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Revisiting my 2010 interview with showbiz legend Rose Marie who was born 100 years ago today

Showbiz legend Rose Marie was born 100 years ago today. Although widely known for her role on the CBS situation comedy The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966), as television comedy writer Sally Rogers, she had a showbiz career ultimately spanning nine decades, which included film, radio, records, theater, night clubs and television. She died at the age of 94 in 2017.

Here is a brief interview I did with her in 2010:

Rose Marie turned 87 last month and is still sharp and feisty. She makes frequent public appearances and always wearing one of her trademark bows in her hair. We saw each other recently at a benefit in Hollywood and I wondered if she ever saw any of the gang from The Dick Van Dyke Show.

“I talk to Dick, I talk to Carl. Morey’s now gone and Richard Deacon has been gone a long time. Mary and I never were close. We said ‘hello, how are you?” Christmas gifts and things like that but we weren’t palsy walsy until we did the reunion. After we did the reunion we said we wasted a lot of time.”

FAVORITES: What were her favorite episodes from the splendid Emmy winning series, still regarded as one of the best sitcoms in television history.

The I Am A Couple episode is her favorite episode and second favorite is Sally is a Girl “where they had to treat me like a girl.” But Sally wasn’t not just one of the girls. Where Mary Tyler Moore’s Laura Petrie was a wife and mother like most female characters were at that time, Sally was a professional comedy writer who did not defer to her male writing partners played by Van Dyke and Morey Amsterdam.

“I was the first women’s libber. I worked on an equal basis with the guys and a lot of people have told me that if it wasn’t for [Sally], they wouldn’t be able to do what they’re doing. And a lot of girls have become writers. It makes me very proud.”

The Dick Van Dyke Show is by far her most famous role but it certainly wasn’t her first or last. She broke into showbiz as Baby Rose. After the classic 1961-66 sitcom left the air, she went on to become a regular on The Doris Day Show and appeared for many years as a panelist on Hollywood Squares delivering well-timed barbs. She also enjoyed tremendous success with a touring stage show called 4 Girls 4 with Mary Martin, Helen O’Connell and Margaret Whiting.

So what are Rose Marie’s favorite shows on television these days?

“I don’t watch much television,” she admits. “The only thing I watch is Law & Order [Special Victims Unit]. I think Mariska Hargitay is wonderful.”

FILE UNDER: Birthdays


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