Monday, April 7, 2014

Mickey Rooney (1920-2014)

Don't be surprised if TCM pulls out an "Andy Hardy" movie marathon sometime in the next few days, in tribute to Andy himself, Mickey Rooney, who passed away Sunday at 93.

Rooney's show-biz career began when he was just a baby, believe it or not. Just a few months, and he was already in front of a camera. He's still best remembered for the "Andy Hardy" series, in which he co-starred with Judy Garland. He also did television, making his small-screen debut in the self-produced Mickey Rooney Show, aka Hey, Mulligan, in 1954, playing the son of a police officer. The series was co-created by prolific writer Blake Edwards, better known, of course, for Peter Gunn and the original "Pink Panther" movies.

Rooney also was on Broadway, in such productions as "Sugar Babies", and he made dramatic films, such as "Boys Town" (with Spencer Tracy). His last television series was the short-lived One of the Boys in the early 80's. Not even the lure of Rooney in a weekly series was enough to get it over the hump. I don't think it even lasted a full season, unlike The Mickey Rooney Show, which we're going to take a look at. Here's the first episode:

As long as I'm thinking of it, condolences also to comic John Pinette, who passed away at 50 due to liver issues. Pinette appeared in a couple of the "Revenge of the Nerds" movies and the 2004 remake of "The Punisher", in a more serious role, opposite Thomas Jane and John Travolta. Rest in peace, gentlemen.


magicdog said...

I've always liked Rooney as a performer, though I had never met him.

My father used to tell me about the time Rooney was arrested for beating his then wife back in the early 60s. It literally was front page news. My father never forgot the photo which showed Rooney behind bars. It made quite an impression! He also told me Rooney had a reputation as a mean drunk. I was disappointed to hear that since he always seemed like such a likeable guy.

I will say it he seemed to have found stability with his last wife. Perhaps she got him to quit drinking and stay straight. Rooney also became a born again Christian, so he must have found salvation in the last few years - I hope he did.

He is truly one of the last of the Old Hollywood era.

Samuel Wilson said...

Rooney separated from the wife a year or so ago and disinherited all his natural kids -- not that his estate has amounted to much. And the TCM marathon in Sunday, April 13.