Mickey Rooney


Actor
Mickey Rooney

About

Also Known As
Mickey Mcguire, Joseph Yule Jr.
Birth Place
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Born
September 23, 1920
Died
April 06, 2014

Biography

Mickey Rooney was a little man who enjoyed a big career and a larger-than-life persona. Born into a family of vaudeville performers, he was pushed on stage before he could talk and never let up, appearing in hundreds of movies, TV shows, plays, casinos and gossip columns. He had a hunger for life and work that belied his small stature, marrying eight times, earning and losing millions of...

Photos & Videos

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) - Scene Stills
Andy Hardy's Private Secretary - Kapralik Trade Ad
Strike Up the Band - Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Family & Companions

Norma Shearer
Companion
Actor. Rooney was still in his teens when they were romantically involved.
Ava Gardner
Wife
Actor. Married in 1942; divorced in 1943.
Betty Jane Rase
Wife
Married in 1944; divorced in 1949.
Martha Vickers
Wife
Actor. Married in 1949; divorced in 1951.

Bibliography

"The Search for Sonny Skies"
Mickey Rooney (1994)
"Life is Too Short"
Mickey Rooney, Villard Books (1991)
"Me & You"
Mickey Rooney (1990)

Notes

Rooney has been nominated for four Oscars: as Best Actor in 1939 (for "Babes in Arms") and 1943 (for "The Human Comedy") and as Best Supporting Actor in 1956 (for "The Bold and the Brave") and 1979 (for "The Black Stallion").

Rooney underwent open heart surgery in December 2000.

Biography

Mickey Rooney was a little man who enjoyed a big career and a larger-than-life persona. Born into a family of vaudeville performers, he was pushed on stage before he could talk and never let up, appearing in hundreds of movies, TV shows, plays, casinos and gossip columns. He had a hunger for life and work that belied his small stature, marrying eight times, earning and losing millions of dollars on several occasions, and seemingly accepting any invitation to perform, whether it was a dinner theater or the Academy Awards. Outliving most of his Golden Age contemporaries, he carved out a unique place in show business history that spanned generations of fans. And even though his career reached its peak in the 1930s with his onscreen partnership with Judy Garland, he continued to win awards and accolades until his death on April 6, 2014.

Mickey Rooney was born Joseph Yule, Jr. on Sept. 23, 1920 in Brooklyn, NY. His name was plain but his family was colorful. Rooney's father, Joe Yule, was a Scottish-born vaudeville performer and his mother, Nell, was a chorus girl from Kansas City, MO. Soon after his first birthday Rooney was appearing on stage with his parents and traveling around the country by train. The vagaries of show business did not encourage domestic bliss, leading to Rooney's parents breaking up in 1924. Nell took custody of her son and, in the grand and often grotesque tradition of frustrated performers, channeled her hopes and dreams into her child. She moved with her son out to California, where she balanced managing a tourist home and overseeing Rooney's growing career. She was not skilled at either, going broke and moving back and forth between Los Angeles and Kansas City to receive financial help from her family. It was a grim existence until Rooney got his big break playing, ironically, a midget. The movie "Not to Be Trusted" (1926) was not a film classic, but it jump-started Rooney's career.

Nell used some old fashioned derring-do to land Rooney his next job. Learning that the popular comic strip "Mickey McGuire" was going to be turned into a series of short films, she put her son up for the part. Rooney was still named Joe Yule, Jr. at this point, but Nell offered to legally change his name to Mickey McGuire so that the producers of the films could circumvent paying the writer of the comic strip royalties. This cold-hearted ploy did not work, but Nell still had her son's name changed to the apparently more marquee-friendly "Mickey Rooney." Regardless, Rooney got the part and went on to star in dozens of shorts based on the McGuire character, starting with "Mickey's Circus" (1927). And it truly was a circus, as Rooney worked non-stop for the next 10 years until finally wrapping up the McGuire series with "Mickey's Derby Day" (1936).

The "Mickey McGuire" movies made Mickey Rooney a star, but his next film series propelled him into the top tier of Hollywood actors. Although he had received good reviews for his work in several features, most notably as Puck in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1935), his appearance as Andy Hardy in "A Family Affair" (1937) changed his life forever. Playing the son of Judge James K. Hardy (Lionel Barrymore), Rooney helped MGM's little B-movie become a monster hit. He played the same role in 13 more homespun "Andy Hardy" films produced between 1937 and 1946, giving venerable MGM one of its most profitable franchises. The early movies were about the entire Hardy clan, but by the fourth film in the series, "Love Finds Andy Hardy" (1938), Rooney's exuberant personality had pushed his character to the top of the marquee. His portrayal of the all-American boy became an archetype of old-fashioned, Midwestern wholesomeness.

