Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Star of the Month: Mickey Rooney!

Mickey Rooney, was born September 23, 1920. His parents, were vaudeville performers. At 17 months old, in a Chicago theatre, he let out a sneeze. The noise caused a spotlight to find him in the crowd. Not knowing what to do he stood up and blew on his tiny toy mouth organ. The shows manager got him a little tuxedo and Mickey began performing his act on stage.

Shortly after Mickey's parents divorced his mother decided he would be perfect for the, "Our Gang" series. After they arrived in Hollywood, they found out the pay was not enough to live on and hey moved back to Kansas City, to live with his aunt. They returned to California again in 1926, where Mickey landed his first film role in the movie "Not To Be Trusted," in which he played a midget.

His big break came in 1927 when he was cast for a series based on a comic strip. His mother wanted to legally change his name to Mickey McGuire for publicity reasons, but the comics creator did not agree. Instead she renamed him Mickey Rooney. In 1934, Mickey was competing in a table tennis tournament in Los Angles when MGM producer David O. Selznick noticed him. He told MGM studio chief Louis Mayer that he had found a kid that was a "goldmine" and begged him to sign Mickey to MGM. Selznick made a role for Mickey in the film "Manhattan Melodrama," which was later made famous when gangster John Dillinger was shot and killed while leaving the theater where he had been watching it. Mickey was the number one box office actor in the United States from 1939-41. He became known for his work on films: A Midsummer Night's Dream(1935). Directed by Max Reinhardt and William Dieterle, produced by Henry Blanke and Hal Wallis, and adapted by Charles Kenyon and Mary C. McCall Jr. from the play by William Shakespeare.

Boys Town(1938), is a biographical drama film based on Father Edward J. Flanagan's work with a group of delinquent boys in a home that he founded and named "Boys Town". Cast: Spencer Tracy as Father Edward J. Flanagan, and Mickey Rooney, Henry Hull, Gene Reynolds, Edward Norris, and Addison Richards.

Babes in Arms(1939). Film version of the 1937 Broadway musical of the same name. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Charles Winninger, Guy Kibbee, June Preisser, Grace Hayes and Betty Jaynes.

Also the "Andy Hardy" series. He starred with many Hollywood leading ladies including Lana Turner, Anne Rutherford and Judy Garland. Mickey made over 200 films. He earned an Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, a special Juvenile Oscar he shared with Deana Durbin in 1939, five Oscar nominations, one Emmy Award, five Emmy Nominations and two Golden Globes.


  1. Dawn, that's a great photo of little Mickey Rooney.

  2. Tom, Thank you. I thought he looked really cute in his little 3 piece suit.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.