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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/7/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Silver screen icon started in silent films; was married eight times and fathered many children

It's very hard to imagine American film without actor Mickey Rooney. Starting his career as a child actor in silent films, Rooney was frequently paired with fellow iconic movie star Judy Garland in the "Andy Hardy" series. Short, with an explosive temper, Rooney was a colorful presence both on and off the screen, married eight times, once to glamorous star Ava Gardner. Rooney has passed away at the age of 93.

It's very hard to imagine American film without actor Mickey Rooney. Starting his career as a child actor in silent films, Rooney was frequently paired with fellow iconic movie star Judy Garland in the 'Andy Hardy' series.

It's very hard to imagine American film without actor Mickey Rooney. Starting his career as a child actor in silent films, Rooney was frequently paired with fellow iconic movie star Judy Garland in the "Andy Hardy" series.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/7/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Celebrity

Keywords: Mickey Rooney films, actor, death


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Accomplished at comedy as well as drama and an excellent singer and dancer, Rooney was the consummate entertainer. "I've been working all my life, but it seems longer," Rooney once said about his 80-year showbiz career.

Rooney was nominated for four Academy Awards and received two special Oscars, the Juvenile Award in 1939, which he shared with Deanna Durbin and one in 1983 for his body of work.

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Like most people in and outside of showbiz, Rooney had his highs and lows. He filed for bankruptcy in 1962, after blowing through the $12 million he had earned. Standing a mere five-foot-three inches tall, Rooney was associated with small-town American boyhood in the "Andy Hardy" series. The public was slow to accept him as an adult star, even by the time he reached middle age.

"Mickey was the only one at the studio that was ever allowed to call me Maggie," Margaret O'Brien 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," O'Brien said in a statement.

Hailing from Brooklyn, Rooney made his stage debut at age 15 months in his family's vaudeville act, Yule and Carter, as a midget in a tuxedo. His first film role in the silent "Not to Be Trusted" also found him playing a midget.

After his parents divorced, his mother Nell answered an ad placed by cartoonist Fontaine Fox, who was looking for a child actor to play the comic strip character Mickey McGuire in a series of silent comedy shorts. Rooney appeared in almost 80 episodes of the popular serial, which continued to be churned out by Standard Film Corp. until 1932.

Rooney appeared in many popular films as a teenager including Tom Mix Western "My Pal the King" and, memorably, as Puck in Max Reinhardt's 1935 adaptation of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." In 1934, MGM signed him to a week-to-week contract; "Captains Courageous" and "Boy's Town," the latter two alongside Spencer Tracy are among his best remembered films.

From 1944-46, Rooney served in the U.S. Army in the Jeep Theater, traveling 150,000 miles entertaining the troops and acting as a radio personality on the American Forces Network.

After the war, Rooney's brand of "aw shucks" innocence was deemed old hat to the shell-shocked American public. He struggled for a tie, but found success in the new medium of television.

Producer Norman Lear had originally considered him for the role of Archie Bunker in "All in the Family." Rooney rejected the project just as Jackie Gleason had. He received an Oscar nomination for supporting actor in 1980 for "The Black Stallion." He won an Emmy for "Bill" in 1982 and drew an Emmy nom for reprising the role in another CBS telepic two years later.

In 1993 he published autobiography "Life Is Too Short."

He's survived by wife Jan Chamberlin, a singer he married in 1978; son Mickey Rooney Jr. from his marriage to singer Betty Jane Rase; son Theodore Michael Rooney from his marriage to actress Martha Vickers; daughters Kelly Ann Rooney, Kerry Rooney and Kimmy Sue Rooney and son Michael Joseph Rooney from his marriage to Barbara Ann Thomason; and daughter Jonelle Rooney and adopted son Jimmy Rooney from his marriage to Carolyn Hockett. A son, Tim Rooney, died in 2006.

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