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Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney (born Joseph Yule, Jr.; September 23, 1920) is an American film actor and entertainer whose film, television and stage appearances span his lifetime. During his career, he has won multiple awards, including an Oscar, a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award. Best known for his work as the Andy Hardy character, Rooney has one of the longest movie careers of any actor, entering the Guinness Book of Records as the actor with longest career on both stage and screen.

Personal life

Rooney was born in Brooklyn, New York to a vaudeville family. His father, Joseph Yule, was from Scotland, and his mother, Nellie W. (née Carter), was from Kansas City, Missouri. Both parents were in vaudeville, and appearing in a Brooklyn production of A Gaiety Girl when Joseph, Jr. was born. He began performing at the age of fifteen months as part of his parents' routine, wearing a specially tailored tuxedo. , Rooney and his wife, Jan Chamberlin, live in Westlake Village, California. They met through his son, Mickey Jr., whom Jan had been dating at the time, and are both outspoken advocates for veterans and animal rights.

Career

Mickey McGuire

The Yules separated in 1924 during a slump in vaudeville, and in 1925, Nell Yule moved with her son to Hollywood, where she managed a tourist home. Fontaine Fox had placed a newspaper ad for a dark haired child to play the role of "Mickey McGuire" in a series of short films, and, lacking the money to have her son's hair dyed, Mrs. Yule took her son to the audition after applying burnt cork to his scalp. Joe got the role and became "Mickey" for 78 of the comedies, running from 1927 to 1936, starting with Mickey's Circus, released September 4, 1927. These had been adapted from the Toonerville Trolley comic strip, which contained a character named Mickey McGuire. Joe Yule briefly legally became Mickey McGuire to trump an attempted copyright lawsuit (as it was his legal name, the movie producers did not owe the comic strip writers royalties).

Rooney later claimed that, during his Mickey McGuire days, he met cartoonist Walt Disney at the Warner Brothers studio, and that Disney was inspired to name Mickey Mouse after him, although Disney always said that he had changed the name from "Mortimer Mouse" on the suggestion of his wife. Rooney also took credit for giving rising starlet Norma Jean Mortenson the stage name Marilyn Monroe, his co-star in the 1950 film 'The Fireball', although she had been so billed as early as 1947.

During an interruption in the series in 1932, Mrs. Yule made plans to take her son on a ten week vaudeville tour as McGuire, and Fox sued successfully to stop him from using the name. Mrs. Yule suggested the stage name of "Mickey Looney" for her comedian son, which he altered slightly to a less frivolous version. Rooney did other films, including a few more of the McGuire films, in his adolescence, and signed with MGM in 1934. MGM cast Rooney as the teenage son of a judge in 1937's A Family Affair, setting Rooney on the way to another successful film series.

Andy Hardy and Judy Garland

In 1937, Rooney was selected to portray Andy Hardy in A Family Affair (1937), which MGM had planned as a B-movie. Rooney provided comic relief as the son of Judge James K. Hardy, portrayed by Lionel Barrymore (although Lewis Stone would play the role of Judge Hardy in later films). The film was an unexpected success, and led to thirteen more "Andy Hardy" films between 1937 and 1946, and then one final "Andy Hardy" film in 1958. Rooney received top-billing in a feature film as Shockey Carter in Hoosier Schoolboy (1937). The same year, he made his first film alongside Judy Garland with Thoroughbreds Don't Cry. His breakthrough role as a dramatic actor came in 1938's Boys Town opposite Spencer Tracy as Whitey Marsh, which opened shortly before his 18th birthday.

Garland and Rooney became a successful song and dance team. Besides three of the Andy Hardy films, where she portrayed Betsy Booth, a younger girl with a crush on Andy, Garland appeared with Rooney in a string of successful musicals, including the Oscar nominated Babes in Arms (1939).

Unquestionably a well known entertainer by the early 1940s, Rooney was one of many celebrities caricatured in Tex Avery's 1941 Warner Bros. cartoon Hollywood Steps Out. , Rooney is the only surviving entertainer depicted in the cartoon.

