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Betty Clooney

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Betty Clooney

Post by Merlin on Sun Mar 20 2011, 22:09

I haven't read much about Betty.....came across this article on her from 1955.....

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HER LIFE IS A Song
Betty Clooney finds her place in the sun on the Robert Q. Lewis shows and it's all simply "wonderful!"
By Frances Kish - TV Radio Mirror, August 1955

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There's always been a special kind of radiance about those singing Clooney sisters, Rosemary and Betty. But there's a very special kind of radiance about Betty Clooney these days, now that she's singing on Robert Q. Lewis's lively shows over CBS-TV and CBS Radio. It puts a light in her big dark eyes, which seem more a Latin heritage than a gift from her Irish forebears (but sure and 'twas the Guilfoyles on her mother's side and the Clooney's on her dad's and what could be more Ould Sod than these?). It puts a gleam on the masses of thick, dark hair, and on the five feet, four inches and 110 pounds packed with energy.

"I'm happy," Betty says, as if that should explain everything. "Happier than I have ever been in my twenty-four years. Even though I am doing more than I ever did before. Working harder, crowding in more things, Doing the Robert Q. Lewis shows, playing club dates and ballroom engagements, doing telethons, benefits, anything required of me. But it's all fun. The whole thing is just--well, just great!"


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Robert Q. Lewis makes Betty an official member
of the Lewis Troupe--with a pair of "specs."


There's something else too. Several things, in fact. Things that have made Betty very happy. Like having a settled home, for the first time in years, and fairly settled hours of work. "I could never, until recently, say to my mother, 'Let's have dinner at 6 tonight., if you don't mind, and then I have a date.' I could never be sure of my schedule. Now I can be. My work had kept me on the move, or uncertain that I could keep any date I made, or follow through on any plan.

"If I met someone I thought I might like, I never had much chance to know him better. Just when I thought that might happen, I would have to leave. How can you be sure it's more than the usual friendship when you meet a person only a few times before you have to go off somewhere? You have to see that person with his friends, and with your friends sometimes--with his family and with yours--and you have to get to know his moods and the way he feels about things that are important to you. Now all this is changed. I'm finding happiness I didn't know existed for me."

If this sounds as though Rosemary Clooney's young sister ever felt underprivileged, it isn't so. Not al all. Betty still thinks she has had the most wonderful, the most exciting and adventurous life a girl could have.

"We just always loved to sing," Betty says. "My grandfather was Mayor of Maysville, Kentucky, for several terms, and Rosie and I always sang when he made his campaign speeches. Her special number was 'When Your Hair Has Turned to Silver.' She certainly could make it sound sad and beautiful, even then. I sang 'Home on the Range'--you can tell that Grandfather was a Democrat, because that was President Roosevelt's favorite song. After the meetings, we handed out pamphlets about Grandfather's candidacy. I might add that we were real little 'hams' then, and we loved every minute of it."

The Clooneys moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and the girls went on singing, for clubs such as Rotary, at school entertainments, at church affairs. Rosie was beginning to think big thoughts and to carry Betty along with her enthusiasm. One day, after school, Rosie put a choice up to her younger sister. "We have thirty cents between us Betts," she said. "Which would you rather do--go downtown to radio Station WLW and ask for an audition, or get a soda?"

Betty was immediately entranced with the idea of an audition, but Rosemary was beginning to waver. She really wanted that soda. So they flipped a coin. Betty won, and downtown they went, lugging their schoolbooks.

"When our names were called, we suddenly realized how scared we were. Even Rosie, on whom I counted for support. We sang one duet. They asked us to do another. Then the program director came out of the control room and said, if we would take some lessons in mike technique, he could use us later.

"We told Mother and she was willing to have us try. After two lessons, we got impatient and stopped. When we went back to tell the program director we were ready, he said we weren't--but he would take us, anyhow, and let us learn there."

Betty and Rosemary sang together after that for five years, two of them at the station. When Tony Pastor came to Cincinnati with his band, he heard the girls on radio and sent word that he could use one of them, but not both. They held out for two, or none. He hired them for the summer, and they stayed three years.

