Hollywood has lost another legend.
Actor Mickey Rooney has died at age 93. TMZ has learned his death on Sunday, April 6 was due to natural causes.
Born Joseph Yule, Jr., Rooney acted in more than 200 films over eight decades. Rooney began performing at 17 months old as part of his parents’ vaudeville routine.
From 1927 to 1936 Rooney was known for his role as Mickey McGuire in several short films based on a character from the comic strip Toonerville Trolley.
Rooney legally changed his name from Joseph Yule, Jr. to Mickey McGuire while he was shooting the short films to keep the creators of the comic strip from filing a copyright lawsuit. The name change didn’t work, and Rooney was to refrain from being called Mickey McGuire on- and offscreen. After this, Nellie Yule, Rooney’s mother, advised her son to go by the stage name Mickey Looney, he then slightly altered the last name to Rooney.
Next came one of Rooney’s most notable roles – Andy Hardy. Rooney first played Hardy in the film A Family Affair. The unexpected success of A Family Affair led to 15 more Andy Hardy films released from 1937 to 1958.
1937 was also the year Rooney met one of his favorite co-stars – Judy Garland. The pair first worked together in Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry. Garland played Betsy Booth in three of the Andy Hardy films. The two continued to work together in a string of musicals, including Babes in Arms, an Oscar-nominated film.
Rooney’s leading role in the 1940 film Strike Up the Band made him the first teenager to ever be nominated for an Oscar.
In 1954 Rooney took a stab at television, starring in 33 episodes of The Mickey Rooney Show as a “bumbling actor” trying to make it in show business. Ten years later Rooney starred in another television show Mickey, which ran for 17 episodes.
Today’s youth got to know Rooney for his roles in the 2006 Ben Stiller film Night at the Museum and in 2011’s The Muppets starring Amy Adams and Jason Segel.
At 5’2″ Rooney was quite the ladies man, having been married eight times, his first being to Hollywood beauty Ava Gardner. Throughout his eight marriages Rooney fathered nine children.
In 2011 Rooney claimed he was afraid his stepson Chris Aber was going to kidnap him if Rooney didn’t sign over his assets. Months later the two reached a settlement and Rooney dropped the restraining order.
Aber caused more trouble for Rooney when he siphoned money from Rooney’s accounts. Aber was made to pay Rooney $2.8 million last year. Things got worse for Aber after Rooney went in front of Congress to testify about elder abuse. Aber and his wife Christina allegedly deprived Rooney of food, medications, and blocked him from leaving his home.
Fans took to Twitter to mourn the loss of Rooney.
— AFI (@AmericanFilm) April 7, 2014
Hollywood icon, legendary actor Mickey Rooney died on Sunday. He was 93 years old. #RIP
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) April 7, 2014
RIP Mickey Rooney you are 1 of a kind. Enjoy Judy Garland, many friends are happy to see you again.
— Allison DuBois (@MediumAllison) April 7, 2014
Rest in Peace Mickey Rooney Amazing talented man that left an incredible legacy.
— matt sorum (@mattsorum) April 7, 2014
Three projects Rooney worked on are set to be released in 2014, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (October 4, 2014), Fragments from Olympus: The Vision of Nikola Tesla (October 31, 2014), and Old Soldiers (no release date set).
Image via YouTube.