Later career

In 1944, Rooney entered military service for 21 months during World War II, during which time he was a radio personality on the American Forces Network. After his return to civilian life, his career slumped. He appeared in a number of films, including Words and Music in 1948, which paired him for the last time with Garland on film (he appeared with her on one episode as a guest on her CBS variety series in 1963). The Mickey Rooney Show, also known as Hey Mulligan, appeared on NBC television for 39 episodes during 1954 and 1955. In 1951, he directed a feature film for Columbia Pictures, My True Story starring Helen Walker. Rooney also starred as a ragingly egomaniacal television comedian in the live 90-minute television drama The Comedian, written by Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer, on Playhouse 90 the evening of Valentine's Day in 1957.

In 1960, he directed and starred in The Private Lives of Adam and Eve, an ambitious comedy known for its multiple flashbacks and many cameos. In the 1960s, Rooney returned to theatrical entertainment. He still accepted film roles in undistinguished movies, but occasionally would appear in better works, such as Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) and The Black Stallion (1979). One of Rooney's more controversial roles came in the highly acclaimed 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's where he played a stereotyped buck-toothed myopic Japanese neighbor of the main character, Holly Golightly. Producer Richard Shepherd apologized for this in the 45th anniversary DVD, though Director Blake Edwards and Rooney himself do not.

On December 31, 1961, he appeared on television's What's My Line and mentioned that he had already started enrolling students in the MRSE (Mickey Rooney School of Entertainment). His school venture never came to fruition, but for several years he was a spokesman/partner in Pennsylvania's Downingtown Inn, a country club and golf resort.

In 1966, while Rooney was working on a film in the Philippines, his wife Barbara Ann Thomason (aka Tara Thomas, Carolyn Mitchell), a former pin-up model and aspiring actress who had won 17 straight beauty contests in Southern California, was found dead in their bed. Beside her was her lover, Milos Milos, an actor friend of Rooney's. Detectives ruled it murder-suicide, which was accomplished with Rooney's own gun. Milos was also a bodyguard and was connected to Stevan Markovic, bodyguard of French star Alain Delon. Markovic was also found dead in mysterious circumstances in Paris two years later.

Grief-stricken and not in his right frame of mind, Rooney quickly married Barbara's friend, Marge Lane. The union lasted about one hundred days.

He was awarded an Academy Juvenile Award in 1938, and in 1983 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted him their Academy Honorary Award for his lifetime of achievement. Laurence Olivier called Rooney "the single best film actor America ever produced", a sentiment echoed by actor James Mason. Judy Garland stated that Rooney was "the world's greatest talent." As a result of the Andy Hardy series, Rooney was the highest paid actor in Hollywood in the late 1930s.

Television and stage

Rooney made a successful transition to television and stage work. He won a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his role in 1981's Bill. Playing opposite Dennis Quaid, Rooney was a mentally challenged man attempting to live on his own after leaving an institution. He reprised his role in 1983's Bill: On His Own, earning an Emmy nomination for the role.

Rooney did the voices for three Christmas TV animated/stop action specials: Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970), The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), and Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July—always playing Santa Claus. In 1970, he was approached by television producer Norman Lear to consider taking on the role of Archie Bunker in the upcoming CBS series, All in the Family. Like Jackie Gleason before him, Mickey rejected the project as too controversial. The role ultimately went to Carroll O'Connor.

Rooney continued to work on stage and television through the 1980s and 1990s, appearing in the acclaimed stage play Sugar Babies with Ann Miller beginning in 1979. He starred in the long-running TV series The Adventures of the Black Stallion, reprising his role as Henry Daily from The Black Stallion film and toured Canada in a dinner theatre production of The Mind with the Naughty Man in the mid-1990s. He played The Wizard in a stage production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with Eartha Kitt at Madison Square Garden. Kitt was later replaced by Jo Anne Worley. He also appeared in the documentary That's Entertainment! III.

Rooney voiced Mr. Cherrywood in The Care Bears Movie (1985), and starred as the Movie Mason in a Disney Channel Original Movie family film, 2000's Phantom of the Megaplex. He had a guest spot on an episode of The Golden Girls as Sophia's boyfriend Rocko, who claimed to be a bank robber. He played himself in the Simpsons episode "Radioactive Man" of 1995. In 1996-97, Mickey played Talbut on the TV series, Kleo The Misfit Unicorn produced by Gordon Stanfield Animation (GSA). He co-starred in Night at the Museum in 2006 with Dick Van Dyke and Ben Stiller.

