Mickey Rooney dead at 93 Hollywood legend enjoyed decades of success
Rooney, who was famously married eight times, died Sunday from natural causes.
The actor had been ill in recent months and was the victim of elder abuse at the hands of his stepchildren.
Despite his poor health, Rooney had been working on a film titled “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
In an acting career that spanned over eight decades, Rooney appeared in more than 200 films and countless TV shows. Laurence Olivier once called the 5-foot-3 Rooney, “The greatest actor of them all.”
“When I open a refrigerator door and the light goes on, I want to perform,” Rooney often quipped about his life-long passion for acting.
Born Joseph Yule Jr. in Brooklyn on Sept. 23, 1920, Rooney was raised the son of vaudeville actors, Joe and Nellie Yule.
As a boy, Rooney’s mom convinced Hollywood producer Hal Roach to put her son in the “Our Gang” series, earning $5 an episode.
But Rooney’s first silver-screen break came at the age of 6, when he answered an advertisement for a “dark-haired” boy to perform the role of “Mickey McGuire.” Rooney’s mom applied burnt cork to his scalp and the fair-haired Mickey won the role.
The movie was a box-office hit and led to 13 more films with Rooney in the role of the lovable Hardy boy.
Also in 1937, Rooney scored his first major film role, teaming up with Judy Garland in “Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry.”
“Judy and I were so close we could’ve come from the same womb,” Rooney said in a 1992 documentary.
At age 18, Rooney was awarded a special Juvenile Academy Award for his breakthrough role as a troubled teen in “Boys Town” starring opposite Spencer Tracy.
Once out of the military, Rooney picked up where he left off, acting in numerous films, including “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” and the “Black Stallion.”
He is survived by his eighth wife, Jan, and nine children.