Talk about mixed emotions. I am sitting in my living room at 1:30 in the morning, watching what appears to be a broadcast of Brian Setzer's live set from Tokyo taped earlier this year on my local public television station - apparently, not to be interrupted by pledge breaks - when I pick up the computer and stumble across the news that Rosemary Clooney has passed on from complications from cancer at the age of 74.
Rosie had an interesting career, though her exploits in recent years have come mostly on the coattails of the success of her handsome acting nephew, George. (George's dad is Rosemary's brother, Nick Clooney, a veteran Cincinnati TV personality who was most recently an on-air host for AMC before that channel got totally screwed up with young-turk hosts and ads. The elder Clooney also hosted "The Money Maze". But I digress.) We vividly remember Rosie's turn as a confused homeless woman wandering into the E.R. from time to time and bumping heads with Dr. Doug Ross (George's character) and the other denizens of the E.R. But it was ultimately the music that she'll be remembered for, starting with the William Saroyan-Ross Bagdasarian composition "Come on-a My House" and weaving through a succession of less heralded works. I heard a mid-90's Rosie on the radio not long ago interpreting the Dave Frishberg tune "Let's Eat Home" and she still sounded marvelous. Bye, Rosie.
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