Actress and comedienne Rose Marie, who grew up from a child superstar to become a television comedy legend, died Thursday in Hollywood at 94.
She spent her entire life as a star, and was one of the last surviving entertainers whose career spanned all media — vaudeville, records, movies, Broadway, radio and television.
Born Rose Marie Mazetta in New York, she began singing on the vaudeville stage when she was 3 years old, billed as Baby Rose Marie.
With her naturally husky voice, many in the audience insisted she was not a child but a small adult dressed up in children’s clothes.
She soon became one of the country’s best-known child entertainers with her own radio show, touring in vaudeville, and singing in early sound films.
She dropped the “Baby” from her billing as she grew into a teenager, and continued to perform in nightclubs and make records.
Rose Marie became a household name again in 1961 when she began playing comedy writer Sally Rogers on television’s Dick Van Dyke Show — a hugely popular situation comedy that ran five years.
Her character was a wise-cracking single woman constantly on the lookout for a husband, using jokes to hide her loneliness.
She kept her persona of a man-hungry single woman as a panelist on game shows, including her long run as a regular on Hollywood Squares.
Rose Marie never retired. In the months before she died, she appeared in person during the screening of her autobiographical documentary film Wait for Your Laugh.
Throughout her career, Rose Marie was nominated for three Emmys and received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2001.