In truth, though, Clooney, who was 74 when she died of lung cancer June 29, lived through a harrowing, humbling Hollywood nightmare. In the 1960s she fell apart after divorcing the womanizing Ferrer. Strung out on tranquilizers, shattered after witnessing the assassination of her friend Robert Kennedy, she spent a month in a psychiatric ward in 1968. After that, her stock was so low she performed at Holiday Inns.
Yet the Maysville, Ky., native didn't sing the blues: Over the past 20 years Clooney reemerged as a critically revered jazz singer. In February she was awarded a lifetime-achievement Grammy. But she was already too ill to attend the show. She spent her last days at her Beverly Hills home with second husband Dante DiPaolo, 76, the longtime companion she wed in 1997, her children and 10 grandkids. Her mood was up, says daughter Maria Ferrer Murdock, and jokes flowed. "That's one thing people didn't know about my sister—she was funny," says brother Nick Clooney, 67, the former AMC host and George's father. "I'm going to miss her laughter. And everyone will miss her voice."
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