On Sunday, April 6th, an amazing and incomparable Hollywood icon passed. Mickey Rooney was 93 years-old and has left behind a body of work few really understand and fully appreciate today. He was show business through and through—appearing for the first time on stage at the tender age of 17 months! His film career began at age 6 and, in total, he has well over 300 television and film credits!!
Mickey could do it all. While he is best remembered today for his musicals with Judy Garland (such as Babes in Arms) or, perhaps, his more recent films, Rooney’s career is extremely broad. He appeared in many, many different genres including comedies, suspense and even voiceovers! One of the best of these unusual roles was as as ‘Killer’ Mears in The Last Mile—a prison film that demonstrated the depth and intensity of his acting talents. Believe it or not, Rooney has three films due out this year alone—showing that he just wasn’t willing or able to retire! Clearly, he lived to work and contribute to an industry he so obviously loved and we will miss him.
The publisher of Influx Magazine, Brian Barsuglia, who recently had the experience of directing Mickey Rooney in the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Rooney’s final performance, had this to say:
“I was fortunate and humbled to have worked with Mickey. He showed a great passion for his art and compassion for those on set with him. Between takes, he was joking with cast members and giving out tidbits of advice for longevity in the industry. Mickey devoted his life to entertaining the rest of us and he will be missed.”
He is survived by his wife, Jan Rooney, eight children (one passed in 2006) as well as grand and great-grandchildren. Our hearts go out to them during this time.
By Martin Hafer
Photo from left to right; David Beatty, Margaret O’Brien, Mickey Rooney, Brian Barsuglia and Zan Alda