Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rosemary Rice 1925 - 2012

Old Time Radio has lost another icon. Rosemary Rice passed away on Tuesday, August 14, 2012. She was a resident of Stamford, Connecticut at the time of her passing and was preceded in death by her husband John. A Memorial Service will be held at the Congregational Church of New Canaan, 23 Park Street , New Canaan , CT on September 8, 2012 at 10:00 AM . In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Paley Center for Media, 22 West 52nd Street , NY , NY 10019.
Rosemary Rice was born on May 3, 1925. She was a busy radio actress during the 1940s and 1950s and was heard on such radio programs as Studio One, Suspense, X-Minus One, The Cavalcade of America, When a Girl Marries, Johnny Dollar and Archie Andrews (as Betty). During the 1970s, she was a regular performer on Himan Brown’s CBS Radio Mystery Theater and had numerous successful children’s recordings to her credit. We first met Rosemary Rice when she came out to Seattle in 2005 to be a part of the REPS Showcase. She had such a great time that she returned to each subsequent Showcase thereafter and even came to a Radio Memories event in 2006. Rosemary was always excited to participate. "I Love REPS" she always reminded us and she definitely loved radio. She was also very proud of the TV series I Remember Mama, a program that she appeared in for over 8 years. Rosemary would take the best TV scripts from Mama and adapt them into live radio shows at the REPS Showcase conventions. The radio adaptions were top notch and treasured by the REPS audience. Ilona Herlinger was perfectly cast in the title role of Mama in every REPS production and Rosemary would not give the go ahead to produce a Mama script until she was assured that Mrs. Herlinger would be there to play Mama. "Doing it right" was very important to Rosemary. She was a perfectionist and would not do anything to undermine the integrity of the Mama name. This quality brought something special to each REPS Showcase and made Rosemary a big hit among the fans. With her flair for drama, Rosemary would also produce other dramatic radio re-creations at the REPS Showcase including A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in 2010 and a big musical production of Meet Me in St. Louis in 2011. In 2011, I recall talking with Rosemary at the beginning of the year to discuss the Meet Me in St. Louis project. She was very excited about it. She went over the script carefully and edited it down to just the way she liked it. Then it was time to cast the show and go over the music. It was obvious that this was Rosemary's passion -- something she lived for. She was very serious at rehearsals and perhaps intense. These productions were important to her. She watched each step of production closely right up to show time. Meet Me in St. Louis was performed live Saturday afternoon and it was an outstanding show. The audience loved it! When it was all over, there was no doubt that Rosemary was happy with how it all had come off. As she left the stage and mingled with the audience, she was smiling from ear to ear. She already wanted to start planning for next year and discussed briefly some ideas that she wanted to try in 2012. Unfortunately, Rosemary became ill and 2011 was the last time she was able to make it out to the REPS Showcase. We will miss her. Each and every day since her passing she is in our thoughts. We are certain that somewhere out there in the ether that a tree grows in heaven.

From Larry Albert
[Star of The Adventures of Harry Nile and The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes]:
Rosie died after a long illness. Her daughter told me that she had a nice day visiting with friends and having a glass of sherry. Those of us who remember the 50s will perhaps recall Rosie as the oldest daughter on the TV series Mama better known as I Remember Mama. My favorite memories of her will be the Harry Nile adventures that we recorded over a period of six summers. Working opposite the mic from her was always a joy. Her humor, talent, warmth and professionalism always made these sessions a high point of the year for me. Rosemary Rice was a kind artist that make it a pleasure to be in her presence and the type of person that makes living worthwhile.

Ilona Herlinger
I was deeply saddened to hear of the news of Rosemary's passing. Rosemary and I shared four consecutive seasons on the radio stage of Seattle REPS - - three different versions of I Remember Mama, and finally A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

She was a consummate actress/director, and a supportive colleague in all ways. It was a pleasure and a great privilege to work with her.
We had looked forward to more such times in the future (especially the Christmas story: The Night the Animals Talked but we thought it might be "next time."

She had many other projects in mind -- a youthful and vibrant spirit all through her life, May she rest in peace!

One more personal note/recollection: Rosemary and I lost our husbands within the same short time span in early 2010, and we shared many of our feelings and emotions about our mutual grief at that time during "off-stage" moments. It brought us together more than just colleagues but as friends.

I was gratified to know that her passing was relatively swift and painless at the end of a day that had been bright and happy.

I hope we'll all be so lucky some day. . .
My heartfelt condolences to all of you.


Ilona Herlinger
(a.k.a. "Mama")

Rosemary Rice 1925-2012

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