Rose Marie chafed at being a supporting player in the shadow of Mary Tyler Moore's fetching suburban housewife on "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

But it was as feisty comedy writer Sally Rogers that Marie stretched the narrow confines of how women were portrayed on TV in the mid-20th century. Sally was an independent single woman who handled her job as adroitly as her male colleagues and who dated but refused to pine away for romance.

Rose Marie, who died Thursday at 94, was proud to have created a woman defined by her work, a rare sitcom character at the time who wasn't "a wife, mother, or housekeeper," she tweeted in 2017.

It represented one milestone in an extraordinary acting and singing career that started when she was a toddler, stretched over nearly a century and included success in theater, radio, nightclubs, movies and TV.

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"There's never been a more engaging & multi-talented performer .... & always had audiences clamoring for more!!" Carl Reiner, creator of "The Dick Van Dyke Show," posted Thursday on Twitter.

Rose Marie had been resting in bed at her Los Angeles-area home when a caretaker found she had stopped breathing, said family spokesman Harlan Boll. The cause of death wasn't immediately disclosed.

"Heaven just got a whole lot funnier" read the tribute posted atop a photo of Rose Marie on her website.

The subject of the 2017 documentary "Wait for Your Laugh," Rose Marie often claimed she had the longest career in entertainment history. It spanned some 90 years, with co-stars ranging from W.C. Fields (in the 1933 movie "International House") to Garfield the cat.

Rose Marie is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Steven Rodrigues.


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