Behind the scenes with Rose Marie

Whether she was delivering hilarious banter in buddy comedy or punchy one-liners on her own, Rose Marie was a dynamic presence on the screen and her very full TV resume proves it. 

But as interesting as the characters she played were, Rose Marie herself was quite an exquisite person with a memory for details. Check out some fun highlights from her career.

1. Gunsmoke - “Twelfth Night” (1957)


Rose Marie’s first television guest appearance was on this Western staple, but she never expected to get the part.

The role was written as a 60 year old woman, and Rose Marie was only 34 at the time. So she camped up her audition just to have fun, and to her surprise, they liked it.

Oddly enough, Rose Marie wasn’t aged with make-up for the part, but one change she did make was cutting her nails since an Old West gal cutting wood probably wouldn’t have a manicure.

2. Love That Bob (1958-1959)


Rose Marie’s first series role came about thanks to writer Dick Wesson, who wrote the part of Martha with her in mind.

Despite being a newbie on the show, Rose Marie felt welcomed by the cast, especially Bob Cummings. He taught her not to “Mickey Mouse” – or in other words, play the part for television without the dramatics of live theater.

3. The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966)


Before her TV career took off, Rose Marie rubbed shoulders with other comical greats, including Danny Thomas (whose wife also happened to be named Rose Marie).

When Thomas got his own television show, Rose Marie asked to be on it. So when her connection got her a call to read for a different show called The Dick Van Dyke Show, she quipped, “What’s a Dick Van Dyke?”

Executive Producer Sheldon Leonard told series creator Carl Reiner that Rose Marie was the best person for the part of Sally Rogers. After the series ended, Reiner sent a telegram to her that said, “Sheldon was right.”

Image: Paul Brownstein Productions

4. The Doris Day Show (1969-1971)


Rose Marie was initially unsure about joining the cast, especially since Doris Day had also recently lost her husband. However, the girls quickly bonded and became close friends.

In fact, they would continue to kid around even after the director called, “Cut!” Sometimes their ad-libs even remained in the episode.

The only thing Rose Marie disliked – the early call time. Doris Day was a morning person. So she would often trade call times with other actors to come in later.

5. The Hollywood Squares (1965-1980)


Rose Marie’s quick wit and charming persona made her perfect for this popular game show. In fact, she was involved with the project before Peter Marshall became the official host after two unsatisfactory test pilots with Bert Parks and Sandy Baron.

The panelists normally taped five episodes in one day and took a break between episodes to change their clothes. Since the audience couldn’t see their legs, sometimes Rose Marie wore old jeans in order to be comfortable.

Image: King World

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