Ironically Andy Hardy's squeaky-clean image was quite a contrast to the real-life Rooney. As he became more famous, the actor became more reckless, known around Hollywood for his late night carousing and numerous affairs. The most scandalous liaison came to light years later in Rooney's autobiography, in which he claimed that in 1938, when he was just 18, he had a relationship with the A-list actress Norma Shearer, then 38, and the widow of MGM's "Boy Wonder" production chief, Irving Thalberg. Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM and a mentor to Thalberg, used his considerable influence to end the affair and keep it from the press. Whether this was out of loyalty to his late protégé or merely a cynical attempt to keep Rooney's public image more in line with that of Andy Hardy, was impossible to say, but it definitely allowed the actor to continue starring in MGM's cash cow franchise without any backlash from his adoring fans.

While Rooney's offscreen romances often got him into trouble, his onscreen relationship with Judy Garland became one of the most famous partnerships in film history. First appearing together in "Love Finds Andy Hardy," where the then starlet had a guest appearance, they starred together as equals in the musical "Babes in Arms" (1939), directed by the great Busby Berkeley. The movie was a hit and the couple's chemistry and bright-eyed enthusiasm was real. They became friends and stayed close until her tragic death in 1969. Together they made numerous popular features together, including several more Andy Hardy movies and Busby Berkeley musicals, among them "Strike up the Band" (1940) and "Babes on Broadway" (1941) - most of which were of the "Comon kids, let's put on a show!" variety.

But Rooney's popularity was not contingent upon Garland, who shot to worldwide fame playing Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" (1939). Rather, his appeal came from his infectious energy and innate fearlessness as an actor. Whether sharing the screen with giants like Spencer Tracy and Lionel Barrymore in "Captains Courageous" (1937), and again with Tracy in "Boys Town" (1938) - for which Tracy received an Academy Award - Rooney more than held his own. And, of course, the public adored him. From 1939 through 1941, Rooney was the number one box office actor in the United States, as he would proudly continue to remind the world even years later. As America entered World War II, his Andy Hardy films continued to be wildly popular and Rooney worked steadily. He somehow found the time to marry and divorce the gorgeous starlet Ava Gardner (the future Mrs. Frank Sinatra) between 1942 and 1943 before hitting his professional peak opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the horse racing drama, "National Velvet" (1944). But when Rooney was drafted into the military, everything changed.

During WWII, Rooney went to war to entertain the troops, only serving 21 months. But while he did not suffer any physical harm while abroad, when he came home his career was damaged. Post-war America was less innocent than the one that had embraced Andy Hardy. Moreover, Rooney was now 26 years old and thus, a little too long in the tooth to continue playing teenagers. His professional life started a long, slow slide. While he was never at a loss for work, the quality of the material was inferior to his earlier films. To make matters worse his onscreen partnership with Judy Garland came to a close with the musical "Words and Music" (1948). Rooney gamely soldiered on, while his former co-star's career eclipsed his. Not only because he loved to work but also because he had to. He fit in a few more failed marriages, including one to actress Martha Vickers, while trying to find good parts to pay his alimony. There were bright spots like the Korean War drama "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" (1954), but more often than not Rooney did whatever slop he was offered, including "The Fireball" (1950) and "The Atomic Kid" (1954). Like many movie stars before him whose stars were starting to fade, he turned to television.

"The Mickey Rooney Show" (NBC, 1954-55) - also known as "Hey, Mulligan" - featured Rooney playing a fast-talking teenager. The fact that Rooney, in his mid-30s, was essentially reprising his Andy Hardy character may have had something to do with the show's cancellation after 39 episodes. Still, it had to be more satisfying work than starring opposite Francis the Talking Mule in "Francis in the Haunted House" (1956). With live television attracting some of the best young directors and writers, Rooney kept returning to the small screen. He scored an artistic triumph and an Emmy nomination in "The Comedian" (1957), an episode of the famous series "Playhouse 90" (CBS, 1956-1961). The late 1950s were the Golden Age of live TV and it gave Rooney's career a shot in the arm. He continued to work on TV shows like "Alcoa Theater" (NBC, 1957-1960) while landing the occasional film role. He was a natural fit for the film "Baby Face Nelson" (1957), playing a murderous gangster who looks like a choirboy and he (mercifully) put the Andy Hardy series to rest with the feature "Andy Hardy Comes Home" (1958). Finally, in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) he found a role he could sink his teeth into. Unfortunately, they were a set of fake buckteeth that set off the biggest controversy of his career. Blake Edwards, who had worked on Rooney's TV show as a writer, directed "Breakfast at Tiffany's," an adaptation of Truman Capote's novel. The director and actor were close friends, and perhaps this influenced Edwards not reigning in Rooney's broad performance of a stereotypical, bucktoothed Japanese man. Rooney's overacting marred an otherwise popular and well-reviewed film, but his sub-par work was the least of his problems.

