Once of America’s most-loved actors, Mickey Rooney, died on Sunday in the US, according to report by industry gossip site TMZ. He was 93 and been suffering from ill health in recent years .
Born Joe Yule Jr. in New York in 1920, Rooney was just 17-months-old when he first appeared on stage in his parent’s vaudeville act, followed by his first screen appearance, aged 6.
In 1937 the diminutive actor (he was 5’4; 162cm) cemented his enduring love with American cinema goers playing teenager Andy Hardy in A Family Affair, the first of 20 times he played the character in The Hardy Boys series.
He also appeared in a number of musicals, including Babes in Arms with Judy Garland, becoming the first teenager nominated for an Oscar in a leading role.
His other leading ladies included Elizabeth Taylor in the classic National Velvet and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Hi performance in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film The Black Stallion led to an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor.
Rooney married eight times. His first wife was actress Ava Gardner. He separated from his last wife, Jan Chamberlin, in 1012 after 34 years together. It followed bitter court battle by Rooney against her son, Christopher Aber, and daughter-in-law for elder abuse and fraud. Rooney was awarded $2.8 million, along with a restraining order, but the couple filed for bankruptcy to avoid payment.
Rooney later appeared before the Senate in Washington D.C. to testify about elder abuse.
Rooney won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of a mentally challenged man in Bill and an honorary Academy Award “in recognition of his 60 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances”.
His final film was The Muppets, three years ago.
Rooney demonstrated his characteristic wit and charm in his autobiography Life Is Too Short by summing up his life thus: “Had I been brighter, the ladies been gentler, the Scotch weaker, the gods kinder, the dice hotter, it might have all ended up in a one-sentence story.”
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