Rosemary Clooney, at 70, is engaged

GOOD MORNING: Rosemary Clooney and Dante Di Paolo are engaged. “It’s about time!” says Rosie. Their story reads like an old-time movie musical. The two first met at Par in 1954 when she was starring in “Red Garters.” Choreographer Nick Castle, exasperated trying to teach Clooney to dance, sent her to the studio dance bungalow to learn to hoof from professional dancer Di Paolo. They dated steadily — until dance jobs took him to MGM (“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”) and on to Las Vegas. Clooney married Jose Ferrer And Di Paolo, a showgirl. Ferrer died (after he and Rosie had five children) and Di Paolo divorced. In 1973, Rosie and Dante resumed and have been living together ever since. Last week, when in Clooney’s hometown of Maysville, Kent., visiting family, Clooney and Di Paolo were buying a ring for her granddaughter when Di Paolo bought a diamond and emerald one for Rosemary. That night at the home of her brother, Nick, and his wife, Nina Clooney (George C.’s parents), Dante said, “Don’t you think it should be an engagement ring?” The answer was yes and they are getting married — in Maysville at St. Patrick’s church, where Rosie was baptized. The date will be after she completes her stand at N.Y.’s Rainbow and Stars (her second there this year!). Busy Rosemary, who will be 70 on her next birthday (Dante’s two years older), says, “Like George Burns said, I can’t die — I’m booked.” She records her next album with the Count Basie band. And her CD, “Mothers & Daughters” (Concord Jazz) continues in the jazz top 20 — for six months.

ADD WEDDING BELLS: Melissa Sherak, daughter of Madeleine and Tom Sherak, will wed Brett Resnick, Aug. 31 at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey. The bride is getting her Masters at UCLA, he’s handling Denver/Salt Lake sales for 20th. Tom Sherak once again serves as dinner chair for the Multiple Sclerosis Dinner of Champions, Sept. 15 at the Century Plaza. (Melissa has M.S.). Honoree of the Champions dinner is Peter Chernin, prez and COO News Corp. and chairman/CEO of the Fox Group — the award will be presented by Rupert Murdoch. Byron Allen emcees and Hanson and Gladys Knight entertain. … Fox and Par are jubilant after Sunday’s third (recruited) preview of “Titanic” at Anaheim Hills. The audience cheered when the title came on screen (the sneak was not known in advance) and cards praised not only the technical aspects (of the $185 million pic) but also the tender romance of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. The pic bows in the U.S. Dec. 19 (for Par) and in England and Japan at the same time (for 20th). Fox follows on the 31st with “Great Expectations” to qualify for Oscar nominations — specifically for Anne Bancroft. And Fox precedes Nov. 21 with “Anastasia”. … Second generation: Tony Goldwyn, in Montreal, debut-directing “The Blouse Man” for Dustin Hoffman’s Punch Prods. and Village Roadshow Pix., sez he neither pitched the pic to his dad’s banner or to his brother John at Par. The Catskills-set romantic comedy-drama is scripted by Pamela Gray who won the UCLA-Samuel Goldwyn screenwriting award. She and Tony pursued the project to its current go-ahead. Tony, who has many acting roles to his credit, says he didn’t want to “be an actor for hire any more” and got the encouragement from his father who advised him to direct. Ditto his brother. At least on this project. … And actress Tane McClure, daughter of the late thesp Doug McClure is exec producing her first film, “Trance.” She co-stars and co-wrote with Gary Oros, who also directs. They are shooting in Death Valley (in August!) in the 120-year-old Amargosa Hotel. Lamar Jackson, who also exec produces, was a close friend of Doug’s and Tane tells me they were starting a production company when McClure, pere, died. Bob McCarthy who is doing special effects, also worked with Doug as did many in the company, says Tane, exuberant about the magic she and the troupe are weaving to continue the McClure name. … Film editor John Rosenberg, who also teaches post at UCLA, addresses the student body Saturday during the Bruins’ Career Day.

WHAT ABOUT BIKINIS in the swimsuit competition of Miss America? “I’m for it,” says one of the judges — “Entertainment Tonight’s” weekend anchor, Julie Moran. “It will give the girls a chance to be themselves.” Moran was an “American Junior Miss” winner in 1980 . There was no swimsuit competition there. But Julie could probably be a winner in one today. … Add fashion notes: Emporio Armani bows its new, two-level store in Caesars Palace Las Vegas Forum Aug. 29 with the fashion show topped by a performance by Savion Glover on a special stage in the store. … On hand for the Rodeo Drive gala bow of Hermes, Sept. 16 will be Chairman Jean-Louis Dumas-Hermes and — Robert Altman as the event honors the Film Foundation with a seven-minute film, “Horses in Hollywood” screened on the store’s facade. Hermes first gained its reputation as a saddler. … Nicky Blair is at Cedars-Sinai undergoing radiation for a tumor in his back.

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