Current work

Rooney appeared in television commercials for Garden State Life Insurance Company in 1999, alongside his wife Jan. In commercials shown in 2007, Rooney can be seen in the background washing imaginary dishes.

Rooney continues to work in film and tours with his wife in a multi-media live stage production called Let's Put On a Show! On 26 May 2007, he was Grand Marshal at the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival. Rooney made his British pantomime debut, playing Baron Hardup in Cinderella, at the Sunderland Empire Theatre over the 2007 Christmas period. He appeared on BBC Points West dressed in a pair of shorts and socks.

Filmography

Feature films

Year Title
1927 Orchids and Ermine
1932 The Beast of the City
Sin's Pay Day
High Speed
Fast Companions
My Pal, the King
Officer Thirteen
1933 The Big Cage
The Life of Jimmy Dolan
The Big Chance
Broadway to Hollywood
The Chief
The World Changes
1934 Beloved
The Lost Jungle
I Like It That Way
Manhattan Melodrama
Love Birds
Half a Sinner
Hide-Out
Chained
Blind Date
Death on the Diamond
1935 The County Chairman
Reckless
The Healer
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Rendezvous
Ah, Wilderness!
1936 Riffraff
Little Lord Fauntleroy
Down the Stretch
The Devil is a Sissy
1937 A Family Affair
Captains Courageous
Slave Ship
Hoosier Schoolboy
Live, Love and Learn
Thoroughbreds Don't Cry
You're Only Young Once
1938 Love Is a Headache
Judge Hardy's Children
Hold That Kiss
Lord Jeff
Love Finds Andy Hardy
Boys Town
Stablemates
Out West with the Hardys
1939 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Hardys Ride High
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever
Babes in Arms
Judge Hardy and Son
1940 Young Tom Edison
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante
Strike Up the Band
Year Title
1941 Andy Hardy's Private Secretary
Men of Boys Town
Life Begins for Andy Hardy
Babes on Broadway
1942 The Courtship of Andy Hardy
A Yank at Eton
Andy Hardy's Double Life
1943 The Human Comedy
Thousands Cheer
Girl Crazy
1944 Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble
National Velvet
1946 Love Laughs at Andy Hardy
1947 Killer McCoy
1948 Summer Holiday
Words and Music
1949 The Big Wheel
1950 Quicksand
The Fireball
He's a Cockeyed Wonder
1951 My Outlaw Brother
The Strip
1952 Sound Off
1953 Off Limits
All Ashore
A Slight Case of Larceny
1954 Drive a Crooked Road
The Atomic Kid
1955 The Bridges at Toko-Ri
The Twinkle in God's Eye
1956 The Bold and the Brave
Francis in the Haunted House
Magnificent Roughnecks
1957 Operation Mad Ball
Baby Face Nelson
1958 A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed
Andy Hardy Comes Home
1959 The Big Operator
The Last Mile
1960 Platinum High School
The Private Lives of Adam and Eve
1961 King of the Roaring 20's - The Story of Arnold Rothstein
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Everything's Ducky
1962 Requiem for a Heavyweight
1963 It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
1964 The Secret Invasion
1965 Twenty-Four Hours to Kill
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini
1966 The Devil In Love
Ambush Bay
1968 Skidoo
1969 The Extraordinary Seaman
The Comic
80 Steps to Jonah
Year Title
1970 Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County
1971 Mooch Goes to Hollywood
The Manipulator
1972 Richard
Pulp
1973 The Godmothers
1974 Thunder County
Rachel's Man
1975 Ace of Hearts
From Hong Kong with Love
1976 Find the Lady
1977 The Domino Principle
Pete's Dragon
1979 The Black Stallion
Arabian Adventure
1981 The Fox and the Hound (voice)
1982 The Emperor of Peru
1986 Lightning, the White Stallion
1988 Bluegrass
1989 Erik the Viking
1991 My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
1992 The Milky Life
Sweet Justice
Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker
Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland
Maximum Force
1993 The Legend of Wolf Mountain
1994 Revenge of the Red Baron
The Outlaws: The Legend of O.B. Taggart
Making Waves
1997 Killing Midnight
1998 The Face on the Barroom Floor
Animals and the Tollkeeper
Michael Kael vs. the World News Company
Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights
Babe: Pig in the City
1999 Holy Hollywood
The First of May
2000 Internet Love
Phantom of the Megaplex
2002 Topa Topa Bluffs
2003 Paradise
2005 Strike the Tent
A Christmas Too Many
2006 The Thirsting
To Kill a Mockumentary
Night at the Museum
2007 The Yesterday Pool
Bamboo Shark
Lost Stallions: The Journey Home
2008 Driving Me Crazy

