Rose Marie was only 3 years old when a neighbor heard her singing and convinced her mother to enter her in a talent contest. She won first prize after singing "What Can I Say Dear, After I Say I'm Sorry." Her father, who was married but not to Rose Marie's mother, caught wind of her success and arranged to have her sing at a nightclub. Rose Marie was billed as "Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder" and soon became an NBC radio star.
Rose Marie went on to star in some of the earliest talking films, the first being a 1929 short titled simply "Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder." Later, the Bette Davis movie "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" was based on Rose Marie's early experiences as a child star. Rose Marie's performances were so sophisticated that many believed she was a little person masquerading as a child.
Rose Marie didn't enjoy the fruits of her success. Her father gambled away most of her earnings, including those from her first feature, 1933's "International House" with Bela Lugosi and Cab Calloway. By age 15, she retired to go to high school, but soon went back to performing as a night club headliner, mixing stand-up comedy with her music. She pretended to be a single girl on the hunt for a husband, but in actuality, she married Bobby Guy, a trumpeter for Louis Armstrong who eventually worked in Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show" band.
Rose Marie returned to the big screen for the film adaptation of "Top Banana," and went on to television roles in "My Sister Eileen" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show." When Guy died of an unknown illness in 1965, Rose Marie considered quitting "Dick Van Dyke," but instead opted to wear only mournful black on camera for the remaining seasons.
After "Dick Van Dyke" was canceled, Rose Marie became a familiar face on several game shows including "Hollywood Squares," "Password" and "I've Got a Secret." She continued to take guest-starring roles on television shows as recently as 2003. Rose Marie never remarried.