On April 6, USA Today reported that Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney died. He was 93 years old, left behind nine children and is also survived by his eighth wife, Jan.
The actor, who is best known for his character in the Andy Hardy movies had more than 200 film credits, won two honorary Oscar awards and made headlines when Fox rejected a Super Bowl commercial because it featured Rooney's rear end.
Many called Mickey Rooney the greatest actor of all time, including Laurence Olivier. While he had a huge presence, he only stood at 5-foot-3. But it wasn't his height that movie watchers took note off, during the Great Depression, when hope and happiness were rare, his performances but a smile on their faces.
Mickey Rooney, who was born as Joe Yule, Jr., entered the world on Sept. 23, 1920 in a Brooklyn, N.Y. rooming house. His mother was a dancer and his father was a comic. At only 17 months of age, he made his first stage appearance and he told BackStage that performing was in his blood and was who he was.
Just like many child stars today, Mickey also had trouble transitioning to adult roles in Hollywood. He was no longer a kid, but also didn't have the stature of a mature leading actor. Instead of giving up or turning into a mess, like some actors and actresses today that have difficulty with the transition, Mickey changed his approach. He reinvented himself as a character actor and appeared in "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" and "The Bold and the Brave."
While work was hard to come by, he still didn't give up. He kept acting and in 1979 he earned a Tony nomination for his work in the Broadway show "Sugar Babies." That same year, he told the Associated Press,
"I was a very famous has-been until this show. Now, it's almost like the resurrection of a career, of someone saying, 'He didn't cop out on us, he's still there.'"
But Rooney's professional career isn't the only thing that fans talked about. His personal life also made headlines. He was married eight times, but insisted that he wasn't addicted to getting hitched. He said that he was very selective and was searching for a lady who knew how to be a woman and that she needed to know how to treat a man.
He walked down the aisle for the last time in 1978 when he married country singer and songwriter Jan Chamberlin. He joked to New York's Daily News,
"I guess I practiced a lot. But you've got to remember, this is the one that counts."
He also wondered why his marrying ways were such a big deal but nobody ever said anything about his good friend Cary Grant, who was married five times.
"It's like my divorces were dastardly deeds." Rooney told People in 1991. "I was supposed to marry my high school sweetheart and go off into the sunset with a box of detergent."
During his last years on this Earth, Mickey Rooney lived with his Jan in Los Angeles surrounded by photographs of loved ones. He spent his time writing, painted and was remained committed to his faith after joining the Church of Religious Science in the 1960s. He also continued to perform and went on the road with his wife in "Let's Put on a Show."
In 2001, he told the Palm Beach Post,
"I don't retire, I inspire. Mickey Rooney is not great. Mickey Rooney was fortunate to have been an infinitesimal part of motion pictures and show business."
Condolences go out to the family and friends of Mickey Rooney.