A Look Back At George Clooney's Bond With His Famous Aunt Rosemary

George Clooney might be one of the most famous men alive, but he's not the only famous person in his family. His aunt is the late great Rosemary Clooney, who most famously starred in the 1954 holiday classic "White Christmas." She was also a renowned singer with hits like "Come on-a My House" and "Mambo Italiano," and she was awarded the Grammy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

The sister of George's dad Nick, Rosemary had a special relationship with her nephew. When he arrived in Los Angeles from Kentucky to pursue acting, he stayed with his aunt. Before becoming a Hollywood icon, though, he served as a chauffeur for her and her singing friends, ushering them to and from gigs. "I miss her," George confessed on Stars in the House after her death in 2002. "She was the fun one in the family."

Having grown up listening to his aunt's music, the two-time Academy Award winner has always held a special place in his heart for Rosemary and her music. "She was something to see," he once said about her live performances. He's also spoken multiple times about how she helped him with his career, by example of her own.

He learned about fame from his aunt

George Clooney has shared that it was his aunt, Rosemary Clooney, who taught him how to handle fame and its fleeting grasp. After having success in the '50s, the singer's career faltered, and she went through a tough time. "I had the great vision of watching, especially with Rosemary, how big you can get and how quickly it can be taken away," he explained to NPR. "And it's not like Rosemary became less of a singer in that period of time, which showed me that it has very little to do with you."

Rosemary eventually settled back into her career, and she even made several appearances on the television show "ER," for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy. While George made his first claim to fame on the series, it wasn't nepotism that led to his aunt's role; it was just someone in charge who was a fan — though George later admitted he wished he could take credit for her guest-starring roles.

He also attributes a motto that the one-time tequila entrepreneur has lived by to his aunt. "The best piece of advice I ever received was from my Aunt Rosemary," he revealed to W Magazine. "She said never mix grain and grape. No wine and like, tequila. I was seven."

George continues to honor and remember Rosemary

When Rosemary Clooney died in June 2002, her nephew George Clooney served as one of the pallbearers at her funeral. The movie, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," for which he served as both director and actor, was released six months later in December. It included one of Rosemary's songs, "There's No Business Like Show Business." At the time the scene was filmed, Rosemary was still alive and well, and George had picked the song solely for its fit in the movie — though it later turned out to be a wonderful tribute. "She passed away afterwards and it's a great thing to be able to do this for her, because she was such a huge part of my life," he told Daily Mail.

George hasn't stopped including his beloved aunt in his work, and in 2019, several of her songs appeared in the Hulu series "Catch-22" which the actor starred in and executive-produced. 

She's also been a part of his personal life, and factored into at least one key moment: his proposal to now-wife Amal. Setting the stage, George created a playlist that included several of Rosemary's songs, including "Why Shouldn't I?" During dinner, he popped the question during the romantic song about taking a chance on love.