Rooney's latest marriage - his fifth - was falling apart during this period. He had married the beauty queen and B-movie actress, Barbara Ann Thomason (a.k.a Carolyn Mitchell), in 1958. While Thomason had put her career on hold to raise the kids, Rooney worked non-stop to support his ex-wives, his gambling habit, and a growing family. He tried directing, but the dismal comedy "The Private Lives of Adam and Eve" (1960) should have stayed private. Hack TV work kept the money rolling in, and there was a cinematic bright spot with his supporting turn in the drama "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (1962), but lightweight fluff like "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" (1965) was more representative of Rooney's output at the time. Now in his forties, he nevertheless continued his extra-marital affairs; a favor returned by his young wife. When Rooney was in the Philippines filming the war movie "Ambush Bay," he was literally ambushed by tragic news: Thomason's jealous lover had murdered her in the Rooney's Brentwood home. Rooney returned to the states and a cauldron of controversy. The sordid and dysfunctional personal life of the man who had played the all-American boy became fodder for the tabloids and permanently tarnished Rooney's image. He continued plugging away in mediocre movies like "Skidoo" (1968) in an attempt to keep the demons at bay, but Judy Garland's death from an accidental overdose of barbiturates in 1969 was an even worse punishment.

Nearing fifty and rocked by personal tragedy and professional disappointment, it would have been easy for Rooney to pack it in. But Rooney's vaudeville training had instilled in him a powerful ethos that "the show must go on." He kept working throughout the 1970s, seemingly in any production that would pay him. Wary of more controversy, he passed up the role of the racist Archie Bunker in the TV classic "All in the Family" (CBS, 1971-79), instead turning to family friendly fare like "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" (ABC, 1970), "The Year Without a Santa Claus" (ABC, 1974), and "Journey Back to Oz" (1974). An inveterate gambler and horse racing aficionado, his love of the ponies found artistic triumph in the film classic "The Black Stallion" (1979). Rooney turned in one of his great performances playing Henry Dailey, a once successful horse trainer who gets one last shot at immortality. Rooney received some of the best reviews of his career for a role that was a metaphor for his own creative resurrection.

Rooney followed up his Academy Award-nominated performance in "The Black Stallion" with a starring role opposite dancer Ann Miller in the long running Broadway hit "Sugar Babies" (1970-1982). Earning a Tony nomination for his stage work, he scored again with an Emmy win playing a mentally handicapped man in the TV drama "Bill" (CBS, 1981). It was the high-water mark of Rooney's career: film, stage, and TV work of the highest quality all within a couple years and late in the game. And while he did not hit such a hot streak again, Rooney had proven to his loyal fans and vocal detractors that he still had the goods. He continued working steadily on TV and in movies such as "Night at the Museum" (2006), as well as the theater. He even traveled the world in a multi-media live stage production called "Let's Put on a Show!" recounting his long, eventful life in show business to his still sizable fan base.

