Rose Marie, the legendary actress best known for her role as comedy writer Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show, has died at age 94. Rose Marie died at her home in Van Nuys, California, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In a career that spanned nine decades, Rose Marie started out as a child performer in 1926, billed as Baby Rose Marie. The Hollywood veteran later appeared alongside Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Morey Amsterdam, and series creator Carl Reiner for five seasons of The Dick Van Dyke Show, receiving three Emmy nominations for her work on the 1960s CBS comedy. In what was an unheard of deal in TV’s early days, Rose Marie and co-star Morey Amsterdam received the same salary on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
“I think everybody decided I was the first women’s libber because of that show,” Rose Marie told Variety last month.
“I’ve had many girls tell me, ‘Because of you, I became a writer. You gave me the inspiration.’ And I’m very proud of that.”
Rose Marie’s other notable TV roles included a stint as secretary Myrna Gibbons on The Doris Day Show and sandwich delivery lady, Hilda, on the 1970s police drama, S.W.A.T. Rose Marie was also a fixture on the TV game show The Hollywood Squares for 14 years.
Rose Marie maintained a long friendship with Dick Van Dyke Show creator Carol Reiner. In 2016, Rose Marie told Smashing Interviews she didn’t even have to audition for her role on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
“I got called in to meet with Sheldon Leonard, Carl Reiner and Danny Thomas,” Rose Marie said.
“There was never any audition. They said if I wanted the role, I could have it. Needless to say, I took it. Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner were two of the most talented people in the business, a pleasure to be around and work with.”
After Rose Marie’s death was announced, Carl Reiner was one of the first Hollywood stars to pay tribute to her. Reiner took to social media to remember Rose Marie as a multi-talented performer who worked everything from vaudeville to Vegas. In addition to Carl Reiner, many other celebrities paid tribute to Rose Marie, including fellow comedians Caroline Rhea and Paula Poundstone, Star Wars legend Mark Hamill, and Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick, who shot a TV pilot with Rose Marie in 1979.
In November, a documentary about Rose Marie’s iconic career, Wait for Your Laugh, was released. And just three weeks before her death, Rose Marie penned a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter in which she revealed that she had one experience with sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and that she shut her harasser down on the spot.
“It occurred when I was about to wrap filming on the 1954 musical Top Banana,” Rose Marie wrote. “The producer of the film came up to me after I’d run through the song called ‘I Fought Every Step of the Way,’ which had boxing references, and said that he could show me a few positions. He wasn’t referring to boxing. I laughed it off, but he said he was serious and that the picture could be mine. “
Rose Marie went on to reveal that she told the producer off in front of everyone and, as a result, all her musical numbers were cut from the film.
“I had no idea that his reaction to my refusal would be so bad,” Rose Marie admitted. “Nothing like that ever happened again — maybe because of how self-assured I was or because of how I played things off with my comedy.”
You can see Rose Marie on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the video below.