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Milwaukee Talks: Rosemary Gernette

In the '70s and '80s, Milwaukeeans said the names "Howard and Rosemary" as if it they were one. And the couple, who were married very young and parented eight children, were indeed a unit, both on and off the small screen.

The inseparable lovebirds co-hosted "Dialing for Dollars," a local talk show that received record-breaking ratings and launched the couple into local fame within weeks of the first program.

To this day, Howard and Rosemary Gernette are one of Milwaukee's most famous married couples. Sadly, Howard passed away six years ago, leaving Rosemary to cope with the devastation of being alone.

Although the two grew up in Waupaca, and later moved back to their hometown after the show ended, they were always smitten with Brew City.

"Howard and I fell in love with Milwaukee the moment we got here," says Gernetzke.

This is a very special segment of Milwaukee Talks, the first interview to bring the still-familiar face of Rosemary Gernette back into the limelight after six years of living without her other half. Somehow, she still has a sense of humor.

OMC: Why did you change your television name from "Gernetzke" to "Gernette?"

Rosemary Gernetzke: Our general manager decided that was the way he wanted it. He later admitted it was a dumb idea, but it was too late. It was always very confusing to us; with Milwaukee being so ethnic, we thought it was stupid.

I later did (television) commercials for a chain of grocery stores, but was forced to go by "Rosemary Ross" because the commercials ran on all of the stations, not just our channel (channel 12).

This confused a lot of people. Howard once got a letter from a woman who thought that "Rosemary Ross" and "Rosemary Gernette" were two different people, and that Howard was carrying on with both of them. She said, "How can you carry on with that blond when your wife is at home with your eight children?"

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