In 2011, Rooney accused his stepson Chris Aber of committing elder abuse against him, including acts of financial malfeasance; Rooney's eighth wife and Aber's mother, Jan Rooney, denied the allegations. Rooney testified about elder abuse before a Senate committee in March 2011 and won a multi-million dollar settlement against Aber. That same year, Rooney made his final feature film appearance with a cameo role in Jason Segel's hit franchise reboot "The Muppets" (2011). Rooney died of undisclosed natural causes on April 6, 2014.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Private Lives of Adam & Eve (1961)
Director
My True Story (1951)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)
Last Will and Embezzlement (2012)
Himself
Empire State Building Murders (2008)
Lost Stallions: The Journey Home (2008)
The Last Confederate: The Story of Robert Adams (2007)
Night at the Museum (2006)
Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (2000)
Voice
Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights (1999)
The First of May (1999)
Killing Midnight (1998)
Babe: Pig in the City (1998)
Animals (1998)
Michael Kael vs. The World News Company (1998)
Griffith
Boys Will be Boys (1997)
The Road Home (1996)
Musicals Great Musicals (1996)
The Legend of O. B. Taggert (1995)
The Adventures of the Red Baron (1994)
That's Entertainment! III (1994)
The Milky Life (1993)
Barry Reilly
Sweet Justice (1993)
The Magic Voyage (1992)
Narrator
Maximum Force (1992)
Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1992)
Voice Of Flip
The Legend of Wolf Mountain (1992)
Jensen
MGM: When the Lion Roars (1992)
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (1991)
Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991)
Joe Petto
Erik The Viking (1989)
Erik'S Grandfather
The Spencer Tracy Legacy (1986)
Little Spies (1986)
Jimmie The Hermit
Lightning - The White Stallion (1986)
Return of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer (1986)
The Care Bears Movie (1985)
Voice Of Cherrywood
Bill on His Own (1983)
Bill Sackter
La Traversee de la Pacific (1982)
Emperor Of Peru
Bill (1981)
Bill Sackter
Senior Trip! (1981)
Himself
Leave 'Em Laughing (1981)
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
Voice
My Kidnapper, My Love (1980)
The Black Stallion (1979)
Arabian Adventure (1979)
The Magic Of Lassie (1978)
Gus
Pete's Dragon (1977)
Lampie
The Domino Principle (1977)
Rachel's Man (1976)
Laban
Bon Baisers de Hong Kong (1975)
Marty
That's Entertainment! (1974)
Narrator
Journey Back to Oz (1974)
Voice
The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
Voice
Richard (1972)
Guardian angel
Pulp (1972)
Preston Gilbert
Evil Roy Slade (1972)
B. J. Lang Presents (1971)
B. J. Lang
The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County (1970)
Indian Tom
Hollywood Blue (1970)
The Comic (1969)
Cockeye
The Extraordinary Seaman (1969)
Cook 3d Class W. J. Oglethorpe
80 Steps to Jonah (1969)
Wilfred Bashford
Skidoo (1968)
"Blue Chips" Packard
The Devil in Love (1968)
Adramalek
24 Hours To Kill (1966)
Norman Jones
Ambush Bay (1966)
Sgt. Ernest Wartell
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965)
Peachy Keane
The Secret Invasion (1964)
Terrence Scanlon
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
Ding Bell
Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)
Army
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Mr. Yunioshi
Everything's Ducky (1961)
Beetle McKay
King of the Roaring 20's--The Story of Arnold Rothstein (1961)
Johnny Burke
The Private Lives of Adam & Eve (1961)
Nick Lewis/The Devil
Platinum High School (1960)
Steven Conway
The Last Mile (1959)
"Killer" [John] Mears, Cell 3
The Big Operator (1959)
"Little Joe" Braun
A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed (1958)
Gus Harris
Andy Hardy Comes Home (1958)
Andy Hardy
Operation Mad Ball (1957)
M/Sgt. Yancy Skibo
Baby Face Nelson (1957)
"Baby Face" Nelson, also known as Lester M. Gillis
Francis in the Haunted House (1956)
David Prescott
The Bold and the Brave (1956)
Willie Dooley
Magnificent Roughnecks (1956)
Frank Sommers
The Twinkle in God's Eye (1955)
Rev. William Macklin II
The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1955)
Mike Forney
Drive a Crooked Road (1954)
Eddie Shannon
The Atomic Kid (1954)
Barnaby "Blix" Waterberry
All Ashore (1953)
Francis "Moby" Dickerson
A Slight Case of Larceny (1953)
Augustus "Geechy" Cheevers
Off Limits (1953)
Herbert Tuttle
Sound Off (1952)
Mike Donnelly
The Strip (1951)
Stanley Maxton
My Outlaw Brother (1951)
Danny O'More
He's a Cockeyed Wonder (1950)
Freddie Frisby
The Fireball (1950)
Johnny Casar
Quicksand (1950)
Dan [Brady]
The Big Wheel (1949)
Billy Coy
Words and Music (1948)
Lorenz "Larry" Hart
Summer Holiday (1948)
Richard Miller
Killer McCoy (1947)
Tommy McCoy
Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1947)
Andy Hardy
National Velvet (1945)
Mi Taylor
Thousands Cheer (1944)
Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944)
Andy Hardy
Girl Crazy (1943)
Danny Churchill, Jr.
The Human Comedy (1943)
Homer Macauley
Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942)
Andy Hardy
The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942)
Andy Hardy
Babes on Broadway (1942)
Tommy Williams
A Yank at Eton (1942)
Timothy Dennis
Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941)
Andy Hardy
Men of Boys Town (1941)
Whitey Marsh
Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941)
Andy Hardy
Strike Up the Band (1940)
Jimmy Connors
Young Tom Edison (1940)
Tom Edison
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940)
Andy Hardy
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939)
Andy Hardy
The Hardys Ride High (1939)
Andy Hardy
Judge Hardy and Son (1939)
Andy Hardy
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939)
Huckleberry Finn
Babes in Arms (1939)
Mickey Moran
Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
Andrew Hardy
Judge Hardy's Children (1938)
Andy Hardy
Boys Town (1938)
Whitey Marsh
Out West with the Hardys (1938)
Andy Hardy
Stablemates (1938)
Mickey
Hold That Kiss (1938)
Chick Evans
Love Is a Headache (1938)
"Mike" [O'Toole]
Lord Jeff (1938)
Terry O'Mulvaney
Live, Love and Learn (1937)
Jerry Crump
Captains Courageous (1937)
Dan [Troop]
Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937)
Timmie Donovan
Hoosier Schoolboy (1937)
Shockey Carter
You're Only Young Once (1937)
Andrew Hardy
Slave Ship (1937)
Swifty
A Family Affair (1937)
Andy Hardy
Riffraff (1936)
Jimmy
Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936)
Dick
Down the Stretch (1936)
Snapper Sinclair
The Devil Is a Sissy (1936)
"Gig" Stevens
Reckless (1935)
Eddie
Ah, Wilderness (1935)
Tommy [Miller]
The County Chairman (1935)
Freckles
The Healer (1935)
Jimmy [also known as Soldier]
Rendezvous (1935)
Country boy
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)
Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, a fairy
Death on the Diamond (1934)
Mickey
I Like It That Way (1934)
Messenger boy
Hide-Out (1934)
Willie [Miller]
Half a Sinner (1934)
Willie [Clark]
Manhattan Melodrama (1934)
Blackie as a boy
Love Birds (1934)
Gladwyn Tootle
Blind Date (1934)
Freddy [Taylor]
Beloved (1934)
Tommy, a violin student
The Lost Jungle (1934)
Chained (1934)
Boy swimmer
The Life of Jimmy Dolan (1933)
Freckles
The Chief (1933)
Willie
Broadway to Hollywood (1933)
Ted Hackett III, as a child
The Big Cage (1933)
Jimmie [O'Hara]
The Big Chance (1933)
Arthur Wilson
The World Changes (1933)
Otto Peterson
Fast Companions (1932)
Midge
My Pal the King (1932)
King Charles [V]

