rosemary clooney
Images via Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP & Wikipedia

George Clooney's Aunt Starred in 'White Christmas'


There are so many classic holiday films that families love to watch year after year -- It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story -- even modern films like Elf and The Santa Clause. But White Christmas will always be one of the best of all time. The music, the sets, and everything about the story embodies the magic of the holiday season and leaves you feeling like you've just witnessed the true meaning of Christmas. The beloved musical stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney as four people who come together to save an inn in Pine Tree, Vermont. And yes, Rosemary is Hollywood A-lister George Clooney's aunt!

Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, where she grew up with her sister Betty and brother Nick. Initially, she got her start as a performer singing with her sister, which makes sense, considering she looked right at home on the stage singing duets with her onscreen sister Vera-Ellen in White Christmas. The Clooney sisters first got their big break singing on a Cincinnati, Ohio radio station and just a year later, Rosemary was working with Columbia Records and performing with Tony Pastor's big band, ready to move on to the big leagues.

A few years later she had her first big hit as a solo artist with "Come On-a My House." More hit songs followed, including "Mambo Italiano," "Hey There," and "This Ole House." By 1954, at the age of 26, she starred in White Christmas, as Betty Haynes, the love interest of Bing Crosby's character Bob Wallace. 

Rosemary's career was largely built around her skills as a vocalist and outside of the classic holiday film, she was never really a movie star like her nephew George. She married Academy Award-winning Puerto Rican actor José Ferrer (twice) and the couple had five children together including Miguel Ferrer, an actor you'd probably recognize from his roles on RoboCop, Twin Peaks, or NCIS: Los Angeles. While her brother Nick Clooney went on to become a journalist, host, and anchorman, his son George became a performer like his "Aunt Rosie."  


During her life, Rosemary published two different autobiographies, This for Remembrance: the Autobiography of Rosemary Clooney, an Irish-American Singer and Girl Singer: An Autobiography. She wrote about her mental breakdown following the assassination of close friend Robert F. Kennedy, her unhappy childhood, the ups and downs in her career, and her rise back to the top. 

Sadly, the beloved singer developed lung cancer after years of smoking and passed away in her Beverly Hills home in 2002. George was even a pallbearer at her funeral. Though many fans will remember her best for her role in the classic holiday film, her music career will always be historic. She won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 and even had her historic second home in Augusta, Kentucky transformed into a museum following her death. It includes memorabilia from throughout her legendary career.

Now Watch: 8 Things You Didn't Know About Graceland