There came a time, however, when Betty began to grow tired of the life that had seemed so thrilling to a fifteen-year-old. Now she was eighteen, and Rosie was twenty-one. Their uncle, who now traveled with them most of the time, as their chaperon and manager, didn't like the idea of a girl of Betty's age having dates with men she met casually. It wasn't the same as letting her go out with the home-town boys whom everybody knew. betty understood his point of view, even while she resented it just a little, and she began to long for the life of a normal young girl, the circle of friends of both sexes, the parties, the dates, the fun.

"By the time, Rosie and I had learned so much about show business from Tony Pastor, to whom we will always be grateful. He had taught us that it never pays to get too impressed with yourself, in this or in any business, and that there just isn't any substitute for hard work. But I was getting a little tired of it all, and I wanted to go home.

"First I told Rosie, and then the others. She understood, and they did, too. She stayed out our two-weeks' notice, and I got on a train bound for Cincinnati."

Soon Rosemary had a call from New York, about a record contract. She signed with Columbia Records and began the career which zoomed so spectacularly with the release of her recording of "Come On-A My House." Betty stayed on in Cincinnati, happy to be home, relaxing for a while, until she got a call from a local TV station. She hadn't done any television up to then, but now she was beginning to sing alone and she thought she might just as well try a new medium and jump both hurdles at once. At first she was on five times a week, and finally it grew to sixteen. There were club engagements, and the usual benefits and personal appearances, and before long she was building a career of her own which promised to lead to big things.

Suddenly, Rosie--who was singing on television in New York--became ill. Betty was asked to substitute for her. She made several appearances--on Songs For Sale, on the Robert Q. Lewis shows, and some others. "It was the first time I had worked in Rosie's place, and at first people referred to me as 'Rosemary Clooney's sister.' Rosie was afraid I might be hurt by this. 'Betts,' she would try to explain to me, 'it's only because these people are my friends and they don't know you yet.' By the time they stopped calling me Rosie's sister and remembered I was Betty Clooney, no one was prouder of me than she was."

The affection of these two is well-known in show business, and it seemed completely fitting that they could record the song called "Sisters," for Columbia Records, Rosemary's label. Betty was on the West Coast, doing the Bing Crosby show--with Gary Crosby, who was subbing for his had--when the call came.

"We hadn't done a record together for five years," Betty recalls. "The only time we ever argue is when we work together, so naturally we started! Rosie had some ideas about harmony. I had some ideas about phrasing. We started to argue over them the minute we stepped into the studio, and we never stopped until we walked out of it! We got to the point where we were being very formal with each other--I called her Rosemary instead of Rosie and she began to say Betty Ann instead of Betts, just like she used to when we were kids and she was annoyed.

"When we got into the car to ride home together, we looked at each other and began to laugh. 'Betts,' she said. 'Rosie,' I answered. And we giggled all the way home. It was like old times. Now we have decided that it's a stimulating way to work, each goading the other to do her best. Rosie is really the most wonderful sister a girl could have, with not a trace of jealousy or meanness in her. I think she is a fine actress as well as singer, and I love seeing her in movies. As far as I'm concerned, she has just everything."

Betty herself has a brand-new recording contract, with RCA Victor X label--a new one--for which she has already done "Si Si Senor," "Ko Ko Mo," and "Only Forever" (that last one a sentimental song quite in keeping with her present mood!). The youngest Clooney sister--ten-year-old Gail Ann-is following her big sisters' example and starting with children's recordings for Columbia. (Their brother, now in the Army, has a fine voice but doesn't expect to use it professionally, at least not as of now.) Gail Ann lived in Hollywood with Rosemary and her husband, Jose Ferrer, to keep Rosemary company before the arrival of her baby.

Recently, Betty flew out to Hollywood for a quick trip to see Rosie and the gang and hear the newest voice in the family--baby Miguel's. "I'm so happy for Rosie," she said. "I'm happy for every girl who marries the man she loves and has a family. That's every girl's dream, isn't it?

"Yes," she admitted, "there's someone I am very fond of." (The glow at this point became fairly dazzling!) "We're not ready to talk about it yet, but it has happened at last, to me. I have had a chance to see him with his friends, and with mine. TO have him as a guest in my home many times. To learn what things he thinks are important, and to tell him what things are important to me. Just as I always dreamed of doing when I was on the road."

In the meantime, Betty loves the little apartment in New York, near the CBS studio, where she and her mother keep house. ("My mother is really indispensable. She takes my telephone calls, keeps the house, and my whole life running smoothly.") Betty loves the dinners at home, instead of dining in restaurants and hotels all the time. She loves sitting around, watching TV, listening to radio.