Writer (Feature Film)

The Legend of O. B. Taggert (1995)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

Jaguar (1956)
Associate Producer
The Twinkle in God's Eye (1955)
Producer

Music (Feature Film)

Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (2000)
Song Performer
Leave 'Em Laughing (1981)
Song Performer
Andy Hardy Comes Home (1958)
Composer
Baby Face Nelson (1957)
Composer
The Bold and the Brave (1956)
Composer
The Twinkle in God's Eye (1955)
Composer
Sound Off (1952)
Composer

Production Companies (Feature Film)

The Twinkle in God's Eye (1955)
Company

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Last Will and Embezzlement (2012)
Other
The Muppets (2011)
Cameo
There Must Be a Pony (1986)
Other

Cast (Special)

Gossip: Tabloid Tales (2002)
American Veteran Awards (2002)
Performer
The Last Days of Judy Garland: The E! True Hollywood Story (2001)
Interviewee
Intimate Portrait: Judy Garland (2001)
Intimate Portrait: Ava Gardner (2000)
Interviewee
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs (2000)
Intimate Portrait: Donna Reed (1999)
Elizabeth Taylor: The E! True Hollywood Story (1998)
67th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade (1998)
Private Screenings: Mickey Rooney (1997)
Judy Garland: Beyond the Rainbow (1997)
The 1997 Hollywood Christmas Parade (1997)
Carmen Miranda: The South American Way (1996)
Family Film Awards (1996)
Presenter
Musicals Great Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit at MGM (1996)
Remember When (1995)
Host
The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies (1995)
Mickey Rooney: Hollywood's Little Giant (1995)
The 48th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1991)
Presenter
Stand-Up Comics Take a Stand! (1990)
The Family Channel's Fall Sneak Preview (1990)
Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park Grand Opening (1989)
Miss Hollywood Talent Search (1989)
America's All-Star Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor (1989)
Performer
When We Were Young... Growing Up on the Silver Screen (1989)
O'Malley (1983)
Mike O'Malley
Circus of the Stars (1982)
Ringmaster
Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's All-Star Comedy Birthday Party at West Point (1981)
Raquel (1980)
Cabbie
Dick Cavett's Backlot USA (1976)
Fol-De-Rol (1972)
The Wonderful World of Burlesque II (1966)
The Jonathan Winters Special (1964)
Guest
Amos Burke: Who Killed Julie Greer? (1961)
Mike Zampini
The Many Sides of Mickey Rooney (1960)
Host
The Comedian (1957)
Sammy Hograth
Pinocchio (1957)
Pinocchio

Music (Special)

Kathie Lee Gifford's Lullabies For Little Ones (1996)
Song ("Love Is Being Loved")

Cast (Short)

The Lion Roars Again (1975)
Himself
That's Entertainment! (Gala Premiere) (1974)
Himself
Just One More Time (1974)
Himself
Personalities (1942)
Himself
Cavalcade of the Academy Awards (1940)
Himself
Rodeo Dough (1940)
Himself
Loews Christmas Greeting (The Hardy Family) (1939)
Hollywood Handicap (1938)
Himself
"Andy Hardy's Dilemma" A Lesson in Mathematics - and Other Things (1938)
Another Romance of Celluloid (1938)
Himself
Cinema Circus (1937)
Himself
Pirate Party on Catalina Isle (1935)
Himself

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Phantom of the Megaplex (2000)
Bluegrass (1988)
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (1984)
Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July (1979)
Voice
Donovan's Kid (1979)

Life Events

1922

First appeared onstage as part of his parents' vaudeville act

1927

Starred as Mickey McGuire in over 50 installments of a two-reel comedy series

1934

Started his film career with nearly a dozen credits in a single year, including roles in "Manhattan Melodrama" and "I Like It That Way"

1934

Signed to MGM

1935

Acted in "Ah, Wilderness," a film adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's comedy

1935

Played Puck in a star-studded film production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," starring James Cagney and Olivia de Haviland

