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Rosemary Rice (1925 - 2012)

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Rosemary Rice
1925 - 2012
Born
May 3, 1925
Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey United States
Death
August 14, 2012
Stamford, Connecticut United States
Summary
Rosemary Rice was born on May 3, 1925 in Montclair, New Jersey United States. She died on August 14, 2012 in Stamford, Connecticut United States at age 87.
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Updated: February 11, 2021
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Introduction
Rosemary Rice (May 3, 1925 – August 14, 2012) was an American actress, singer, and voice-over artist. Rice was best known for her role as Katrin Hansen, the oldest daughter in the television series, Mama, which aired on CBS from 1949 to 1957. She provided the opening voice narration for Mama through her character. Personal life Rice was born to Albert and Laura (née Rogers) Rice in Montclair, New Jersey, on May 3, 1925. She married John B. Merrell, July 3, 1954; the couple had two children. Early career and Broadway Rice's acting career began during junior high student in Montclair, when she was cast in her first Broadway production, later attending New York's Professional Children's School. She appeared in twelve plays and musicals on Broadway. Her Broadway credits included the 1943 production of The Naked Genius, a play written by Gypsy Rose Lee, as well as Dear Ruth and Junior Miss. Rice's first radio appearance was on Grand Central Station. She enjoyed an active career in radio, appearing in mysteries, comedies and soap operas. Her best known role was as Betty Cooper in the Archie Andrews radio series. Other radio credits included Ma Perkins (as Laura), The Right to Happiness (as Susan Wakefield), CBS Radio Mystery Theater, NBC Playhouse, Calvacade of America, Playhouse 90, When a Girl Marries (as Kathy), My True Story, Westinghouse Studio One, Young Doctor Malone (as Jill), and Let's Pretend. In 1949, CBS debuted Mama, an early, live television series adapted from "Mama's Bank Account", a book written by Kathryn Forbes. The series, which was set in San Francisco, California, in the early 20th century, centered on the life of a Norwegian American family. The show, which aired from 1949 to 1957, was originally broadcast live from a television studio located above the Oyster Bar in Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal. Rice was cast as Katrin Hansen, the family's oldest daughter. Rice opened each episode by showing and narrating a family photo album with the television audience, always ending the scene with the phrase, "But most of all, I remember... Mama." Veteran actress Peggy Wood starred as her Katrin's mother, Marta Hansen. Judson Laire appeared as the father, Lars Hansen, while Dick Van Patten was cast as the younger brother, Nels, and Robin Morgan as the younger sister, Dagmar. Rice described the cast, which spent five days a week working together, as very close, explaining to the New York Times that she called Judson Laire "Papa" until he died in 1979. Mama was filmed using kinescopes. Rice kept some kinescopes from the production, though most of the machines have been destroyed or thrown away, along with many of the Mama episodes. In 1985, Rice donated her kinescopes to the Museum of Broadcasting, now called the Paley Center for Media, for exhibition of surviving Mama episodes. She appeared at Mama reunions and fan gatherings throughout her life. She continued to work in guest spots on series and television commercials. Additional television credits included roles or appearances on Kraft Television Theatre, The Mike Douglas Show, One Life to Live, Playhouse 90, Search for Tomorrow, The Edge of Night, and Dave Garroway. Children's music Additionally, Rice wrote, sung and narrated fifteen children's albums during her career. She released nine albums through Columbia Records and six albums on the RCA label. Rice won a Grammy Award for one of her albums from Columbia Records. Her album Learning America the Fun Way was part of Harmony Records' Hi-Fi Fun Series, which included coloring kits and cutouts with the recordings. Commercial work Rice also worked in several dozen radio and television commercials, both on camera and through voice-over work. She became a familiar voice to consumers of Clairol products by recording the ad slogan, "If I've only one life to live, let me live it as a blonde!" Her other campaigns included Johnson & Johnson. Her work in the advertising industry earned her three Clio Awards. She provided the voice for the Bell Telephone exhibit at the 1964 New York World's Fair in 1964 and 1965. Audio books Later in life, Rice recorded the books-on-tape narrations for Caedmon Audio. She provided the narration for more than twenty textbooks published by Allyn & Bacon of Boston. She narrated nine audio books for The American Girl Collection, a line of books which accompany the popular American Girl dolls. Awards In addition to the Grammy Award for her children's album and the three Clio Awards, Rice also won one Emmy Award and three Peabody Awards. Later life Rice was a longtime resident of New Canaan, Connecticut, before moving to nearby Stamford, where she died from a heart attack on August 14, 2012, aged 87. She was survived by her daughter, Mrs. Marcie Schonborn; her son, John Merrell, as well as a brother, Rogers, and three grandchildren.
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Rosemary Rice
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Rosemary Rice was born on in Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey United States
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Rosemary Rice died on in Stamford, Connecticut United States
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Additionally, Rice wrote, sung and narrated fifteen children's albums during her career. She released nine albums through Columbia Records and six albums on the RCA label. Rice won a Grammy Award for one of her albums from Columbia Records. Her album Learning America the Fun Way was part of Harmony Records' Hi-Fi Fun Series, which included coloring kits and cutouts with the recordings. Commercial work Rice also worked in several dozen radio and television commercials, both on camera and through voice-over work. She became a familiar voice to consumers of Clairol products by recording the ad slogan, "If I've only one life to live, let me live it as a blonde!" Her other campaigns included Johnson & Johnson. Her work in the advertising industry earned her three Clio Awards. She provided the voice for the Bell Telephone exhibit at the 1964 New York World's Fair in 1964 and 1965. Audio books Later in life, Rice recorded the books-on-tape narrations for Caedmon Audio. She provided the narration for more than twenty textbooks published by Allyn & Bacon of Boston. She narrated nine audio books for The American Girl Collection, a line of books which accompany the popular American Girl dolls. Awards In addition to the Grammy Award for her children's album and the three Clio Awards, Rice also won one Emmy Award and three Peabody Awards.

