MICKEY ROONEY Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » mickey rooney


Name: Mickey Rooney                                                                   
Birth name: Joseph Yule, Jr.                                                           
Born: 23 September 1920 Brooklyn, New York                                             
Mickey Rooney (born Joseph Yule, Jr. on September 23, 1920), is an Academy Award-,     
Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-winning American film actor and entertainer whose         
film, television and stage appearances span his lifetime.                             
Rooney was born in Brooklyn, New York to a vaudeville family. His father, Joseph       
Yule, was from Scotland, and his mother, Nellie W. Carter, was from Kansas City,       
Missouri. Both parents were in vaudeville, and appearing in a Brooklyn                 
production of A Gaiety Girl when Joseph, Jr. was born. He began performing at         
the age of fifteen months as part of his parents' routine, wearing a specially         
tailored tuxedo.                                                                       
The Yules separated in 1924 during a slump in vaudeville, and in 1925, Nell Yule       
moved with her son to Hollywood, where she managed a tourist home. Fontaine Fox       
had placed a newspaper ad for a dark haired child to play the role of "Mickey         
McGuire" in a series of short films, and, lacking the money to have her son's         
hair dyed, Mrs. Yule took her son to the audition after applying burnt cork to         
his scalp. Joe got the role and became "Mickey" for 78 of the comedies,               
running from 1927 to 1936, starting with Mickey's Circus, released September 4,       
1927. These had been adapted from the Toonerville Trolley comic strip, which           
contained a character named Mickey McGuire. Joe Yule briefly legally became           
Mickey McGuire to trump an attempted copyright lawsuit (as it was his legal name,     
the movie producers did not owe the comic strip writers royalties).                   
Rooney later claimed that, during his Mickey McGuire days, he met cartoonist           
Walt Disney at the Warner Brothers studio, and that Disney was inspired to name       
Mickey Mouse after him, although Disney always said that he had changed the           
name from "Mortimer Mouse" on the suggestion of his wife. Rooney also took             
credit for giving rising starlet Norma Jean Mortenson the stage name Marilyn           
Monroe, his co-star in the 1950 film 'The Fireball', although she had been so         
billed as early as 1947.                                                               
During an interruption in the series in 1932, Mrs. Yule made plans to take her         
son on a ten week vaudeville tour as McGuire, and Fox sued successfully to stop       
him from using the name. Mrs. Yule suggested the stage name of "Mickey Looney"         
for her comedian son, which he altered slightly to a less frivolous version.           
Rooney did other films, including a few more of the McGuire films, in his             
adolescence, and signed with MGM in 1934. MGM cast Rooney as the teenage son of       
a judge in 1937's A Family Affair, setting Rooney on the way to another               
successful film series.                                                               
In 1937, Rooney was selected to portray Andy Hardy in A Family Affair (1937),         
which MGM had planned as a B-movie. Rooney provided comic relief as the son           
of Judge James K. Hardy, portrayed by Lionel Barrymore (although Lewis Stone           
would play the role of Judge Hardy in later films). The film was an unexpected         
success, and led to thirteen more "Andy Hardy" films between 1937 and 1946, and       
then one final "Andy Hardy" film in 1958. Rooney received top-billing in a             
feature film as Shockey Carter in Hoosier Schoolboy (1937). The same year, he         
made his first film alongside Judy Garland with Thoroughbreds Don't Cry. His           
breakthrough role as a dramatic actor came in 1938's Boys Town opposite Spencer       
Tracy as Whitey Marsh, which opened shortly before his 18th birthday.                 
Garland and Rooney became a successful song and dance team. Besides three of the       
Andy Hardy films, where she portrayed Betsy Booth, a younger girl with a crush         
on Andy, Garland appeared with Rooney in a string of successful musicals,             
including the Oscar nominated Babes in Arms (1939).                                   
Rooney with Judy Garland in Babes in Arms (1939), one of several films they made       
In 1944, Rooney entered military service for 21 months during World War II,           
during which time he was a radio personality on the American Forces Network.           
After his return to civilian life, his career slumped. He appeared in a number         
of films, including Words and Music in 1948, which paired him for the last time       
with Garland on film (he appeared with her on one episode as a guest on her CBS       
variety series in 1963). The Mickey Rooney Show, also known as Hey Mulligan,           
appeared on NBC television for 39 episodes during 1954 and 1955. In 1951, he           
directed a feature film for Columbia Pictures, My True Story starring Helen           
Walker. Rooney also starred as a ragingly egomaniacal television comedian in the       
live 90-minute television drama The Comedian, written by Rod Serling and               
directed by John Frankenheimer, on Playhouse 90 the evening of Valentine's Day         
in 1957.                                                                               
In 1960, he directed and starred in The Private Lives of Adam and Eve, an             
ambitious comedy known for its multiple flashbacks and many cameos. In the 1960s,     
Rooney returned to theatrical entertainment. He still accepted film roles in           
undistinguished movies, but occasionally would appear in better works, such as         
Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) and The Black Stallion (1979). One of Rooney's       
more controversial roles came in the highly acclaimed 1961 film Breakfast at           
Tiffany's where he played a stereotyped buck-toothed Japanese neighbor of the         
main character, Holly Golightly. Producer Richard Shepherd apologized for this         
in the 45th anniversary DVD, though Director Blake Edwards and Rooney himself do       
On December 31, 1961, he appeared on television's What's My Line and mentioned         
that he had already started enrolling students in the MRSE (Mickey Rooney School       
of Entertainment). His school venture never came to fruition, but for several         
years he was a spokesman/partner in Pennsylvania's Downingtown Inn, a country         
club and golf resort.                                                                 
In 1966, while Rooney was working on a film in the Philippines, his wife Barbara       
Ann Thomason (aka Tara Thomas, Carolyn Mitchell), a former pin-up model and           
aspiring actress who had won 17 straight beauty contests in Southern California,       
was found dead in their bed. Beside her was her lover, Milos Milos, an actor           
friend of Rooney's. Detectives ruled it murder-suicide, which was accomplished         
with Rooney's own gun. Milos was also a bodyguard and was connected to Stevan         
Markovic, bodyguard of French star Alain Delon. Markovic was also found dead in       
mysterious circumstances in Paris two years later.                                     
Grief-stricken and not in his right frame of mind, Rooney quickly married             
Barbara's friend, Marge Lane. The union lasted about one                               
hundred days.                                                                         
He was awarded an Academy Juvenile Award in 1938, and in 1983 the Academy of           
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted him their Academy Honorary Award for his       
lifetime of achievement. Laurence Olivier called Rooney "the single best film         
actor America ever produced",[citation needed a sentiment echoed by actor James       
Mason. Judy Garland stated that Rooney was "the world's greatest talent."             
As a result of the Andy Hardy series, Rooney was the highest paid actor in             
Hollywood in the late 1930s.