Broadway and television actress Rose Marie, best known for her Emmy-nominated role as Sally Rogers on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” has died at the age of 94. While anyone who saw her work knows she knew how to bring the laughs, she had quite the interesting career and life outside of her most well-known roles. Here are five things you may not know about Rose Marie.
1. She Was In Show Business For 91 Years
Rose Marie was hardly new to Hollywood when she became part of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” She had been working since 1926, when she was just 3 years old, and her career has been called the longest in the business. Then called “Baby Rose Marie,” she even sang on her own NBC radio show at the age of 5—before Shirley Temple was even born. She also starred in short films as a child.
She dropped the “Baby” from her name at age 11 and continued her career as Rose Marie, becoming a headliner at nightclubs across the country when she was a teenager. She then performed at the first luxury casino-club in Las Vegas, becoming a headliner in the city for years. Following that, she went on to Broadway, then made a return to movies and then moved on to TV.
She has since donated several personal items to the National Museum of American History, including her trademark black hair bow and shoes from her radio days.
2. She Had A Deep, Gravelly Voice—Even As A Child
She had a distinctive and deep voice for a child, which caught on with listeners of her radio show. But many fans—and those who saw her on stage or film—did not believe she was a child, instead believing her to be an adult little person. To dispel the rumors, following her radio show, NBC sent her on the road at age 7 to prove to listeners that she was, indeed, a child.
3. She Was The First Celebrity To Not Use Her Last Name
We now have Cher, Madonna and Beyoncé, but before the latter two were were even born, Rose Marie was dropping her last name. According to Vulture, when a Hollywood agent asked her what name she went by after she moved to California in the 1950s, she said she had always been simply Rose Marie. She didn’t see a reason to change it just because she was going to be on television.
“First of all, I was ‘Baby Rose Marie,’” she told Vanity Fair. “As I grew older, into the awkward age, I became ‘Miss Rose Marie.’ And, as I got older, I said, ‘The hell with ‘Miss’…just make it ‘Rose Marie!’”
4. Al Capone Was Known To Her As “Uncle Al”
Before her death, Rose Marie was reportedly the last person alive who knew and was close to mobster Al Capone. When she was around 10 or 11, Capone invited Rose Marie and her father to his house for dinner, saying “the boys” wanted to meet her. “Al Capone picked me up in his arms and said, ‘Anything you want and anything you need, you let Uncle Al know—and you call me Uncle Al from now on,'” she told the New York Post. She says she did indeed need a favor from him “a couple of times.”
“My father worked as an arsonist for Al Capone,” she told PEOPLE. “He used to burn down your warehouse if things weren’t going the right way, but I didn’t know that at the time. I was a child star and to me Al was my ‘Uncle Al,’ my mother used to cook for all these guys. Years later when I was working Vegas with [casino owner and known mobster] Bugsy Siegel, I cooked for that generation, I guess I knew then.”
5. She Was One Of The First Celebrities To Speak Out About The Harvey Weinstein Scandal
While filming the 1954 film “Top Banana,” Rose Marie says she was harassed by a male producer and, when she fired back, all of her scenes were cut to a minute. “It was like I wasn’t in the picture,” she told Vulture.
No stranger to that kind of behavior and not afraid to speak her mind, on Oct. 10, 2017, she asked her Twitter followers if they would like her thoughts on the Harvey Weinstein scandal. She then tweeted (or rather, had her secretary tweet): “I’ve worked since I was 3, Im 94. W/ Weinstein, finally women are speaking up to power. I have suffered my whole life for that. Dont stop”
I’ve worked since I was 3, Im 94. W/ Weinstein, finally women are speaking up to power. I have suffered my whole life for that. Dont stop https://t.co/sad20SYn2V
— Rose Marie-Official (@RoseMarie4Real) October 11, 2017
A documentary about Rose Marie, titled “Wait for Your Laugh,” was released on Nov. 3, 2017. It chronicles her nine-decades-long career and features behind-the-scenes footage from “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and other sets she worked on.