Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Movie News

LATEST HEADLINES
19 December 2014
First Look At Jessica Chastain In Crimson Peak
She's dressed to impress
True Story Trailer Arrives
James Franco has a tale to tell
Bill Murray Will Sing As Baloo For The Jungle Book
He knows the Bare Necessities
New American Sniper Trailer Online
Bradley Cooper shoots to kill
Tak3n Becomes A 12A
Bryan Mills adds 'killing with kindness' to his skills...
Anthony Mackie Will Make A Wish
He's set for a new comedy
Robert Rodriguez Officially Set For Fire And Ice
Sony has bought the project
The Martian Script Goes Interstellar
Exclusive look at Ridley Scott’s space-bound artwork
Podcast #142: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Tim Burton
Featuring The Interview(s)
More Movie News

RELATED NEWS
28 July 2014
Initial Images From Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb
London crawling with exhibits come to life
More Movie News

RELATED REVIEWS
Night At The Museum (2006)
Empire Star Rating
Night At The Museum (2006)
Empire Star Rating
Breakfast At Tiffany's (2001)
Empire Star Rating
Breakfast At Tiffany's (2001)
Empire Star Rating
The Fox And The Hound
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Mickey Rooney 1920-2014
Hollywood legend dies aged 93

07 April 2014  |  Written by Owen Williams  

submit to reddit

Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney, whose career in showbusiness spanned an incredible ten decades, has died at his home in Hollywood. The actor, who was 93, never retired and had been active in showbusiness since the age of 2.

Rooney was born Joseph Yule Jr in 1920, and the famous story goes that he crawled onto the stage during his family's vaudeville act when a baby, and was "introduced" to the audience there and then. The stage (and later the screen) was where he stayed, and he described it as being like "the womb" to him.

The first half of his stage name came from the 78 comedy shorts Rooney starred in as Mickey McGuire between 1927 and 1936 - he even legally changed his name to Mickey McGuire for a short time to (unsuccessfully) try and stave off a law suit from the owners of the comic strip on which the films were based. He was always Mickey from then on, although he wasn't allowed to keep on using McGuire. His mother suggested he become Mickey Looney instead, but he altered it to Rooney, feeling that it might be slightly more sensible and respectable.

His next long-running franchise was as the plucky Andy Hardy, in 14 films beginning with A Family Affair in 1937 and ending with Andy Hardy Comes Home in 1958. MGM also used the series to launch the careers of the likes of Lana Turner and Esther Williams, and three of the films co-starred Judy Garland, with whom Rooney had a long partnership as a song-and-dance double act. They made more than two dozen films together, including the Busby Berkeley musical Babes In Arms (Rooney's first Oscar nomination, aged 19), and Girl Crazy.

Rooney also proved he could play serious roles, starring opposite Spencer Tracy in Boys Town and earning another Academy Award nomination for the drama The Human Comedy. He was the top US box office draw from 1939 to 1941, but in contrast to his wholesome screen image was something of a hellraiser. An enthusiastic gambler and womaniser, he was assigned a full-time staffer by his studio MGM to - not very successfully - keep him out of trouble.

After WWII, in which he served in the US Military as an entertainer (awarded the Victory Medal for his efforts), he rebooted his career as a character actor: a necessary move having, in his own words, "played a 14-year-old boy for 30 years". Rooney phase II was often hampered by poor decisions, failed marriages, financial problems and drug and gambling issues, but he still racked up another Oscar nomination for The Bold And The Brave in 1956.

He made short-lived stints on television (including in 39 episodes of his own Blake Edwards-produced show); directed the over-reaching The Private Lives Of Adam And Eve in 1960; and had notable supporting roles in the likes of Requiem For A Heavyweight (1962), It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961) in which he infamously played Holly Golightly's Chinese upstairs neighbour.

On TV there were episodes of The Dick Powell Theatre, The Love Boat, The Fugitive, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, The Twilight Zone, The Golden Girls and The Simpsons, among many, many others. He also had successes on Broadway, in the likes of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum and Will Rogers Follies. In 1979 he garnered yet another Oscar nomination for The Black Stallion, and reprised his role, aged 70, in the Family Channel TV series that ran from 1990 until 1993. The Oscars he actually won were a Juvenile Award in 1938, and a Lifetime Achievement in 1983. He won an Emmy and a Golden Globe in 1982 for the TV-movie Bill, in which he played a mentally handicapped man struggling to live alone.

In more recent years he enjoyed three consecutive Christmasses in pantomime in the UK, and showed up in Night At The Museum and The Muppets. His final screen role was in The Woods in 2012, but, true to form, he had at least three projects - including a version of Jekyll & Hyde - in the works at the time of his death. He is survived by his ninth wife Jan Chamberlain, 9 children and 19 grandchildren.


Have Your Say
To comment on this, and all articles, register for free or login now.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Spoiler Special Podcast
Featuring directors Joe and Anthony Russo
First Look At TV's New Constantine
Update: It's going to series

Your Comments

RIP..
...But to be honest, i thought he was dead already.Anyway, rest in peace Mr Rooney. More

Posted by Cool Breeze at 20:08 on 07 April 2014 | Report This Post

Ninth wife
I'm fairly sure he and Jan separated about 18 months ago. More

Posted by trouserpress at 17:01 on 07 April 2014 | Report This Post

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Review Of The Year: 10 Best Soundtracks Of 2014
The scores and OSTs to add to your playlist

Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Review Of 2014: The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year
Our favourite one-scene movie-stealers

8 Things You Can Learn From The BFI's Star Wars Exhibition
The original crawl, a 'grotesque' villain and a very different princess

Review Of The Year: 40 Worst Posters Of 2014
One-sheets that you'd rather not have on your wall

Hobbit Q&As: Ian McKellen On Finally Saying Goodbye And Farewell To Gandalf The Grey
Read our exclusive Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies interviews

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)