1936

Featured in the sentimental "Little Lord Fauntleroy" starring Freddie Bartholomew

1937

First of ten films with Judy Garland, "Thoroughbreds Don't Cry"

1937

Debuted as Andy Hardy in "A Family Affair"

1938

Had acclaimed roles in "Boys Town" and "Love Finds Andy Hardy"

1938

Awarded an honorary Academy Award along with fellow teen star Deanna Durbin

1939

Starred with Judy Garland in Busby Berkeley's "Babes in Arms"; earned first Oscar nomination

1940

Re-teamed with Garland and Berkeley in "Strike Up the Band"

1941

Third collaboration with Berkeley and Garland, "Babes on Broadway"

1943

Received an Oscar nomination for his performance as a teenager who takes over as man of the house in "The Human Comedy"

1946

First postwar film, "Love Laughs at Andy Hardy"; the last installment of the series for 12 years

1948

Played Lorenz Hart opposite Tom Drake's Richard Rodgers in "Words and Music"; final film with Garland

1948

Starred as the older brother of the character he played in "Ah, Wilderness" (1935) in the musical adaptation "Summer Holiday"

1951

Feature film directorial debut, "My True Story"

1956

Gave a memorable performance in the World War II drama "The Bold and the Brave"; nominated for Oscar for his performance

1957

Starred as the titular gangster in "Baby Face Nelson"

1958

Made last Andy Hardy film, "Andy Hardy Comes Home"

1959

Played a death row inmate in "The Last Mile"

1960

Directed second feature film, "The Private Lives of Adam and Eve"

1961

Gave a charmless performance as an Asian man taken with Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

1963

Featured in the ensemble comedy "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"

1979

Co-starred in "The Black Stallion"; earned fourth Oscar nomination

1980

Starred on Broadway, opposite Ann Miller, in the popular revue "Sugar Babies"; received a Tony nomination

1981

Played Bill Sackler, a man faced with reassimilating to life outside a mental institution, in the fact-based CBS TV-movie "Bill"

1982

Awarded second Honorary Oscar

1983

Reprised title role in the CBS TV-movie sequel "Bill on His Own"

1994

Wrote first novel, <i>The Search for Sonny Skies</i>

1994

Co-hosted the compilation feature documentary, "That's Entertainment III," a retrospective salute to the MGM musicals from the 1920s through the 50s

1995

Appeared in the Toronto production of "Crazy for You," a stage adaptation of his film "Girl Crazy"

2000

Featured in the Disney Channel TV-movie "Phantom of the Megaplex"

2006

Cast opposite Ben Stiller in the action-adventure-comedy "Night at the Museum"

2008

Starred as Chief, a wise old ranch owner, in the independent family feature film "Lost Stallions: The Journey Home"

Photo Collections

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) - Scene Stills
Here are some scene stills from the all-star Warner Bros. production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), directed by Max Reinhardt and William Dieterle.
Andy Hardy's Private Secretary - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941), starring Mickey Rooney and Kathryn Grayson. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
Strike Up the Band - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are some photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Strike Up the Band (1940), starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland and directed by Busby Berkeley.
A Yank at Eton - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's A Yank at Eton (1942), starring Mickey Rooney. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
Andy Hardy's Double Life - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942), starring Mickey Rooney and Esther Williams. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
The Wizard of Oz - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are some photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's The Wizard of Oz (1939), directed by Victor Fleming.
Babes on Broadway - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's Babes on Broadway (1942), starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
Lassie Come Home - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Lassie Come Home (1943), starring Lassie and Roddy McDowall.
Cat On a Hot Tin Roof - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (1958), starring Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, and Burl Ives, and directed by Richard Brooks.
Boys Town - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Boys Town (1938), starring Mickey Rooney.
Drive a Crooked Road - Movie Posters
Drive a Crooked Road - Movie Posters
Drive a Crooked Road - Lobby Card Set
Drive a Crooked Road - Lobby Card Set
Drive a Crooked Road - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Drive a Crooked Road - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Killer McCoy - Movie Poster
Killer McCoy - Movie Poster
Quicksand - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release movie posters for United Artists' Quicksand (1950), starring Mickey Rooney, Jeanne Cagney, and Peter Lorre.
The Human Comedy - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's The Human Comedy (1943), starring Mickey Rooney. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
The Strip - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from MGM's The Strip (1951), starring Mickey Rooney. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, taken for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Young Tom Edison - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Young Tom Edison (1940), starring Mickey Rooney. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Babes in Arms - Premiere Photo
Here is a photo of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood for the premiere of Babes in Arms (1939).
Life Begins for Andy Hardy - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release movie posters for MGM's Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941), starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.
Andy Hardy's Double Life - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942), starring Mickey Rooney and Esther Williams.
Andy Hardy's Private Secretary - Publicity Stills
Here are a few publicity stills from MGM's Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941), starring Mickey Rooney. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Devil Is a Sissy - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Here is a photo taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's The Devil Is a Sissy (1936), starring Mickey Rooney and directed by W. S. Van Dyke.
Broadway to Hollywood - Mickey Rooney Publicity Still
Here is a publicity still of Mickey Rooney from Broadway to Hollywood (1933), one of his first roles after signing with MGM.
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante Publicity Stills
Here are a few publicity stills from MGM's Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940), starring Mickey Rooney. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Random Harvest - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several behind-the-scenes photos taken during production of MGM's Random Harvest (1942), starring Ronald Colman and Greer Garson, and directed by Mervyn LeRoy.
Operation Mad Ball - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from Columbia's Operation Mad Ball (1957), starring Jack Lemmon and Mickey Rooney. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Love Finds Andy Hardy - Publicity Stills
Here are some publicity stills from Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Judge Hardy and Son - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from MGM's Judge Hardy and Son (1939), starring Mickey Rooney and Lewis Stone.
Du Barry Was a Lady - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Du Barry Was a Lady (1943), starring Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, and Zero Mostel.
The Courtship of Andy Hardy - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942), starring Mickey Rooney. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
Bells Are Ringing - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are a number of photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Bells Are Ringing (1960), starring Judy Holliday and Dean Martin, and directed by Vincente Minnelli.
Words and Music - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for the MGM musical Words and Music (1948). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Judge Hardy and Son - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for MGM's Judge Hardy and Son (1939). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Men of Boys Town - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Men of Boys Town (1941), starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney.

