This morning the world learned of the passing of the Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney. He was 93 and died of natural causes. His legacy is huge, spanning nine decades and including over two hundred films and numerous television shows. Married eight times, he received many awards in his life, including two honorary Oscars, one in 1939 and the other in 1982.
There was something about Mickey that we all loved. Maybe it was his childish behavior, or perhaps, we just realized how much he wanted to entertain us. Part of that golden-era of film that included: Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Ann Rutherford, and others, Mickey Rooney simply made us laugh and feel good.
Of the many roles he played, he will be remembered largely for playing Judge Hardy’s impetuous teenage son Andy. The Andy Hardy films (16 different films) were made during the 1930’s and 1940’s and Mickey Rooney became the number 1 box office draw in the country.
Andy Hardy became real to a world of viewers. His zest for life was contagious. He came along just when America needed his “can do” attitude. He was always getting into romantic scrapes, but he came out on top each time. In a way, Andy Hardy offered hope to a world needing it.
In “Love Laughs at Andy Hardy,” in one scene Andy is attending a college dance party. Not realizing the pretty girl was also very tall, pint sized Andy pulls the young lady onto the dance floor and they began jitterbugging. Most of the other dancers cleared the floor and watched the hilarious spectacle. They looked ridiculous dancing together and the scene has become a classic.
Mickey Rooney, like Andy Hardy, always found a way of landing on his feet, and, of course, he always got the girl. The worst thing that would ever happen to our hero Andy was that Judge Hardy would scold him a bit, but he always gave him another chance.
To many, Mickey Rooney will always be remembered as Andy Hardy. We all loved the child in Mickey; always young and energetic, and ready to take on the world. Thanks for the memories.