Monday, April 7, 2014

Mickey Rooney, 1920-2014

It's just come over the wires that actor Mickey Rooney has died at age 93.

The number of people who have been alive long enough to remember Rooney's star-making series, when he was a teenager playing the role of Andy Hardy, is rapidly dwindling; Rooney was one of the last refugees of the silent film era; their confirmed number now drops to a mere 13, five of which are Our Gang alumni. If you don't remember him from much else in particular (though he was in Breakfast at Tiffany's, his otherwise biggest movie credit), that's because Rooney was among the many, many child stars through the years who had a rough professional transition into adulthood, especially because by the time he was largely done playing Andy Hardy- and entertaining troops overseas in World War 2- he had gotten somewhat typecast, with his small size kept him out of a lot of adult roles. He more or less bounced around from guest appearance to guest appearance, suffering bankruptcy in 1962, until he managed to largely transition to TV. His most notable appearance there was as horse trainer Henry Dailey in the three-season Adventures of the Black Stallion. He never really stopped working entirely, though, as he was taking bit part after guest appearance right up until his final illness.

I am not old enough to remember any of these (technically I am old enough for the latter, but it was a Canadian series and I wouldn't have watched it anyway). I unfortunately only remember Rooney as a go-to 'short old guy' joke in animated series, such as being cast as Fallout Boy in an episode of The Simpsons. Or this:

So while I may not have the greatest eulogy in the world to give you, Mickey, you're going to be missed by a lot of people who do have them.

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