Tribute: Rose Marie

Posted on December 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Copyright Rose Marie 2017
We bid a sad and fond farewell to Rose Marie, a star from the era of radio to the era of Twitter, who died yesterday at age 94. She is best remembered today as Sally Rogers, the wisecracking comedy writer (inspired by Selma Diamond) on the fictitious “Alan Brady Show” in my all-time favorite television series, “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Sally’s brash humor, mostly directed toward herself and her single status, was a perfect counterpoint to Van Dyke’s suburban dad and Morey Amsterdam’s non-stop one-liners. For me, and I imagine for many girls and young women across the country, the writer with the bow in her hair who was the only woman in the room was an inspiring example of an independent, respected working woman. In her appearances on talk shows and “The Hollywood Squares” she was as quick and funny as the character she played. And could she sell a song.

After all, she had been a singing superstar as a little girl with a very big voice and and a bigger personality, billed as “the child wonder.”

Here she gives her thoughts on comedy.

And how the Sally Rogers character was based on her own personality.

I was proud to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign for the documentary about Rose Marie that came out earlier this year. It includes many remarkable stories about her early days as a child superstar and her appearances in Las Vegas back when the mob was running the casinos.

Carl Reiner, creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” wrote on Twitter:

I was so sad to learn of the passing of Rosemarie. There’s never been a more engaging & multi-talented performer. In a span of 90 years, since she was four, dear Rosie performed on radio, in vaudeville, nightclubs, films, TV, & Vegas & always had audiences clamoring for “more!!”

Bill Persky, a writer for the show, paid tribute on Twitter as well: “Laughter lost a friend today with the passing of Rosemarie, Every line we wrote for her was guaranteed, she never failed to deliver, The New Year will be less happy with her gone.”

Columnist Amy “Ask Amy” Dickinson wrote in her book that her appearances on the NPR show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” are inspired by her inner Sally Rogers. I think all of us of that generation, especially those who write, have a bit of Sally — and Rose Marie — in us.

May her memory be a blessing.

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Actors Tribute

Kickstarter: Fund a Movie About the Fabulous 90-Year Career of Rose Marie

Posted on May 25, 2016 at 3:13 pm

I couldn’t resist this one — Rose Marie was a superstar when her age was in single digits and her show business career tells the story of entertainment in the 20th century. I hope this film gets made.

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Movie History

50th Anniversary of the ‘Dick Van Dyke Show’ with Carl Reiner and Dick van Dyke

Posted on September 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm

My all-time favorite television show is “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”  The wit, sophistication, and charm of the show and the marvelous performances by its talented cast have made it an enduring classic, with many of its best episodes available to a new generation of fans on Hulu.  The Walnut Times is a delightful fan publication.

Carl Reiner created the show based on his own experiences as a writer on the legendary staff of Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows,” along with Mel Brooks, Neil Simon and his brother Danny (who inspired “The Odd Couple”), and many more who would shape the comedy writing of the next decade.  (Woody Allen joined the staff later and worked on Caesar’s comedy specials.)  Later, Mel Brooks produced the movie “My Favorite Year” and Neil Simon wrote “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” also inspired by the wild adventures of the young comedy writers in the early days of television.

The show focused on the life of the head writer, Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) at home with his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore, who was just 24 when the show first aired) and son Richie and at the office with his co-writers Sally (Rose Marie) and Buddy (Morey Amsterdam).  They worked on a “Your Show of Shows”-style variety hour headed by a temperamental star (Reiner himself, appearing occasionally as Alan Brady) and produced by the star’s brother-in-law, Mel (Richard Deacon).  Rob and Laura were a rare married couple on television who were obviously crazy about each other.  Van Dyke and Moore had enormous chemistry that some have compared to the glamorous young President and First Lady in the White House and a natural rhythm with each other that made their relationship very relatable.  Some of the episodes were directed by “Your Show of Shows” veteran Howard Morris.

On October 1, Reiner and Van Dyke will appear at the Egyptian Theatre for a tribute to the show.

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