I have loved the actress and entertainer Rose Marie for as long as I have had memory. I suppose I first saw her in the television program "The Dick Van Dyke Show," where she portrayed Sally Rogers. For me, she was the cynosure of the program, filling the screen with her vibrant, somewhat world-weary persona. For the remainder of her career, I have caught her every possible television appearance, until, in her last years, she portrayed to perfection the epitome of a cantankerous old lady.
Nearing the end of her long life, Jason Wise came to make a documentary of the star, "Wait for Your Laugh" (2017). It surpasses all expectations: When one thinks of trying to compress the life of such a performer, with one of the longest careers on record, involving so many disciplines, it is staggering that Mr Wise's achievement is so full, so complete. Indeed, it is as vital a force as Miss Rose Marie herself.
One of my favorite performances of the actress came in Gus Van Sant's controversial remake of "Psycho" (1998), in which she, unseen and uncredited, portrays Norma Bates. Unseen except that Mr Wise came across rare film of her performing in front of the microphone!
We hear of her career as a child star over radio, and as a young woman was given diamonds by no less than Al Capone. She was in no need of sociological movements to approve of her making her own way on the Broadway, the cinema, and television. The story of her marriage to a handsome trumpeter, who died too early, is very moving.
Also touching is the fact that she was able to see (and approve) this superb documentary before her death, when, strengthened by the sacraments of Holy Mother Church, Rose Marie went to her reward at the age of ninety-four.
I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of documentaries, and "Wait for Your Laugh" is one of the three or four finest in my experience.