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Baby Rose Marie No Longer Is

Bert's Eye View, December 17, 1961, By Bert Resnek
in the Independent Press Telegram, Long Beach, CA

When a child hits age 36, it is time to shred the swaddling clothes.

In fact, swaddling shedding is way overdue.

But it is difficult to shuck the raiment of childhood when you are a phenomenon.

Legend does not stop becoming legend with added age. Its flavor mellows with time.

When Baby Rose Marie was 5 years old, she started becoming a legend. She had a phenomenal voice.

It was a husky, masculine voice that sometimes led sceptical listeners to believe that Lawrence Tibbets was in the wings singing the song the pint-size girl was mouthing.

Lawrence Tibbets was not in the wings.

The voice actually boomed from the girl.

It was not just a freakish voice. It was not just some-throat rasping.

It was harmonious. It was pleasant.

So was the child who used it.

She used it on radio. She used it in motion pictures. She used it on the stage and in recordings.

She professionally used it and the name Baby Rose Marie until she was 13 years old "and I became fat and ugly."

THE FATNESS AND UGLIN ESS are gone now, if, indeed, they ever did exist save in the mind of the then teen-ager.

They are gone but the name, "Baby," legend-lingers on.

"Lots of people still call me 'Baby'." she said.

"Phoo!

"Actually, they mean it with love and affection and I really shouldn't resent it."

But the fact remains that "Baby" Rose Marie no longer is.

Rose Marie, yes.

An accomplished comedienne who can still belt out a tune In a voice that has shown remarkably little change she is featured in the role of Sally on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" at 8 p.m. Tuesdays on CBS-TV (channel 2).

The woman who was "Baby" has been married for 15 years to trumpeter Bobby Guy. They have a 13-year-old daughter, Georgiana.

Understand this woman. She is not resentful because she was a child star.

"Listen," she said. "I don't know where people get the idea that a child actor has to be deprived of a normal childhood.

"I had time, most of the time, to attend public school. I had everyday friends.

"On Saturday mornings I had to clean my room, including scrubbing the floor.

"My mother (Mrs. Stella Curlcy) repeatedly told me: 'Whenever you want to stop being an actress, just say so and you can stop.'"

"I never said I wanted to stop.

"A child actor has got to want it to do it.

"I don't care what kind of a 'stage' mother or father he has.

'There is nothing any 'stage' mother or father can do about it if their child rebels. If he doesn't want to act, they can't force him.

"Because, even if they could force him out on the stage, the forcing would show in his performance. His performance would be a nothing. And 'nothing' performers don't last."

ROSE MARIE, who wasn't forced, has lasted.

The child, who "was bom in a wind tunnel," became an acting adult that traipsed the nightclub circuit from East Coast to West.

The child became an adult that was co-starred with Phil Silvers in a Broadway musical, 'Top Banana."

The child is a woman who has appeared in dramatic roles on such television programs as "Gunsmoke," "Studio 57" and "M-Squad."

She is a comedienne.

'Two drunks went to a zoo and stopped to look at a lion. The lion roared. One of the drunks started to run away. The other stopped him.

" 'You can't leave now,' the second drunk said to the first. The movie just started'."

She is a housewife who cooks, knits and believes marriage and a career can successfully mix.

She is a mother who isn't sure whether she should be concerned or amused because her 13-year-old daughter has a mania for horses.

She is all these adult things.

Just don't call her "Baby."

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