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Mickey Rooney

  • Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
  • Birthday: September 23
Date of passing: 
April 06, 2014

Mickey Rooney was an entertainment industry legend who achieved international stardom as a seemingly indefatigable performer on stage, in the movies and on television. Along the way he earned two special Oscars and a Primetime Emmy, in addition to numerous other professional accolades.

Born into a show business family in Brooklyn, New York, Rooney — who was born Ninian Joseph Yule, Jr. — began appearing in his parents' vaudeville act before his second birthday and continued working until his death, on April 6, 2014, at age 93.

Mickey Rooney was an entertainment industry legend who achieved international stardom as a seemingly indefatigable performer on stage, in the movies and on television. Along the way he earned two special Oscars and a Primetime Emmy, in addition to numerous other professional accolades.

Born into a show business family in Brooklyn, New York, Rooney — who was born Ninian Joseph Yule, Jr. — began appearing in his parents' vaudeville act before his second birthday and continued working until his death, on April 6, 2014, at age 93.

After moving to California with his mother following his parents' separation, he joined a musical revue at age five and was soon appearing in a series of Toonerville Trolley short films. He made dozens of shorts over the the next several years; his character, Mickey McGuire, inspired his eventual stage name.

In an up-and-down career, Rooney appeared in more than 250 films and television productions. 

He began appearing in feature film in his early teens and earned praise for his performance as Puck in the 1935 adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, starring James Cagney. He signed a contract with MGM and soon appeared in such films as Little Lord Fauntleroy, Captains Courageous, The Devil Is a Sissy and Lord Jeff, along with fellow child star Freddie Bartholomew. He also teamed with Judy Garland for a succession of popular musicals, including Babes in Arms, Strike up the Band and Girl Crazy. He and Garland wwere also paired in three installments of the Andy Hardy films, a beloved series in which he played the lead role for more than a decade. By 19, he was the top box-office star in Hollywood. 

His other movies in the ensuing decades included Young Tom Edison, National Velvet, Words and Music, The Human Comedy, A Slight Case of Larceny, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, The Bold and the Brave, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Requiem for a Heavyweight, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad WorldPete's Dragon, The Black Stallion, A Night at the Museum and The Muppets.

He was nominated for four Oscars — for Babes in Arms, The Human Comedy, The Bold and the Brave and The Black Stallion. He also received two honorary Oscars — a special Juvenile Award in 1939 (along with actress Deanna Durbin) and a career-achievement award in 1983.

Rooney began working in television in the early 1950s and appeared in dozens of series, specials and telefilms. He briefly had his own series, The Mickey Rooney Show, which aired from 1954 to 1955, and Mickey, which aired from 1954 to 1965. Other credits included Schlitz Playhouse, Wagon Train, The Dick Powell Theatre, The Twilight Zone, Rawhide, The Red Skelton Hour, Dan August, One of the Boys, The Love Boat, The Golden Girls, The New Adventures of the Black Stallion, Full House, ER and many, many others.

In 1982 he won an Emmy for his performance in the made-for-television movie Bill, about a mentally challenged man coping with life outside an institution. He received four other Emmy nominations — for "The Comedian," an episode of Playhouse 90; "Eddie," an episode of Alcoa Theatre; for "Somebody's Waiting," an episode of The Dick Powell Show; and for Bill: On His Own, a sequel to Bill.

 

 

 

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