Actor Mickey Rooney was born Joe Yule Jnr in Brooklyn New York, on 23 September 1920 and died on 6 April 2014. His parents, Nell Carter and comic Joe Yule Sr, were in vaudeville, and he made his first stage appearance as part of their act when he was just fifteen months old. His parents divorced when he was three, and his mother gained custody. Under her aegis he made his screen debut at the age of six, as a cigar smoking midget in the short silent film Not to Be Trusted, followed a year later with a full length feature Orchids and Ermine.

Between the ages of six and twelve years old, he starred, under the name of Mickey Maguire, in more than fifty two-reeler comedies, before he changed his name again to Mickey Rooney in 1932, when he started appearing in feature films. He was signed to a contract as one of MGM’s stable of juvenile stars in 1934, and made a minor sensation as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream when he was just fifteen.

Rooney’s role as Andy Hardy in the movie A Family Affair in 1937 was the one destined to make him a star – although conceived as a B Movie, it proved so popular that fifteen more Andy Hardy films were made – and Rooney was perfect as the wise-cracking boy-next-door character. Rooney also starred with another MGM juvenile, Judy Garland, in a series of musicals – these were the classic "Why don’t we do the show right here?" type, that became the pattern for musicals starring young performers ever since – they were probably the most fun Rooney had. They allowed him to show off a very fine voice, and his relationship with Garland "Couldn’t have been closer if we’d come from the same womb".

In addition to all this, he was also playing dramatic roles in films like Boys Town (1938). MGM drove its child-stars hard (Judy Garland’s biography indicates that it was common practice to pump them full of drugs to keep them buzzed for their punishing schedules), but it doesn’t seem to have left the same scars on Rooney that it did on his co-star.

By 1939 he was America's biggest box-office draw, and shared a special Oscar with Deanna Durbin for "significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth, and as a juvenile player setting a high standard of ability and achievement."

In 1942, he married for the first time to Ava Gardner, but they divorced within 18 months. He remained popular throughout the early forties, and he was called to serve in 1944 to serve with a unit of entertainment artists in WWII, when he married Betty Jane Rase, this marriage lasted four years, and produced two sons . His absence from the screen during this period dented his popularity, and he never achieved the same level thereafter.

Much of the problem stemmed from how Rooney looked – at five feet three inches, with a chubby, baby face he had everything needed for a juvenile star, but not to make the leap to an adult lead, despite a prodigious musical and acting talent.

Rooney formed his own production company in the late 1940s (making his debut as a director with My True Story), and contracted his third marriage to Martha Vickers with whom he had another son. Both were disastrous – the marriage ended in yet another divorce in 1952, and the production company in bankruptcy. Rooney accepted several low quality roles which paid off his debts, but did nothing for his reputation.

He married, yet again, in 1952 to Elaine Mahnken, who he divorced in 1958

By the mid-1950s, though, things took a turn for the better. Rooney produced three movies, The Twinkle in God's Eye The Atomic Kid, Jaguar between 1954 and 1956 and began to establish himself as a character actor with good roles in good films, such as the title role in Baby Face Nelson (1957), in which he had the title role, and in 1958 he married Barbara Ann Thompson (who had a brief film career as Carolyn Mitchell). He also directed his second movie The Private Lives of Adam and Eve in 1961.

The relationship with Barbara produced three daughters and a son, and at eight years, had lasted twice as long as any previous marriage, ending tragically when Barbara was murdered by Milos Milosovic, who then committed suicide. Rooney, distraught, turned to Barbara’s friend Marge Lane for comfort and help with taking care of his young family. He married her in 1967, but this time the split came after just 100 days.

Rooney has continued to work , (and to marry) right up to the present, beginning a stage career in the late 1970s making his Broadway debut at the age of 59, with Sugar Babies. His seventh marriage to Carolyn Hockett lasted from 1969-1974, and his current relationship, to Jan Chamberlain, looks likely to be his last, having survived 23 years.

On the subject of marriage, Rooney says: "When I say I do, the Justice of the Peace replies, 'I know, I know.' I'm the only man in the world whose marriage license reads, 'To Whom it May Concern.' But to have been married eight times is not normal. That's only half-way intelligent."

Rooney has earned four Oscar nominations, two for Best Actor (Babes in Arms in 1939 and Human Comedy in 1943) and two for Best Supporting Actor (The Bold and the Brave in 1956 and 1979's The Black Stallion) He won a Golden Globe for the TV movie Bill, and in 1983 he received a special Lifetime Achievement Oscar, "in recognition of his 60 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances." Rooney is also the author of two autobiographies, i.e. and Life Is Too Short .