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Betty at home with her ever-helpful mother


She has a small but flourishing horse-breeding business now, down in the old hometown of Maysville. Her manager-uncle helped her decide on it. "You love horses," he said, "So it would be something you could put your heart into." Betty has, and there have been profits so far in both money ( a modest sum ) and enjoyment. Right now, under her uncle's management, they have three two-year-olds, four brood mares, one stallion, and three yearlings. "This year we will have three horses running--because it seems, this time, that our three little ones can be better used as racers--but mostly we're a breeding farm," Betty explains.

Enthusiastic as she is about her "breeding farm," Betty is still more excited about her current singing assignments. She loves meeting people and hearing what they like about the Robert Q. Lewis shows, why they're happier for watching and listening to Bob and his talented troupe. "It's wonderful to have a small part in all this," she breathes. "In fact, everything in my life is wonderful right now!"

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by melbert on Sun Mar 20 2011, 22:34

Merlin - wonderful find! Thanks!

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by Dexterdidit on Sun Mar 20 2011, 23:15

That is the first time I have seen that. Nice to hear from Betty! She was so close to her family and was lucky enough to marry and have kids herself. They sure do look alike it took me a couple of seconds to work out it was Betty not Rosemary.

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by Sabby on Mon Mar 21 2011, 02:00

So is that George's grandma with Betty?

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by lucy on Mon Mar 21 2011, 03:29

Betty and Rosemary, could of been twins.So this is the Betty that sang sisters with Rosemary, I have wondered about that for a few years,thanks Merlin.

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by Merlin on Mon Mar 21 2011, 07:03

Yes Sabby....Nick's Mum.....Nick, .Betty and Rosemary seems to take after her in looks....

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by Merlin on Fri Aug 19 2011, 07:17

Video of Betty...she looks so much like Nick....

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Rosemary and Betty

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Rosemary and Gail

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by pattygirl on Fri Aug 19 2011, 14:48


great stuff Merlin.. I know I'm dating myself, but I remember watching Betty on TV back then, Rosemary too. Always loved them both. They had great voices and their songs had a great sound.

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by it's me on Fri Aug 19 2011, 17:16

Very Happy

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by Atalante on Fri Aug 19 2011, 21:46

Singing about Sunday School and the church, gosh ! lol!

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 19 2011, 22:44

pattygirl wrote:
I know I'm dating myself

Hummmm... what's that like PattyGirl?

And as for Betty singing, love her choices in music! Great voice!

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by pattygirl on Fri Aug 19 2011, 23:53

Cinderella wrote:
pattygirl wrote:
I know I'm dating myself

Hummmm... what's that like PattyGirl?

And as for Betty singing, love her choices in music! Great voice!

Not much fun, Cindy. Costs me lots, can't even go dutch treat!

Most singers back in the 40's & 50's had great voices. Very Happy

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by it's me on Fri Aug 19 2011, 23:57

yes
greatgreatgreat voices

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by playfuldeb on Sun Aug 21 2011, 07:53

The author did a good job of writing that article. It's almost as if you can hear Betty speaking right off the page!

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by pattygirl on Sun Aug 21 2011, 14:38

You said it. It must be wonderful to interview people like Betty.

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by hathaross on Fri Aug 26 2011, 14:05

Thanks for that Merlin. Great stuff.

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Betty Clooney

Post by party animal - not! on Mon Jul 14 2014, 01:52

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An article about His Nibs' other aunt

Reminded me a bit of somebody else..........



FORGOTTEN ONES: BETTY CLOONEY

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Rosemary Clooney was one of the most adored vocalists of the 20th century, and her brother Nick Clooney is a famous broadcaster and the father of actor George Clooney. Many people forget though that there was another sibling who started out in the big bands with Rosemary. Unfortunately, she died young and in the shadows of her famous sister, but Betty Clooney deserves to be remembered.

