Actor Mickey Rooney dies at age 93
Actor Mickey Rooney, the pint-sized screen dynamo of the 1930s and 1940s best known for his boy-next-door role in the Andy Hardy movies, died on Sunday at 93, the website TMZ reported.
Rooney, who was one of the biggest box office stars of the movies' studio era, had been ill for some time, TMZ said. It did not give a cause of death and a spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Rooney, who spent almost his entire life in show business, teamed up with Judy Garland in the 1939 movie musical Babes in Arms. He also starred with Elizabeth Taylor in 1944's National Velvet, which launched Taylor's career.
Rooney was best known for his role as Andy Hardy, the popular all-American teenager, which he portrayed in about 20 movies.
Rooney was married eight times, the first time to screen beauty Ava Gardner. Asked once if he would marry all his eight wives again, he said, "Absolutely. I loved every one of them."
Born Joe Yule, Jr. in a Brooklyn rooming house on Sept. 23, 1920, Rooney made his first stage appearance as a toddler in the vaudeville act of his father, a comedian, and mother, a dancer.
He made his screen debut at 6, playing the title character Mickey McGuire in 78 film shorts based on the Toonerville Trolley cartoon. In 1932, he changed his screen name to Mickey Rooney and five years later, landed his signature role as plucky teen Andy Hardy, a cheeky boy-next-door prone to romantic mishaps. From 1939 to 1941, he became the nation's No. 1 box-office draw.
After World War II, however, roles dried up and he was dropped from his studio, MGM.
He reinvented himself as a character actor in films such as The Bridges at Toko-Ri in 1954 and Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961.
In the 1970s, he garnered acclaim as a horse trainer in The Black Stallion and returned to the stage in the 1979 Broadway show Sugar Babies, which earned him a Tony nomination.
Besides Gardner, he was married to model Elaine Mahnken, beauty queen Barbara Ann Thomason, and secretary Carolyn Hockett before settling down with country singer Jan Chamberlin in 1978, with whom he went on tour over the years.