by BRIANNA SICILIANO Photo/Video Editor
After a nine-decade career in show-business that included Vaudeville, silent films, television, movies, and Broadway, Mickey Rooney passed away on Sunday, April 6 at the age of 93.
Rooney was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 23, 1920 with the name Joseph Yule Jr. The diminutive 5’2″ Rooney began his acting career shortly after his first birthday, appearing on Vaudeville stages with his parents.
Rooney’s parents split when he was young, but thanks to his mother, he soon found himself in Hollywood. Before he was 10, Rooney was a star.
Rooney’s success began in 1926 when he made his first silent film, “Not to Be Trusted.” The film was followed up with several short films based on the “Mickey McGuire” comic strip.
Rooney was still making movies nine decades later, including “The Muppets” in 2011 and “Night at the Museum” in 2006.
“The amazing thing about Rooney’s life and career is that many generations have seen him on screen. Younger generations recognize Rooney as the actor from ‘Night at the Museum’ and ‘Lady and the Tramp II’ while older generations recognize him from ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘Love, Laughs, and Andy Hardy’,” said junior Hiral Patel.
At the time of his death, Rooney had three more films in the making, including a version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” with Margaret O’Brien. Before his passing, Rooney had just finished filming for his last movie role in the newest installment of “Night at the Museum” with Ben Stiller.
“He led a full life, but did not have enough time to finish all he had planned to do. He had the time of his life and the utmost respect for the cast and crew,” his son Mark Rooney said.
Rooney separated from his wife, Jan Chamberlin, two years ago and moved in with his son and his wife, Charlene. With his family, he finally found happiness, health and a feeling of safety, and was able to enjoy life again.
Rooney was finally enjoying life as a bachelor. The morning of his death, he and his family spoke of all their future plans. He loved the business he was in and had a great respect for his fellow actors.
For a period in the 1930s and 1940s, Rooney was the number one star at the box office. He boosted the popularity of the “Andy Hardy” series of films, and was perhaps the brightest star at MGM – an entire studio of “more stars than there are in heaven.”
Rooney was famous for many marriages, – eight in total – including three marriages throughout the 1940s alone.
“I keep going because if you stop, you stop,” Rooney told the UK’s “Guardian” newspaper in 2009. “Why retire? Inspire.”
Over the years, Rooney earned four Oscar nominations, a special Oscar in 1939, and an honorary one in 1983. Rooney was also extremely successful on television in the 1981 TV movie “Bill” about a mentally disabled man who was trying to live on his own. Rooney’s performance in this movie earned him an Emmy.
“At the age of 93, Rooney was still doing the career that he loved. I hope that I can be as happy and successful as him when I’m that age,” said junior Kate Broskie.
His last months of life included reunions with old friends.
Can you believe how successful Mickey Rooney was throughout his lifetime?