Mickey Rooney dies at 93

Tributes paid to MGM giant.

by Amber Wilkinson

Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke and Bill Cobbs in Night At The Museum
Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke and Bill Cobbs in Night At The Museum
Actor Mickey Rooney died at the age of 93 on Sunday. The Brooklyn-born child star who went on to become a giant at MGM is reported to have been ill for some time.

Rooney - real name Joseph Yule Junior - began his career when he was just an toddler in his parents' vaudeville act Yule and Carter. He starred in his first film - a silent - Not To Be Trusted in 1926 and quickly went on to find success as comic strip character Mickey Maguire in a string of silent comedy shorts.

It was the role of Andy Hardy - the son of a small town judge - in a string of films, and his pairing with Judy Garland in musicals such as Babes In Arms that propelled him to stardom. By the time he was 19, in 1939, he was the biggest box office draw in Hollywood.

His career was interrupted by the Second World War, when he spent two years entertaining the troops. Afterwards, he struggled to forge a career as an "adult" actor. Despite some success with television work, he filed for bankruptcy in 1962. Still, he stuck by his motto "never retire but inspire" and continued to work in recent years, with cameo roles in The Muppets and Night At The Museum.

During his lifetime, the star was nominated for four Academy Awards and received two special Oscars, most recently in 1983 for his body of work.

Tributes poured in for Rooney.

In a statement, his former co-star Carol Channing wrote, "I loved working with Mickey on Sugar Babies. He was very professional, his stories were priceless and I love them all... each and every one. We laughed all the time."

At the time of his death, Rooney was working on a new film with fellow former child star Margaret O'Brien.

She said in a statement: "Mickey was the only one at the studio that was ever allowed to call me Maggie. 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. I was currently doing a film with him, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - I simply can't believe it. He seemed fine through the filming and was as great as ever."

The star's offscreen life was almost as colourful as that onscreen. He was married eight times, including to star Ava Gardner.

He is survived by his wife, singer Jan Chamberlin, whom he married in 1978, and nine children. His son, Tim, died in 2006.

Share this with others on...
News

In the ring Benedikt Erlingsson on The Show Of Shows: 100 Years Of Vaudeville, Circuses And Carnivals.

Diving in Jan-Willem van Ewijk in conversation about windsurf drama Atlantic.

Dancing with numbers Matt Brown on The Man Who Knew Infinity and Joe Strummer story London Town.

Infinity and beyond Jeremy Irons on genius, theatre and The Man Who Knew Infinity.

Hollywood getting less inclusive, says survey Annual GLAAD report finds LGBT representation static and lacking in diversity.

Iberodocs returns to Filmhouse Documentary festival back for third edition.

More news and features

We're taking a look at this year's Spanish and Latin Viva Festival and bringing you news and reviews direct from the Tribeca Film Festival.



We're looking forward to the Deep Focus Festival, the Cannes Film Festival and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

We've recently been at BFI Flare, the AV Festival, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, the Glasgow Short Film Festival and the New York Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. We still have reviews coming in.



Read our full for recent coverage.


Visit our festivals section.

Interact

Win a copy of Tangerine on DVD in our latest competitions.