Rooney summarises his life thus: ”"Had I been brighter, the ladies been gentler, the Scotch weaker, the gods kinder, the dice hotter - it might have all ended up in a one-sentence story."

Flim and TV

Not to Be Trusted
Orchids and Ermine (uncredited)
Mickey's Big Idea
Sin's Pay Day
High Speed
The Beast of the City (uncredited)
Fast Companions
My Pal, the King
Officer Thirteen (uncredited)
Love Birds
The Chief
The Big Chance
The Big Cage
The Life of Jimmy Dolan
Broadway to Hollywood
The World Changes
Half a Sinner
Death on the Diamond
Blind Date
Beloved (uncredited)
The Lost Jungle
I Like It That Way
Manhattan Melodrama
Chained (uncredited)
Pirate Party on Catalina Isle (uncredited)
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The County Chairman
Ah, Wilderness!
Little Pal
Little Lord Fauntleroy
Down the Stretch
The Devil Is a Sissy
Thoroughbreds Don't Cry
Slave Ship
A Family Affair
Cinema Circus
Captains Courageous
Hoosier Schoolboy
Live, Love and Learn
You're Only Young Once
Love Is a Headache
Hollywood Handicap (uncredited)
Hold That Kiss
Andy Hardy's Dilemma
Lord Jeff
Love Finds Andy Hardy
Boys Town
Out West with the Hardys
Judge Hardy's Children
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Babes in Arms
Judge Hardy and Son
The Hardys Ride High
Young Tom Edison
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante
Strike Up the Band
Rodeo Dough
Life Begins for Andy Hardy
Babes on Broadway
Men of Boys Town
Andy Hardy's Private Sectetary
A Yank at Eton
The Courtship of Andy Hardy
Andy Hardy's Double Life
Thousands Cheer
Show Business at War
The Human Comedy
Girl Crazy
National Velvet
Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble
Love Laughs at Andy Hardy
Killer McCoy
Words and Music
Summer Holiday
The Big Wheel
He's a Cockeyed Wonder
The Fireball
The Strip
My Outlaw Brother
Sound Off
A Slight Case of Larceny
Mickey Rooney, Then and Now
All Ashore
Off Limits
Drive a Crooked Road
The Bridges at Toko-Ri
The Mickey Rooney Show (TV series)
The Atomic Kid
The Twinkle in God's Eye
Magnificent Roughnecks
Francis in the Haunted House
The Bold and the Brave
Pinocchio (TV)
The Comedian (TV)
Baby Face Nelson
Operation Mad Ball
Glamorous Hollywood
Andy Hardy Comes Home
A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed
The Big Operator
The Last Mile
Platinum High School
The Private Lives of Adam and Eve
King of the Roaring 20's - The Story of Arnold Rothstein
Everything's Ducky
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Requiem for a Heavyweight
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
The Secret Invasion
Mickey (TV Series)
Twenty-Four Hours to Kill
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini
Ambush Bay
The Extraordinary Seaman
The Comic
80 Steps to Johah
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (TV)
Hollywood Blue
Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County
The Manipulator
Journey Back to Oz
Evil Roy Slade (TV)
The Godmothers
NBC Follies (TV Series)
The Year Without a Santa Claus (TV)
Thunder County
Rachel's Man
Juego sucio en Panam?
Ace of Hearts
That's Entertainment!
Bons baisers de Hong Kong
Find the Lady
The Domino Principle
Pete's Dragon
The Magic of Lassie
Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July (TV)
Donovan's Kid (TV)
The Black Stallion
Arabian Adventure
My Kidnapper, My Love (TV)
The Emperor of Peru
Leave 'em Laughing (TV)
The Fox and the Hound (voice)
Bill (TV)
Senior Trip (TV)
One of the Boys (TV Series)
Bill: On His Own (TV)
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (TV)
That's Dancing! (archive footage)
The Care Bears Movie (voice)
The Return of Micky Spillane's Mike Hammer (TV)
Little Spies (TV)
Lightning, the White Stallion
There Must Be a Pony (TV)
Bluegrass (TV)
Erik the Viking
Home for Christmas
The Black Stallion (TV Series)
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (TV)
La Vida lactea
Sweet Justice
Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker
Maximum Force
Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (voice)
The Legend of Wolf Mountain
Revenge of the Red Baron
Radop Star
Making Waves
The Legend of O.B. Taggart
A Century of Cinema
That's Entertainment! III
Brothers' Destiny (TV)
Kings of the Court (TV)
Boys Will Be Boys
The Face on the Barroom Floor
Michael Kael in Katango
Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights
Babe: Pig in the City
The First of May
Lady & The Tramp II - Scamp's Adventure
The Black Stallion, The Black Stallion Returns

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