Legendary Actor Mickey Rooney Dead at 93

Film star frequently appeared alongside Judy Garland.

ByABC News
April 7, 2014, 12:08 AM

April 7, 2014— -- Mickey Rooney, one of the longest-tenured actors in movie history, died Sunday at the age of 93, KABC reported.

Los Angeles Police Commander Andrew Smith told the Associated Press that Rooney was with his family when he died at his North Hollywood home.

News of Rooney’s death was first reported by TMZ.

Rooney appeared in more than 300 films, from silent films in the 1920s to recent blockbusters such as “The Muppets” and “Night at the Museum.”

The actor -- who stood just over five feet tall -- reached his greatest film successes with MGM during the 1930s and 1940s, singing and dancing, his boyish effervescence carrying him to box office heights.

He appeared in 15 movies as All-American boy Andy Hardy, and he frequently starred alongside Judy Garland in musical films such as “Babes in Arms.”

Rooney was married eight times, including to Ava Gardner from 1942 to 1943. He married Jan Chamberlain in 1978, and they consistently performed together.

“My partners weren’t what we call, in horse racing parlance, routers,” he told People Magazine in 1993. “They were sprinters. They went out of the gate, but then they stopped. They couldn’t go the distance.”

His final marriage lasted longer than his other seven marriages combined.

Rooney was born Sept. 23, 1920 as Joseph Yule, Jr. His parents were vaudeville actors, and he first appeared on-stage as a toddler.

He gained childhood stardom in the Mickey McGuire film shorts -- from which he derived his stage name -- before signing with MGM. One of his breakout roles came in 1938’s “Boys Town,” a drama based on Father Edward J. Flanigan’s work with underprivileged boys.

During the period of 1939 to 1941, Rooney was Hollywood’s biggest box office draw.

His career languished following World War II, and Rooney was relegated to bit roles and TV spots. Those roles -- such as 1954’s “The Bridges at Toko-Ri,” 1962’s “Requiem for a Heavyweight” and “The Black Stallion” in 1979 -- showcased his acting chops and triggered his long, second career arc.

Rooney’s later years were marred by elder abuse accusations against his stepson and stepdaughter, leading the actor to testify before Congress in 2011.

“I felt trapped, scared, used and frustrated,” he told a special Senate committee at the time. “But above all, when a man feels helpless, it’s terrible.”

Rooney’s career honors include the Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy. He received a “Lifetime Achievement” Academy Award in 1982.

Rooney had nine children.