Sad news this week that Mickey Rooney has passed away at the age of 93. Mickey Rooney was truly a Hollywood great. His career on film began long before there were DVDs in 1926 when he was just 6 years old, however even before that he was already performing on the Vaudeville stage. He proved that during his long career he was one of Hollywood’s most enduring actors. To have a career that spanned Vaudeville, silent movies, entertaining the troops in World War II, TV shows, theatre and over 100 movies is remarkable and something that we will never see again.
Mickey had seen the Golden age of Hollywood and was friends with all the greats of the time. He was especially close with Judy Garland, the two were close friends after appearing in the musical ‘Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry’ in 1937. They went on to do a string of musicals and starred in nine movies together. He also starred with Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet, the film that launched her rise to stardom.
These days actors try not to get typecast in certain roles. For Mickey Rooney his career really took off when he was typecast into the role of Andy Hardy. It began with a film called ‘A Family Affair’ in 1937 where he played Andy Hardy, an all-American teenager. Rooney went on to play the character of Andy Hardy in almost 20 films. However in doing so, made his career and made Mickey Rooney the top box office star in 1939, 1940 and 1941. Mickey went on to play a variety of different roles throughout his career earning him Academy Awards nominations, and Tony nominations for his theatre work in Sugar Babies.
Mickey Rooney continued to work in entertainment his whole life, including recently in The Muppets in 2011, and the role of Mr Louis in the 2014 adaptation of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and reprising his role as Gus for Night At The Museum 3 which began filming earlier this year.
Mickey Rooney was a rarity in this era of being famous for the sake of being famous. He dedicated his life to entertaining others and created a body of work that spanned nine decades. He was the last remaining star of the silent movie era and embodied a version of Hollywood that we won’t see again.