Born Joseph Yule Jr., Mickey Rooney was a lovable child star whose career spanned almost his entire life. Rooney passed away on April 6th, 2014 at the age of 93. His 80 year career included silent movies, television, broadways, musicals and Shakespeare. Rooney was an activist, a lover of life and the bearer of incredible wit. Rooney, married several times, leaves behind his wife Jan Chamberlain, as well as eight surviving children, two stepchildren, nineteen grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
Born in Brooklyn, NY to parents Joe and Nellie, Rooney was born into show business. At the age of 14 months he had already graced the vaudeville stage and by 17 months of age, he was taking part in his parent’s stage act. Rooney and his family moved several times before finally finding themselves in Hollywood, California. Here Rooney, by the age of 5, began landing bit parts in various films. His big break came with the starring role as Mickey McGuire which he landed at the age of 7.
His run as Mickey McGuire would go for 9 years at which point he landed his next big break, Andy Hardy in A Family Affair. He starred alongside Judy Garland for whom there would always remain a special bond, he won a Juvenile Academy Award in 1939, starred in many television shows, co-hosted gala’s and directed features. From this point on though, Rooney’s career never had the same momentum. Unfortunately, a 5 foot 3” aging Rooney began to run into difficulties.
By the 1950’s and 60’s his career was slumping and money was running out. Rooney was a schemer and was always trying new ventures. Unfortunately very few panned out. Novels, Plays, Broadway musicals and a school for talented youngsters were but a few of his failed projects. Arguably one of the hardest moments in Rooney’s life was the death of his wife Barbara Ann Thompson. Thompson was found dead in Rooney’s bed next to her lover Milos Milos, Rooney’s best friend, in what was ruled a murder-suicide.
Mickey Rooney was married 8 times, had 9 children and 19 grandchildren. Rooney himself once joked “I’m the only man in the world with a marriage licence made out to whom it may concern”. Some marriages lasted for years, others for days. The murder of his wife Barbara Ann Thompson was probably one of the hardest moments in Rooney’s life and it resulted in future failed marriages, drug and alcohol abuse. It also resulted in a religious awakening for Rooney who facing many difficulties including a bankruptcy, had a revelation at a casino coffee shop in 1975 and joined the Christian Science movement.
Rooney was more than an actor. He was an activist for animal rights, an activist against elder abuse(of which he himself fell victim to), a businessman and a kindhearted spirit. He will always be remembered for his sense of humor, his wit and talent and will be dearly missed by all. His impact on Hollywood was a big as his heart. Rooney died quietly at his home in California surrounded by family on April 6th, 2014.
For pictures, videos and Mickey Rooney’s milestones, check out his profile on Qeepr.com: http://www.qeepr.com/profile/MickeyRooney/