RELATIVES of screen legend Mickey Rooney, who passed away last weekend aged 93, have agreed arranagements for his funeral ahead of a court hearing in Los Angeles.
The court had been asked to rule on whether the actor's remains were to be released to his estranged wife Janice Rooney or to his lawyer.
A ruling had been expected on Friday but it was then announced that the matter had been settled by the family. It was revealed that Mr. Rooney will be buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery following a private service.
It had emerged that Mr. Rooney’s last will, which was dated March 11, had made no provision for his estranged wife or any of his children. Instead, he had left his modest estate of $18,000 to his stepson Mark Rooney, who had been his carer.
Mickey Rooney’s remarkable career began as a 6-year-old in silent movies and continued until only months before his death.
Born Joe Yule in New York in 1920, he actually made his stage debut at the age of 17-months when his parents included him in their vaudeville act. He took the stage name Mickey Rooney while appearing in a series of short silent films playing a character called Mickey McGuire.
His immense talents allowed him to not only make the transition from silent films to the talkies, but also to show that while he was at home with comedy he could equally fill more serious roles as seen in his performance in Boys’ Town (1938) in which he portrayed a juvenile delinquent. The year before, he had been cast as Andy Hardy in A Family Affair. MGM went on to make 19 more movies in the Hardy series which turned the young Rooney into a box office hit.
In 1939 he was cast alongside a young Judy Garland in the musical Babes In Arms (see below).
Over his long career Mr. Rooney would make more than 200 films. His movie credits included National Velvet (1944), alongside Elizabeth Taylor, Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961) with Audrey Hepburn, and The Black Stallion (1979) which earned him an Oscar nomination. In recent years he appeared in a string of films including Night At The Museum (2006) and The Muppets (2011). Even in recent months he was being linked with movies which are currently in pre-production.
Mr. Rooney was nominated on four occasions for Academy Awards. He did receive two special Oscars — including one in 1983 for his body of work. Sir Laurence Olivier once declared that Mr. Rooney was “the greatest film actor America ever produced”.
In the late 1970s, he appeared on Broadway in a production of Sugar Babies for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.
But while he enjoyed a glittering professional career, his private life was often troubled. Despite earning millions of dollars he faced financial difficulties on several occasions. He married eight times. His first wife was Ava Gardner whom he married when he was 21.
The veteran actor was once asked if he would marry all his wives again. He replied: “Absolutely. I loved every one of them.”
To see an excerpt from Babes In Arms, which features Mr. Rooney and Judy Garland, click here.
To see an interview in which Mr. Rooney talks about working with Judy Garland, click here.
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