Those of us who were fortunate enough to have grown up watching The Dick Van Dyke Show are deeply saddened by the news that one of its last remaining stars, the inimitable Rose Marie, passed away on Thursday, December 28th. Before the days of stars like Cher or Beyoncé, she was once of the first personalities known simply by her first name.
While Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore were considered the “stars” of the television series, Rose Marie, in her character of comedy writer Sally Rogers, was a ground breaking figure for women in television. Along with Van Dyke who played Rob Petrie and fellow co-star Morey Amsterdam who played Buddy Sorrell, she was an equal member of the team of writers for the fictional Alan Brady Show. She could be as witty as Petrie and as irreverent as Sorrell.
While Mary Tyler Moore went on to fame starring as a single woman achieving professional status in the media in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, she was following a trail that had already been blazed by Rose Marie, who also portrayed an unmarried woman, comfortable in her own skin and able to hold her own with the big boys. It is a tribute to her acting ability that no one watching the show realized just how remarkable her role on the program was.
A few months ago Rose Marie began a campaign to garner followers on Twitter. It speaks volumes about her popularity that by the time she died, she had gained 124,000 followers, many of them fans of hers from years before, and no doubt others who were not so familiar with her achievements. Recently she released a documentary on her life called “Wait For Your Laugh” and toured the country, at age 94, delighting in greeting old and new fans of her comic wit.
She was active up until the last day of her life, if you follow her Twitter feed. This post was put up on Wednesday
71 years ago I was in @CityOfLasVegas performing at the Grand Opening of @FlamingoVegas. Opening night was amazing, great reviews and packed with so many stars from Hollywood. @JasonBWise did a great job of covering this period of my life and Vegas' history in #waitforyourlaugh pic.twitter.com/TkUhpmehqs
— Rose Marie-Official (@RoseMarie4Real) December 28, 2017
And here is a tribute to her from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the Broadway blockbuster show “Hamilton” posted only a few days ago.
— Rose Marie-Official (@RoseMarie4Real) December 22, 2017
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 22, 2017
Thanks for all the laughs Rose Marie. You were a classy, brassy lady and Heaven will now be a funnier place with you in it.