Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney died yesterday at his North Hollywood home with his family by his side. He was 93 years old. Mickey portrayed a number of roles during his long career, but his most famous one was the title character in the ‘Andy Hardy’ movies.
Andy was considered an unlikely Hollywood star: he was only 5’3″ but, according to USA Today, “his joie de vivre and his down-home appeal” appealed to audiences during the Depression. He was the Tom Cruise of his time, the #1 box office draw with the 15 part movie series ‘Andy Hardy,’ which ran from 1939 to 1941. Mickey first appeared on stage as part of his parents’ vaudeville act; when he was six years old, he began acting in movies based on the ‘Toonerville Trolley’ cartoons. At that time he was known as Mickey McGuire.
He became Mickey Rooney as a teen before starring in the ‘Andy Hardy’ movies. Once that series was done, he played other characters, such as a problem child in ‘Boys Town’ and starring in the musical ‘Babes In Arms’ alongside Judy Garland. After World War II he struggled, career-wise: he was no longer a kid but didn’t have the looks of a leading man, so he transitioned into becoming a character actor.
Mickey had an equally colorful private life, marrying eight times, including his final wife, Jan Rooney, whom he married in 1978. He had nine children, two stepchildren, and four grandchildren. Our condolences go out to his family. He lived a long and amazing life.
Photos by WENN