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Rosemary Rice, Oldest Daughter of TV’s ‘Mama,’ Dies at 87 By Daniel E. Slotnik Aug. 22, 2012 Rosemary Rice, an actress who found fame in the early days of television playing the perky oldest daughter, Katrin, on “Mama,” a beloved family show broadcast live on CBS for many years, died on Aug. 14 at her home in Stamford, Conn. The cause was a heart attack, her son, John Merrell, said. “Mama” was about the Hansens, a family of Norwegian immigrants facing the trials of life in San Francisco at the beginning of the 20th century. The series was based on the book, “Mama’s Bank Account,” by Kathryn Forbes, which was also adapted as a play, a radio show and a 1948 movie, “I Remember Mama,” starring Irene Dunne as Mama and Barbara Bel Geddes as Katrin. The television show was broadcast from 1949 to 1957, initially from a studio in Grand Central Terminal over the Oyster Bar. “ ‘Mama’ was very important as the precursor of the domestic comedies to come,” said Robert Batscha, president of the Museum of Broadcasting, in 1985, when the museum held an exhibition of some of the show’s surviving episodes. Ms. Rice’s flaxen good looks made her perfect for the wholesome but occasionally saucy Katrin. The show also starred Peggy Wood as the mother, Marta; Judson Laire as the father, Lars; Dick Van Patten as the brother, Nels; and Robin Morgan as the sister, Dagmar. Katrin began each episode by flipping through a photo album and reminiscing to the audience, ending with the phrase, “But most of all, I remember Mama.” “I literally grew up with the show,” Ms. Rice told The New York Times in 1985. “Since we spent five days a week together, we really were like a family. To the day he died I always called papa, ‘Papa.’ ” Rosemary Rice was born on May 3, 1925, in Montclair, N.J. She appeared in Broadway shows like Gypsy Rose Lee’s 1943 comedy, “The Naked Genius,” and on the radio in soap operas and mystery shows. She married John B. Merrell in 1954 and released a handful of children’s records on Columbia. She also appeared at gatherings of “Mama” fans for decades. “Mama” was recorded on kinescopes, most of which were later destroyed. But Ms. Rice kept several for herself and donated them to the broadcasting museum (now the Paley Center for Media) for the 1985 exhibition. Besides her son, Ms. Rice is survived by a daughter, Marcie Schonborn; a brother, Rogers; and three grandchildren.
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1925 - 2012 World Events

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In 1925, in the year that Rosemary Rice was born, in July, the Scopes Trial - often called the Scopes Monkey Trial - took place, prosecuting a substitute teacher for teaching evolution in school. Tennessee had enacted a law that said it was "unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school". William Jennings Bryan headed the prosecution and Clarence Darrow headed the defense. The teacher was found guilty and fined $100. An appeal to the Supreme Court of Tennessee upheld the law but overturned the guilty verdict.

In 1933, by the time she was merely 8 years old, on December 5th, the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. The 21st Amendment said "The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed." Alcohol was legal again! It was the only amendment to the Constitution approved for the explicit purpose of repealing a previously existing amendment. South Carolina was the only state to reject the Amendment.

In 1949, when she was 24 years old, on January 25th, the first Emmy Awards (for television) were handed out in Los Angeles. Shirley Dinsdale won for the Most Outstanding Television Personality and Pantomime Quiz Time earned an Emmy for the Most Popular Television Program.

In 1953, when she was 28 years old, on January 20th, Dwight D. Eisenhower became the 34th President of the United States. Formerly the 1st Supreme Allied Commander Europe in World War II, Eisenhower had never previously held a political office.

In 1978, by the time she was 53 years old, on November 18th, Jim Jones's Peoples Temple followers committed mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana - where they had moved, from San Francisco, as a group. Jones was the leader of the cult and ordered his followers to drink cyanide-laced punch, which they did. Whole families (women and children included) died - more than 900 people in all.

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