Mickey Rooney Dies Aged 93: Remembering The Child Star And Screen Legend

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Mickey Rooney, star of the big screen for 88 years, has passed away aged 93 after a long illness, according to Variety. He died on Sunday in the company of his family in his North Hollywood home, Los Angeles police have reportedly confirmed. Skilled in comedy, drama, singing and dancing, Rooney was regarded as the consummate entertainer and enjoyed a prolific career on stage and screen.

Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney, The New York-Born Screen Legend, Has Died Aged 93.

Margaret O'Brien, who had recently been working with the actor on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, said "He was undoubtedly the most talented actor that ever lived. There was nothing he couldn't do. Singing, dancing, performing [...] all with great expertise. Mickey made it look so easy. He seemed fine through the filming and was as great as ever," she said in a statement.


Born Joe Yule Junior in New York and having begun his career aged just 18 months in his parents' vaudeville act, Rooney changed his name at a young age after being inspired by his character Mickey McGuire in a series of silent short films, starting with Mickey's Circus, the 1927 picture that has only recently been unearthed in The Netherlands. Such was Mickey's popularity in the series that his mother wanted to legally change his name to that of his hit characters. When the show's Fontaine Fox objected to McGuire, she chose Rooney instead.

As a teenager, Rooney enjoyed choice roles in many popular films including Tom Mix Western in My Pal the King, Puck in the 1935 Max Reinhardt's adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as roles in an adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's Ah Wilderness and Little Lord Fauntleroy, Captains Courageous and Boy's Town.

Mickey Rooney Has Died
A Superstar Of Stage & Screen, Mickey Rooney Became A Huge Hollywood Draw.

Such was the draw of Rooney for audiences that in 1934, MGM signed him to a week-to-week contract and his first success was playing Clark Gable as a boy in Manhattan Melodrama. Before the age of 20, Rooney was earning $150,000 a year due to his role as son Andy in A Family Affair, the B-movie adaptation of the minor Broadway play, Skidding.

More: Tributes pour in for screen legend Mickey Rooney - read our highlights here.

More: Early Mickey Rooney movie, Mickey's Circus, discovered in The Netherlands - find out more.

The biggest box-office attraction of 1939 and 1940, Rooney had Hollywood in his pocket and combined his success with screen starlet Ava Gardner's when they married in 1939. He received an honorary juvenile Oscar, citing his "significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth." The high point of his career came with his role in the memorable National Velvet alongside Elizabeth Taylor, which brought international fame.

Mickey Charlene Mark Rooney
Rooney Attends An Oscars Afterparty With Children Charlene & Mark.

After taking a break from acting for his wartime service, Rooney returned to Hollywood to focus on more serious character roles, including the somewhat controversial Mr Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's and Ding Bell I 1963's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Despite his 200 films having made more than three billion dollars around the world, Rooney was declared bankrupt in 1962, largely due to his extravagant lifestyle and alimony to ex-wives.

Next page: Mickey Rooney's carer revival

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