Ulster country singer Rose-Marie dies suddenly in Blackpool: 'Our hearts are heavy'

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The country singer Rose-Marie has died.

A message announcing the news was posted on her Facebook page a short time ago.

It said: “It is with heavy hearts & enormous great sadness, that we have to announce the sudden passing of our much loved Rose-Marie, in her beloved second home of Blackpool.

“Rest in Peace, dear heart.”

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Rose Marie, in an image from her Facebook page timestamped May 30 this yearRose Marie, in an image from her Facebook page timestamped May 30 this year
Rose Marie, in an image from her Facebook page timestamped May 30 this year

She grew up on a farm just outside Newry, studied acting in Los Angeles, and for several years lived in Las Vegas.

She has appeared on TV many times on shows including the hugely-popular Des O’Connor Show, and once said that playing the London Palladium was her biggest achievement (on one of those occasions, Princess Diana was in the audience).

It is understood she was aged in her late 60s.

In an interview with Robin Elliott on the community TV channel Northern Visions in 2020, she said Frank Carson (whom she met in pantomime) "financed my first record" – a song called "When I Leave the World Behind".

"I sang it on the Chaz and Dave show and got my first record deal," she said.

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"My sister and I used to have to milk the cows every day before we went to school," she said.

"So they would give better milk and wouldn't kick you if you sang them a wee song because the acoustics in what's called the byre made you sound good.

"I used to go 'ohhhhhh Danny Boyeeeee' as I was milking the cows, then dash off home, get my uniform on to go to school.

"That's how I was brought up.

"Four of us girls sang together in all talent competitions at senior citizens’ homes as well. My last name is Kane, so we sang as the Kane Sisters.

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"But I could never get them to rehearse. I used to take them up to the long mirror in my mother and father's bedroom... they'd start laughing and giggling and I thought: 'Oh no, I have to go solo.' I don't know how the Nolans did it."

She took up hairdressing in her early teens, but was a "frustrated singer" who always wanted to perform alone.

She went off to tour rough working men's clubs in England, and had to develop her "patter" to win the audiences over.

Then began to get some TV exposure such as the show Blankety Blank, and performed in musicals.

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She went to do acting classes in LA, meeting John Travolta among others, and in Vegas shared a stage with Tony Curtis.

"Everybody in America loves the Irish, so you’d play on that,” she said.

"The only thing is, they don’t always get the humour.”

Pronouncing Vegas “too hot” (in the literal sense), she did not stay.

Later in her life she moved to a seaside apartment in Blackpool, where she had been due to perform on the pier later this month.

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