A documentary by Jason Wise about Rose Marie, Wait For Your Laugh, is a trip down show biz memory lane. Reaching back to the early part of the 20th century, the anecdote-rich film reveals a remarkable career in vaudeville, radio and early television. At age 4, Rose Marie got her big break when the performer Evelyn Nesbit reached out into the audience at a club and lifted up the child who was singing with her. They did a duet, and the rest is history.
Daughter of a dancer and Frank Mazetta, who had another legitimate family, Baby Rose Marie, as she was called, never saw the money she made as a little girl. When she fell in love with Bobby Guy, a lead trombone player for Bing Crosby, her father had her followed, but the marriage prevailed, and from everyone’s testimony, from Dick Van Dyke who worked with Rose Marie in The Dick Van Dyke Show, to Peter Marshall, host of Hollywood Squares where Rose Marie was a regular for 14 years, this was one of the great marriages, until Guy died in 1964.
Interviewed at Sardi’s this week, where a caricature of Rose Marie was unveiled, with the comedienne reached by phone to express her gratitude, Wise, who previously directed documentaries about the wine industry, said, as soon as he heard that Rose Marie knew Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel, he was determined to make this movie despite the fact that others deterred him saying, a movie about a near forgotten woman will never sell. But Wise recognized Rose Marie’s unique genius, and regrets that he could not say more about Evelyn Nesbit, another great performer. Overshadowed by a scandal involving the shooting death of architect Stanford White, Nesbit’s career is well worth resurrecting. But wait, that’s another movie.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central