Short subjects

Year Title
1926 Not to Be Trusted
1927 Mickey's Circus
Mickey's Pals
Mickey's Eleven
Mickey's Battles
1928 Mickey's Minstrels
Mickey's Parade
Mickey in School
Mickey's Nine
Mickey's Little Eva
Mickey's Wild West
Mickey in Love
Mickey's Triumph
Mickey's Babies
Mickey's Movies
Mickey's Rivals
Mickey the Detective
Mickey's Athletes
Mickey's Big Game Hunt
1929 Mickey's Great Idea
Mickey's Explorers
Mickey's Menagerie
Mickey's Last Chance
Mickey's Brown Derby
Mickey's Northwest Mounted
Year Title
1929 Mickey's Initiation
Mickey's Midnite Follies
Mickey's Surprise
Mickey's Mix-Up
Mickey's Big Moment
Mickey's Strategy
1930 Mickey's Champs
Mickey's Master Mind
Mickey's Luck
Mickey's Whirlwinds
Mickey's Warriors
Mickey the Romeo
Mickey's Merry Men
Mickey's Winners
Screen Snapshots Series 9, No. 24
Mickey's Musketeers
Mickey's Bargain
1931 Mickey's Stampede
Mickey's Crusaders
Mickey's Rebellion
Mickey's Diplomacy
Mickey's Wildcats
Mickey's Thrill Hunters
Mickey's Helping Hand
Mickey's Sideline
Year Title
1932 Mickey's Busy Day
Mickey's Travels
Mickey's Holiday
Mickey's Big Business
Mickey's Golden Rule
Mickey's Charity
1933 Mickey's Ape Man
Mickey's Race
Mickey's Big Broadcast
Mickey's Touchdown
Mickey's Tent Show
Mickey's Covered Wagon
1934 Mickey's Medicine Man
1935 Pirate Party on Catalina Isle
1936 Mickey's Derby Day
1937 Cinema Circus
1938 Andy Hardy's Dilemma
1940 Rodeo Dough
1941 Meet the Stars #4: Variety Reel #2
1943 Show Business at War
1947 Screen Snapshots: Out of This World Series
1953 Screen Snapshots: Mickey Rooney - Then and Now
1958 Screen Snapshots: Glamorous Hollywood
1968 Vienna
1974 Just One More Time
1975 The Lion Roars Again
2008 Wreck the Halls

Television

Mickey Rooney has made countless appearances in TV sitcoms and TV movies. He has also lent his voice to many animation films. Only his most important work is listed in this section.

Year(s) Title
1954-1955 The Mickey Rooney Show
1964-1965 Mickey
1982 One of the Boys (canceled after 13 episodes)
1990-1993 The Adventures of the Black Stallion

Honors

Mickey Rooney was dubbed the fifth greatest actor of all time by The Academy of Film Arts and Science, just above Henry Fonda and John Wayne.

Marriages

Name Years Children
Ava Gardner 1942-1943
Betty Jane Rase 1944-1949 Mickey Rooney, Jr.
Tim Rooney
Martha Vickers 1949-1951 Teddy Rooney
Elaine Devry 1952-1958
Barbara Ann Thomason (Carolyn Mitchell) 1958-1966 Kyle Rooney
Kimmy Rooney
Kelly Rooney
Kerry Rooney
Marge Lane 1966-1967
Carolyn Hockett 1969-1974 Jimmy Rooney
Jonelle Rooney
Jan Chamberlin 1978-present

References

External links

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