- The Washington Times - Monday, July 1, 2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) Fans, family members and fellow entertainers yesterday remembered singer Rosemary Clooney, who died Saturday, for her seemingly effortless singing style, her warm humor and her triumphant comeback from emotional problems and drug abuse.
"For over 50 years she has brightened our lives with the richness of her personality and her voice," Dolores Hope, a fellow singer and wife of entertainer Bob Hope, said in a statement. "Her courage and love have been an inspiration to all who called her friend."
The mellow-voiced singer who co-starred with Bing Crosby in "White Christmas" died late Saturday night at the age of 74 at her Beverly Hills home, with family members at her side. She had been hospitalized earlier in the month for a recurrence of lung cancer.
"Her music was an extraordinary extension of this joyful soul," her longtime friend, singer and pianist Michael Feinstein, told the Los Angeles Times. "She was an earth mother, a heart person, and that quality came through in her music."
Mrs. Clooney's younger brother, Nick Clooney, an entertainer and TV reporter in Cincinnati, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he spoke with her Thursday and she had talked enthusiastically about returning to her hometown of Maysville, Ky., for the fourth annual Rosemary Clooney Music Festival in September.
"She was very feisty," Mr. Clooney said. His son is actor George Clooney.
Flowers were placed on Mrs. Clooney's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a ceremony yesterday. Notices from fans appeared on Web sites devoted to the singer.
Mrs. Clooney started singing with her younger sister, Betty, on WLW radio in Cincinnati in 1945, and under bandleader Tony Pastor, "the Clooney Sisters" made their Atlantic City debut at the Steel Pier in 1947.
Two years later, Betty tired of the life and returned to Cincinnati, and Rosemary headed for New York, where she played a few dates on radio and early TV shows. In 1951, Mitch Miller, the mentor of Columbia Records, offered her "Come on-a My House," by Armenian-American author William Saroyan.
"I really hated that song. I hated the whole idea, and my first impression was, 'What a cheap way to get people's attention,'" she later wrote in her memoirs.
When she refused to record the song, Mr. Miller threatened to fire her. She agreed, using an Italian accent instead of Armenian "because it was the only kind of accent I knew."
The song became a huge hit and catapulted Mrs. Clooney to stardom. One of her later hits was the standard "Mambo Italiano."
In addition to her husband and five children, Mrs. Clooney is survived by her brother; a sister, Gail Clooney Darley; and 10 grandchildren.
Services were to be held in Beverly Hills and Kentucky; details were pending. Mrs. Clooney was expected to be buried at St. Patrick's cemetery in Maysville.

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