Mickey Rooney, Legendary Actor, Dead at 93


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After an impressive nine decade career in show business, legendary actor Mickey Rooney died Sunday. He was 93.

A Los Angeles County Coroner's office duty officer confirmed the death, according to the Associated Press. No further information was available.

Rooney, born Joseph Yule Jr. on Sept. 23, 1920, began his long career in show business at 15 months, when he appeared in his parents' vaudeville act, and started in silent films at the age of six. He went on to appear in 16 films for MGM, and was often paired with Judy Garland.

The 5-foot-3-inch performer could sing, dance, and act, and he was so popular at the box office in the 1930s, he declared that Walk Disney named a famous cartoon mouse after him.

He appeared in the popular film musicals Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), and Girl Crazy (1943), all with Garland. They continued to star in other musicals together as well. Rooney also appeared in dramas including Boys Town (1938) and The Human Comedy (1943), in which he played a small-town telegraph messenger who delivers news of war casualties to parents back home.

Rooney also spent 20 years starring as Andy Hardy, an all-American boy-next-door, in the popular film series Hardy Family about an Ohio teenager growing up. Garland often appeared in the films with him, in the role of Andy Hardy's long-suffering friend.

Rooney was awarded two honorary Oscars during his career, one in 1939 for his "significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth, and as juvenile players setting a high standard of ability and achievement." He was awarded the second honorary Academy Award was in 1983 in recognition of his "50 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances." He was also nominated for four Academy Awards, including for Best Actor in a Leading Role in Babes in Arms (1939) and  The Human Comedy (1943), and for Best Actor in a a Supporting Role in The Bold and the Brave (1956), and The Black Stallion (1979).

In television, Rooney received an Emmy Award nomination for his role as a misanthropic entertainer in Rod Serling's The Comedian (1957). He also won an Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or a special for Bill (1981), about a mentally disabled man struggling with life outside an institution.

The late actor was also famous for his marriages - eight of them - including to Hollywood film star Ava Gardner. He and his most recent wife, Jan Chamberlain, separated in 2012.

Rooney is survived by nine children.

Image via Wikimedia Commons