Actor Mickey Rooney passed away last night at the age of 93.
Rooney literally began acting in diapers first climbing on stage in his parents’ vaudeville act before his 2nd birthday. He would ascend to stardom in the late 1920s in the Mickey McGuire movies and to even greater fame in the late 1930s and early 1940s in the Andy Hardy movies alongside Judy Garland.
After WWII, his career would slump and he would never return to the heights of Hollywood’s A-List. But Rooney was persistent and took smaller roles in movies, on TV and on the Broadway stage. He would experience a renaissance with his appearance in The Black Stallion as jockey Henry Bailey which would garner a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. He would reprise this role in the early 1990s on the TV show The Adventures of the Black Stallion.Younger audiences might remember him in A Night at the Museum with Ben Stiller. He participated in the sequel although his scenes were cut. He was to reprise his role in Night at the Museum III which is due to be released in December, but it is unclear if his scenes had been shot at the time of his death.
Despite his diminutive stature, Rooney was a hit with the ladies having married eight times. His first marriage was to a very young Ava Gardner. His eighth marriage to Jan Chamberlin was his longest lasting at 36 years although they did separate last year.
On a personal note, about a dozen years ago, Rooney gave a performance at the Regent Theater in Arlington, Massachusetts. To my everlasting regret, I did not attend. Well, an audience awaits beyond the sky.