Rose Marie and
the "4 Girls 4"
eight years, Rose Marie toured with an act
called "4 Girls 4" which starred
(in alphabetical order) Rosemary
Helen O'Connell, Rose Marie and Margaret
Frankie Ortega was the groups arranger/conductor.
The act sold out theatres all across the
country and broke numerous house records.
The show saw each "girl" presenting
a mini-concert of their hits/act and then
joining in a finale of "Together."
The years on the road solidified strong
bongs between Rose Marie, "Cloon"
and "Miss Showbiz" a.k.a. Maggie.
learn more about this phenomenal act - please
visit the multi-media feature
Story of 4 Girls 4
by Matt Connor at The Rosemary Clooney Palladium
Girls 4" on an episode of "The Mike Douglas Show"
is an except from an article by Diane Werts for The Dallas Morning
News, March 11, 1979
"The four of us together is great"
The women of '4 Girls 4' are finding life with each other fantastic
Over tea, coffee and orange juice this week, the four
"girls" of 4 Girls 4--Rosemary Clooney, Rose Marie, Helen
O'Connell and Margaret Whiting--learned why their club act is so
successful. Margaret came out with the answer, "I think the
secret of this is it's really very contemporary. I mean we're all hip ladies."
"We are?" asked Helen in surprise.
"We're very hip ladies, we're today," Margaret
continued. "I don't care about yesterday. I only care about
today and tomorrow. I take my mistakes from yesterday and make 'em
work for today and tomorrow." It didn't take the others a second
to respond. Their voices went up in unison.
Rose Marie reached for a pen: "I gotta write that down."
Rosemary agreed: "I want that oo, I want that immediately."
Rose Marie was ready to take it down: "Say that again."
But Margaret was unmoved, "No matter what they say, they all
feel the same way," she insisted. "No matter how they put
me down, they do."
"'I take my mistakes--'" asked Rose Marie, pen in hend.
Margaret was still creating quotes. "Make every day a triumph, I
don't give a fig about yesterday." "Fig" brought great
laughter. "You're writing it down," Rosemary told Rose
Marie. "I know that you will give me a Xerox, won't you?"
"Oh, God help me," said Margaret. "This'll come back a thousand-fold."
That's life on the road for the four women who make up 4 Girls 4.
There's constant chiding each other about statements and making fun
of each other's mistakes; and there's passing on a touching song
lyric to the others, trading talk about children's weddings and
remembering the inconveniences of losing luggage. There's never a
quiet moment because they're never out of anything to talk about.
With their backgrounds, how could they be? Rosemary, the
small-town girl from Kentucky, made it big in records with Come On-a
My House and in movies with Bing Crosby in White Christmas. RoseMarie
began singing at 3 as "Baby Rose Marie" and evolved into
the well-remembered comedian of The Dick Van Dyke Show and Hollywood
Squares. Helen was a star of the big bands, singing with Bob Eberly
and Jimmy Dorsey, and later hosted TV's Today show. Margaret, the
Hollywood-bred daughter of composer Richard Whiting (Hooray for
Hollywood, Sleepy Tim eGal, On the Good Ship Lollipop), earned more
than 10 gold records with both popular and country music songs.
They could talk about all that, but they don't. Margaret was
right: they all seem to believe it's today that's most important.
"You gotta live today and tomorrow," she said.
"Yesterday's over, that's the point. I think that too many
people are concerned with age and they worry the rest of their lives
about age and they just ruffle up and die. Somebody did an interview
ith me in San Antonia and said "A lot of my listeners want to
know why you haven't retired.' I said 'Why the hell should
I retire? I'm in the best years of my life, I'm having more fun, I'm
the happiest I've ever been. I'm with three crazy ladies and we've
got a very successful show. We're having a ball. What the hell should
I retire for? I've only just begun.'"
Each woman does her own familiar set--Margaret includes My Ideal
and Tree in the Meadow, Rose Marie does a comedy stint with a few
songs, Helen sings Green Eyes and Tangerine, Rosemary does Come On-a
My House and Tenderly--mixed with a few new numbers like Billy Joel's
Just The Way You Are, then the four join for a few verses of Together
at the end.
Even when they're doing the old songs, they make them seem new.
The group's enthusiasm never lags. And it's not only RoseMarie who
does comedy: Margaret chats with the crowd boisterously, Helen does a
nervous bit about the big band era, Rosemary clowns. It all comes
together so naturally and so beautifully, it's hard to believe the
act is only a year and a half old. 4 Girls 4 was born Sept. 6, 1977,
at the whim of a producer.
RoseMarie remembers, "Bill Loeb, the producer, who was my
manager at one time and was Margaret's manager and is now Cloon's
manager, called us up and said "You wanna play a week at the
Doheny Plaza Theater in Beverly Hills? Just get up there, do a 35
minute show, just do your part and then go home.' He'd known us all
and he just put us together." They did more than 35 minutes and
the 1-week engagement was such a smash that, after working around
their individual schedules, they've managed to keep 4 Girls 4 going
around the country for much of the year, usually to wildly
enthusiastic, sell-out crowds.
"You know what a pleasure it is for me when they call me for
Hollywood Squares, to say 'I can't do it. I'm gonna be on the
road.'" said RoseMarie.
"But on the face of it, though, I didn't think it would
become what it is," Rosemary said, to agreement from the others.
"I didn't think it would become the smash of all time,"
said Rose Marie, "but I remember Cloon telling me, 'I look
forward to coming to work and it's ridiculous.' She said, 'I never
felt this way before.'" "It's something very special about
the four of us," Margaret said, "besides loving and liking
and appreciating one another as a women and as performers, we're
now--after one year--so close, (if) some other woman came in the
group, it wouldn't work, and four other women doing it, it wouldn't work.
"We have kind of the same togetherness, the same thought, the
same everything." That comes across on stage, as they
affectionately call each other "Leather-lungs" (Margaret),
"Dimples" (Helen), "The Mouth" (Rose Marie) and
Off stage, it's even more obvious these four women have a very