Books by Rosemary Clooney

GIRL SINGER by Rosemary Clooney
Released: Nov. 2, 1999

Clooney, who went from being one of popular music's original divas to America's sweetheart, unfurls her dramatic life story, aided by Barthel (A Death in California, 1981, etc.). Clooney started out in Maysville, Ky., where she and her brother, Nicky, and her sister, Betty, bounced around from family home to family home. Her parents separated often, leading the three children to spend time with uncles and aunts, but mostly their grandparents. Because of their unfortunate circumstances, the kids, particularly the two sisters, bonded tightly from an early age, and they started their professional singing careers as a sister act. When Rosemary got her first significant gig, with Tony Pastor's band in 1939, Betty was right there with her. Some of the book's most vibrant passages come from the era long before Clooney was a household name, when she and Betty were on their first major tour with Pastor's band. You can feel their teenage excitement over having gotten out of their small town. The most poignant part comes when Clooney writes of her painful decision to leave her Uncle George (who chaperoned the girls) and Betty behind when she was offered her big break. Clooney's early life, which has been much less well-documented than her marriage to actor JosÇ Ferrer and her addiction to prescription drugs, offers the book's most sincere and moving moments. From the time she reaches true stardom, Girl Singer bounds into sometimes clichéd Hollywood melodrama, beginning with her troubled marriage, on through her many well-known friendships (from Bing Crosby to Ava Gardner), to her fall from grace, and culminating with her "90s comeback, which has seen her nominated for multiple Grammy awards, and her realization of a lifelong dream to play Carnegie Hall. However, those first chapters, and her obvious love for her family, offer such genuine, and often sweet, insight into one of America's most famous personalities that Girl Singer is a must for anyone with even a passing curiosity about Clooney. (16 pages b&w photos) (Author tour) Read full book review >