Rosemary Clooney

2018 LEGEND Award

 

The distinctively unpretentious, deep, rich and smooth voice of Rosemary Clooney earned her recognition as one of America's premier pop and jazz singers and most beloved entertainers. “Rosemary Clooney has that great talent which exudes warmth and feeling in every song she sings,” Frank Sinatra once said. “She's the symbol of good, modern American music."

 

Born in Maysville, Kentucky, Clooney was one of five children. In 1945, she and her younger sister, Betty, began singing duets on the radio. The Clooney Sisters, as they became known, soon caught the attention of the saxophonist and bandleader Tony Pastor, and the sisters toured with his band for several years. In 1949, Rosemary – who had determined to make a living doing what she loved most – moved to New York to embark on a solo career. There she signed with Columbia Records and quickly made a name for herself with her chart-topping rendition of “Come On-a My House” (1951). A string of novelty hits followed, including “This Ole House” and “Mambo Italiano,” as well as love songs such as “Tenderly,” “Half as Much” and “Hey There.”

 

Clooney appeared in several films, most notably White Christmas with Bing Crosby, and she served as the host of the television variety series The Rosemary Clooney Show. She received the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award shortly before her passing in 2002.