April 7th, 2014

RIP Mickey Rooney

Actor Mickey Rooney has died at 93.

In my mind, I picture him as an irrepressible young man; that’s the age he was when he gained his greatest fame. As a child, I watched the Andy Hardy movies on my black-and-white TV. Whenever it rained at summer camp they’d show seemingly endless films, a great many of which featured Rooney with horses. I wasn’t all that interested in the horses, but I loved Rooney’s energy and cocky attitude.

That energy took him through a long long life—not to mention eight wives, including the beauteous Ava Gardner.

I could put up any number of clips here, but for some reason this one comes to mind first, made when Rooney was about fifteen. “Goodnight unto you all!”:

But perhaps his greatest joy was performing with Judy Garland. Now that we’ve said good-night, let’s say “good morning”:

RIP.

18 Responses to “RIP Mickey Rooney”

  1. Steve Says:

    I read that he died and immediately thought of checking here to see if you had a post.

    It is sad to lose someone who fills our memories. He was a character. Feisty. And very fond of Judy Garland.

  2. Mac Says:

    I never was more than vaguely aware of Mickey Rooney. But I recently saw an old crime drama in which he starred, and was struck by what a good actor he was. (brief review here if anyone is interested.) Also, coincidentally, not long after in a much later one…name escapes me at the moment…in which he was a villain, and he was good in that, too. In short, much more of an actor than I had realized. RIP.

  3. Ann Says:

    On a happier note, Doris Day turned 90 just a few days ago, and gave People magazine an exclusive photo — she still has that smile.

  4. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Both impeccable performances.

    My 92 year old Dad tells me that in his private life he wasn’t always such a great guy. He could be very rude to fans who had approached him politely.

    Rooney developed a reputation as a hard-partying, off-screen brat in his heyday and “Off the screen, the young Rooney was the Justin Beiber of his time. His fame, money, gambling, lust and mercurial nature were problems for the MGM studio, which did not like seeing its young star sully his reputation and box-office potential.

    The studio assigned a full-time staffer to keep Rooney out of trouble but his antics still frequently ended up in gossip columns.”

  5. texexec Says:

    “Let’s put on a show!”

  6. Dennis Says:

    I was recently flipping channels and happened on the Turner Movie Channel while they were showing an Eleanor Powell/Red Skelton movie (don’t remember the title). The movie was B-quality—maybe, but the performances were spectacular. She did a number called the Cowboy Rope Dance, they both did a scene where she was drugged and totally limp while Red tried to put her to bed-absolutely hilarious, and she finished off with one of the most athletic dances I have ever seen, man or woman.
    What really struck me was that even with a pretty poor premise for a movie, these two professionals’ talent comes through brightly. The same with Bogart and Bacall and the rest. It seems they could do anything while the current crop appear to have a much narrower ability. I think perhaps it’s because the old timers had to work up through a much more extensive apprenticeship.

  7. Lurker Says:

    I am sorry to say that I most remember the quest for the Mountain Fresh Rainier in the mid-70s.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocfToV3xzUY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwH-HRTAOV0

  8. J.J. Says:

    Mickey Rooney was a hard-living, big star who managed to keep on keeping on much longer than most doctors would have predicted. He could be a jerk, but there was never any doubt about his talent.

    My favorite was his role as Chief Mike Forney, USN, in “The Bridges at Toko-Ri.” IMO, it was brilliantly done but may just have been Mickey playing Mickey. :-)

    RIP!

  9. southpaw Says:

    I didn’t realize the little twerp was married to Ava Gardner. That in itself is a noteworthy achievement, and I have a new found respect for his impeccable taste in women. A lucky, lucky man.

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    southpaw:

    A few of the details here and here.

  11. DNW Says:

    “That energy took him through a long long life—not to mention eight wives, including the beauteous Ava Gardner.”

    Hollywood was filled with beautiful women – or women who looked, or were made to look beautiful on screen.

    Gardner’s appeal to those older generations has always mystified me; though obviously I am not of that time and place where I would have been able to place her is a current social context, or have seen her on anything other than a TV screen. I think I have seen her in “Mogambo” reruns mostly.

    That said, I don’t think that she creeped me out as a kid in the way that Lauren Bacall, another so-called Hollywood beauty did, when I saw her in old movies.

    But then, ideas of beauty change with culture, and are somewhat personal anyway.

    It’s also obviously got something to do with health and vitality and reproductive fitness on a fundamental level, but after that all bets are probably, more or less, off.

    More or less, probably, maybe, I guess.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    Gardner’s appeal mystifies you?

    I’m a heterosexual woman, and it sure doesn’t mystify me.

    Try this, or perhaps this or this.

  13. CBDenver Says:

    The story of Rooney’s wife who was murdered is a real doozy http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2005/oct/17/theatre

  14. DNW Says:

    Neo-neocon Says:
    April 8th, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    DNW:

    Gardner’s appeal mystifies you?

    I’m a heterosexual woman, and it sure doesn’t mystify me.

    Try this, or perhaps this or this.”

    Well, those aren’t fair pictures. She doesn’t have that vaguely mentally disturbed look in these. Where’s that boozy looking woman with the puffy eyes?

    Still, in a competition over old time actresses (as they looked of course and not as they were in reality, as we have no way of knowing), I’d choose Eleanor whatshername in the Marabunta movie, over this one in Mogambo. Though obviously the African movie was better made, certainly pricier, than that South American grade B pot boiler.

    But you know … that’s just me.

  15. DNW Says:

    Search: Elanor and marabunta.

    Search: Elanor Parker and marabunta

    Cuando Ruge … something

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQWs5h8tKL0

    Ain’t the Internet great?

    And yes, Gardner had sex appeal. And on topic, RIP Rooney, as well.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    Those photos were taken before the booze and all the rest got to her.

    I’ve read that she wasn’t even especially photogenic, and that in person she was 100 times more beautiful than in her photos. Those who knew her in the early days have reported she was considered by many to be the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.

    More here on what I mean by “all the rest.”

  17. DNW Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    April 8th, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    DNW:

    Those photos were taken before the booze and all the rest got to her.

    I’ve read that she wasn’t even especially photogenic, and that in person she was 100 times more beautiful than in her photos. Those who knew her in the early days have reported she was considered by many to be the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.

    More here on what I mean by “all the rest.””

    Ok, I’ll take a look. Thinking carefully about it, I’d have to admit that I probably had her confused with Eddie Munster’s mother for a very long time. By the time I was an adult and noticed the difference …

  18. Richard Saunders Says:

    Did you see that man SMOKING in the clip? No wonder Mickey died at such a young age! And now we know the REAL cause of Garland’s death!

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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