Betty Clooney was born in April of 1931 in Maysville, Kentucky. She and her older (by three years) Rosemary, loved to sing as kids and became an important part of their grandfather's political campaigns for mayor of their hometown. Soon the Clooney family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where the girls continued to vocalize. In their teens they went to radio station WLW for an audition and were successful where they remained on the staff of the station for two years in 1945 and 46. One day they were heard by bandleader Tony Pastor. The bandleader originally hesitated on hiring both sisters, but soon relented and so The Clooney Sisters hit the road with the Pastor band. They appeared in a movie short with the Pastor Orchestra in 1947. The Clooney Sisters recorded a number of songs for Columbia with the Tony Pastor Band like "The Secretary Song", "I'm My Own Grandpa" and "If I Had A Million Dollars".

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After three years of this, Betty decided to return home to Cincinnati while Rosie got a call from New York to do a recording session with Columbia Records. Rosie hit the big time nationally with her first record "Come On-A My House" while Betty concentrated on local jobs near home. She was the vocalist on Ruth Lyons "50-50 Club" and had her own shows called "Teen Canteen" and "Boy Meets Girl". Soon she had a number of national network television offers-at first with Robert Q. Lewis on CBS radio and television, and "Van Camp's Little Show". Then, subbing for her sister on "Songs For Sale" with Steve Allen, and then the "Morning Show" with Jack Paar for CBS. Betty Clooney made some recordings for the Cincinnati based King Records label who usually concentrated on R & B and country music. Memorable recordings included "Anyone Can Fall In Love" and "Faithful". Betty also recorded for RCA's subsidiary label "X".

Betty Clooney performed at the Starlight Roof of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in the earky fifties and had a regular spot on the Gary Moore television show for CBS. She met and later married Pupi Campo, bandleader on CBS television in the early fifties. In her spare time away from music she began a horse breeding farm back in Kentucky. In the mid nineteen fifties Betty recorded for Coral Records a subsidiary label of Decca Records. The two Clooney Sisters also made a couple of recordings for Columbia with "I Still Feel The Same About You", and their best known tune "Sisters" on in 1954. She appeared with sister Rosemary on the Lux Variety Show in 1957.

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Soon after during the later nineteen fifties Betty Clooney called it a singing career and concentrated on raising a family and tending to her four children. She returned to daytime television for a time in the early sixties on NBC's Today Show with John Chancellor and Hugh Downs. After a number of years out of the spotlight, Betty and Rosemary made a few guest appearances on brother Nick Clooney's television variety show on Cincinnati television. There was talk of a reunion tour with the Clooney Sisters, but that was never to be as Betty Clooney passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage in July of 1976. She was only 45 years old. In her memory Rosemary and Nick Clooney established the Betty Clooney Foundation in 1983 and the Betty Clooney Center in Long Beach, California, which opened in 1988. Both are dedicated to treatment for traumatic brain injuries.

Unfortunately, there is not much available for the listener to enjoy the musical memories of Betty Clooney. However, there is one CD called "Sisters" from England on the Sepia label, which features Betty on 14 tracks (less on the U.S. version) plus a live performance by Rosemary at the London Palladium in 1955. You will get to hear Betty on her own and in a couple of duets with Bill Darnell. Right now it is the only source readily available.

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Betty Clooney will always remain in the shadow of her more recognized sister in the history of American pop music. Betty was married to one person her whole life, Cuban band leader Pupi Campo, and they had four successful children together. If a music listener discovers the music of Betty Clooney, they will find someone more than just Rosemary's sister, because Betty was a competent and excellent singer in her own way...


Last edited by theminis on Mon Jul 14 2014, 02:03; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added text)

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by melbert on Mon Jul 14 2014, 02:42

beautiful voice!





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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by LizzyNY on Mon Jul 14 2014, 14:02

PAN - Thanks for the find. I hate to say it, but I remember hearing "A Guy Is A Guy" when I was a little kid. Cute song. It's amazing how much popular music has changed.

Sad that she died so young. She was a very talented singer and deserves to be remembered.

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by party animal - not! on Mon Jul 14 2014, 14:09

Facial similarities to Amal? (Can't speak for her voice!!)

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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by Joanna on Mon Jul 14 2014, 15:33

party animal - not! wrote:Facial similarities to Amal? (Can't speak for her voice!!)


Hmmmm......something about the eyes ?
I'd love to know if her brother Nick has
observed any similarities !

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Aunt Betty

Post by party animal - not! on Sun Nov 23 2014, 14:54

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See a likeness to anybody?


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Re: Betty Clooney

Post by Nicky80 on Sun Nov 23 2014, 15:06

Merged threads

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Re: Betty Clooney

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