Videos

Movie Clip

Girl Crazy (1943) - Grinding Coffee Their first meeting in their last co-starring MGM Musical, frisky Mickey Rooney as east-coast publishing-heir playboy Danny, banished to college out west, meets taller and prettier Judy Garland, whom we’ll learn is the college post-mistress Ginger, in the all-Gershwin full-tilt Freed Unit production, Girl Crazy, 1943.
Girl Crazy (1943) - But Not For Me Feeling a fairly complex disappointment for having become vested in the college beauty pageant, post-mistress Ginger (Judy Garland) finds another George & Ira Gershwin tune from the original Broadway hit, good guy Rags (Ragland) attempting consolation, in MGM's Girl Crazy, 1943, also starring Mickey Rooney.
Girl Crazy (1943) - Could You Use Me? One of only a couple numbers they perform together in their last MGM co-starring vehicle, it’s fallen to pretty college post-mistress Ginger (Judy Garland) to take departing playboy-heir student to the train to go home, his only regret in leaving her behind, with a George & Ira Gershwin tune, in Girl Crazy, 1943.
Summer Holiday (1948) - Our Home Town From the top, Walter Huston as dad Nat Miller introduces the gimmick, original tunes by Harry Warren and Ralph Blane serving as exposition in the musical adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness, bringing in Butch Jenkins, Michael Kirby, Marilyn Maxwell, Selena Royle, Frank Morgan and Agnes Moorehead, in Summer Holiday, 1948, produced by Arthur Freed for MGM.
Summer Holiday (1948) - Afraid To Fall In Love Setting may look a little more Hollywood than the purported Danville, Connecticut, but Mickey Rooney as graduating Richard is lobbying for a smooch from girlfriend Muriel (Gloria De Haven), director Rouben Mamoulian giving them rope with a Harry Warren/Ralph Blane original, in Summer Holiday, 1948, from producer Arthur Freed for MGM.
Summer Holiday (1948) - The Stanley Steamer Graduation from Danville, CT High School, June 1906, Mickey Rooney as ebullient Richard hears first from Gloria De Haven as girlfriend Muriel, then joins Agnes Moorehed (“Cousin Lily”) and his dad (Walter Huston) as they board the genuine car, with another original song by Harry Warren and Ralph Blane, in the musical adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness!, from MGM’s Arthur Freed unit, Summer Holiday, 1948.
Lord Jeff (1938) - Any Major Infractions Captain Briggs (Charles Coburn), head of the Russell-Cotes naval academy, addresses the boys with good news, then chats with Terry O'Mulvaney (Mickey Rooney), then new boy Geoffrey (Freddie Bartholomew), about an earlier incident, in MGM's Lord Jeff, 1938.
Family Affair, A (1937) - Keep It Dark! Mom Hardy (Spring Byington) and Aunt Milly (Sara Haden) with Andy (Mickey Rooney, his first scene in the role) taking a call from sister Marion (Cecilia Parker), and the judge (Lionel Barrymore) arrives home, in the first Hardy family movie, A Family Affair, 1937.
Black Stallion, The (1979) - Off The Coast Of North Africa, 1946 Director Carroll Ballard’s opening, dialogue free, evoking the initial premise of the novel by Walter Farley, introducing star Kelly Reno as young American Alec, and Cass-Olé, the Texas-bred Arabian trained for the film by Glen, J.R. and Corky Randall, in The Black Stallion, 1979.
Pete's Dragon (1977) - I Saw A Dragon! Mickey Rooney as local lush Lampie is the first able to see dragon Elliott (voice by Charlie Callas), friend of orphan Pete (Sean Marshall), and in a hurry to explain to his pals and daughter Nora (Helen Reddy), song by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn, in the Disney original musical Pete’s Dragon, 1977.
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940) - There's A General Housework Girl The Hardy family (Lewis Stone, Fay Holden, Cecilia Parker as Marian and Mickey Rooney as Andy) travels from Carmel (somewhere in the midwest…) to New York, on the judge’s legal business, where hometown friend Betsy (Judy Garland) has arranged lodging, early in Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, 1940.
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940) - My Morning Ablutions Opening finds star Mickey Rooney in bed with a magazine featuring Diana Lewis as his faraway crush, the other title character, masking his obsession behind botany, his mom and aunt Milly (Fay Holden, Sara Haden), not yet catching on, in Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, 1940.

