variety Show, on Thursday, is moving toward the apex of her second business career. A performer from the age of three, she first became a major personality as the zestful Baby Rose Marie.

For years the child star enjoyed consistent success in films, radio, and on recordings. But the inevitable awkward age arrived, and it seemed as if Rose Marie would reach the show business dead-end that has concerned many child artists.

A public image, once established, is difficult to change. It is often hard for a former child wonder to convince the public she has grown up.

Rose Marie was born and raised in New York’s crowded lower East Side, where poverty often breeds fierce competition. She is of Italian and Polish descent, which may help explain her intense personality.

At three, Rose Marie won an amateur contest which led to a radio appearance. The latter resulted in a contract with the National Broadcasting Company.

For the next few years, Rose Marie co-starred with such stars as Dick Powell, Rudy Vallee and Milton Berle. In addition to her capacity to reach and hold an audience, she had an excellent memory and could sing more than 500 songs.

Rose Marie

The child’s voice was so strong and her projection so self-contained that audiences doubted that she was so young. To convince them, she went on extended personal appearance tours. That more than convinced local police that she was below voting age, and there were problems in many cities. In some she was not allowed to perform; in others she had to pantomime her act; and in some cases she was fined.

When not touring, Rose Marie attended the Professional Children’s School in New York, where, in addition to regular subjects, training for future professionals in music and other arts was given.

“I had to retire at 12,” said Rose Marie. “I was too gawky to performer and not mature enough to compete with the adults. And so I went to a parochial school in New Jersey, dreamed of continuing in show business, but waited until I was ready.”

Rose Marie returned in a short-lived musical, Springtime in Brazil but it was evident that she had grown more in voice than in size. She is only 5ft 2in tall, but has a voice that does not need amplification and a feeling for comedy that has made her appearances doubly impressive.

By the time she co-starred with Phil Silvers in Top Banana on Broadway she was accepted as an adult personality and began a substantial new career.

Since then, she has appeared in many major American night clubs. Her television appearances have included the shows of Ed Sullivan, Ray Anthony, Steve Allen, and other major variety programmes. She has also demonstrated a distinctive acting talent and has appeared in stage plays.

“I have never been in Britain before and I’m thrilled at this chance,” she says.

She names Bob Cummings and Jimmy Durante as the major influences in a her career.

Rose Marie, now 31, is married thrumpet player Bobby Guy. They have a five-year-old daughter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *