Sunday, September 13, 2009
Rosemary Clooney- Singer/ Actress (George Clooney’s Aunt)
Rosemary Clooney was a gifted singer whose career was disrupted midstream by bipolar disorder. She and her sister Betty were living in poverty when they won a contest and earned a regular job singing on the radio. They went from collecting soda bottles and using the refund money to buy lunch at school to getting paid 20$ a week each to sing on the radio. (That is what I call a lucky break) They became known as “The Clooney Sisters”. In 1951 she recorded “Come on-a My House,” a song she hated. Ironically it made her a star. The album became a gold record. She played in several films, but none as popular as White Christmas. The film became the top grosser of 1954. (Put simply, made more money over the entire year than every other movie put out that year. That’s a lot of money! She must have been rolling in dough by then!) She eloped in 1953 and married an Oscar winning actor. and between 1955 and 1960 they had five children! (That automatically makes her a super mom, and worthy of the ever so popular mini van. No offense to mini van lovers, my mom has one too.) The pressure of raising five children while pursuing careers as a television, movie, radio, and recording star, plus her failing marriage led her to self medicate on pain killers and tranquilizers. (As you can see from my other blogs self medication is in almost every bio of an undiagnosed person). For Clooney the world and her mental state plummeted when her close friend Bobby Kennedy was assassinated only yards away from her. (That obviously had to be traumatizing anyway)The tragedy along with her drug addiction triggered a public mental collapse. She cursed at her audience and then walked off stage; she later called a press conference to announce her retirement at which she sobbed uncontrollably. When she heard a doctor was being summoned she ran away, and was found driving on the wrong side of a mountain road. She was admitted to a hospital, where she was diagnosed bipolar and was in therapy for several years following. In 1977 she released an autobiography This for Remembrance, which describes her illness and trials. She wanted others to know that they’re not alone, and to be able to recognize some of their own symptoms so they don’t have to go through what she did! (Nobody should have to go through what she did) Throughout her career she recorded 25 albums, and received several awards. She died Saturday, June 29th, 2002 after a struggle with lung cancer. She was 74.