Trailer

Love Finds Andy Hardy - (Original Trailer) A small-town boy tries to juggle two girlfriends at once in Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.
Girl Crazy (1943) - (Original Trailer) A womanizing playboy finds true love when he's sent to a desert college in Girl Crazy (1943) starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.
Young Tom Edison -- (Original Trailer) Mickey Rooney is Young Tom Edison (1940), defying authority to develop his first inventions.
Hold That Kiss - (Original Trailer) Romance blossoms when a man and woman each think the other is rich in Hold That Kiss (1938) starring Maureen O'Sullivan.
Hardys Ride High, The - (Original Trailer) In the sixth Hardy Family movie, The Hardys Ride High (1939) after they inherit a fortune but Andy has trouble adjusting to society life.
Live, Love and Learn - (Original Trailer) A bohemian artist (Robert Montgomery) and a society girl (Rosalind Russell) try to adjust to marriage. Co-starring Robert Benchley and Mickey Rooney.
Black Stallion, The - (Original Trailer) A boy and a horse forge a close friendship after being shipwrecked together in Africa in The Black Stallion (1979), directed by Carroll Ballard and produced by Fred Roos and Tom Sternberg.
Love Is A Headache - (Original Trailer) A freak accident gives a fading actress (Gladys George) a huge publicity push in Love Is A Headache (1938).
Drive A Crooked Road - (Original Trailer) A mechanic (Mickey Rooney) gets caught up with the mob when he falls for a gangster's girlfriend in Drive A Crooked Road (1954).
Down the Stretch - (Original Trailer) A disgraced jockey's son (Mickey Rooney) fights to clear the family name in Down the Stretch (1936).
Bridges At Toko-Ri, The - (Re-Issue Trailer) Two jet pilots forge a lasting friendship while fighting the Korean War in The Bridges At Toko-Ri (1954).
Andy Hardy's Private Secretary - (Original Trailer) For number 11 in the series, Andy feels he needs social assistance in Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941).

Family

Mickey Rooney Jr
Son
Musician. Bass player with Willie Nelson's band; mother, Betty Jane Rase.
Timothy Rooney
Son
Actor. Mother, Betty Jane Rase.
Theodore Rooney
Son
Actor. Mother, Martha Vickers.
Kelly Ann Rooney
Daughter
Mother, Barbara Thomason.
Kerry Rooney
Daughter
Mother, Barbara Thomason.
Kyle Rooney
Son
Choreographer. Mother, Barbara Thomason.
Kimmy Sue Rooney
Daughter
Mother, Barbara Thomason.
Jimmy Rooney
Son
Adopted by Rooney; mother, Carolyn Hockett.
Jonelle Rooney
Daughter
Mother, Carolyn Hockett.

Companions

Norma Shearer
Companion
Actor. Rooney was still in his teens when they were romantically involved.
Ava Gardner
Wife
Actor. Married in 1942; divorced in 1943.
Betty Jane Rase
Wife
Married in 1944; divorced in 1949.
Martha Vickers
Wife
Actor. Married in 1949; divorced in 1951.
Elaine Mahnken
Wife
Married in 1952; divorced in 1958.
Barbara Thomason
Wife
Married from 1958 until her murder by a jealous lover in 1966.
Margie Lane
Wife
Married in 1966; divorced in 1967.
Carolyn Hockett
Wife
Married in 1969; divorced in 1974.
Jan Chamberlain
Wife
Singer, songwriter. Married in 1978.

Bibliography

"The Search for Sonny Skies"
Mickey Rooney (1994)
"Life is Too Short"
Mickey Rooney, Villard Books (1991)
"Me & You"
Mickey Rooney (1990)

Notes

Rooney has been nominated for four Oscars: as Best Actor in 1939 (for "Babes in Arms") and 1943 (for "The Human Comedy") and as Best Supporting Actor in 1956 (for "The Bold and the Brave") and 1979 (for "The Black Stallion").

Rooney underwent open heart surgery in December 2000.