Those of you who know me well know that I am a lover of the Golden Era of Hollywood.
That era lost one of its brightest stars with word that Mickey Rooney has passed away at age 93.
Mickey Rooney started his career as a child, starring in dozens of shorts before graduating to the big screen.
His most iconic films?
Of course there are the Andy Hardy movies, which TCM still plays now and then and which still stand up as being lovely representations of family life and of kids who don't always do what their parents want them to do (Andy is always getting into scrapes and always has some kind of scheme up his sleeve).
And it was in those films of course that he was first paired with Judy Garland, and their successful pairing launched several Busby Berkeley films. If you've ever said "we should get a barn and put on a show" when talking about raising money, you're quoting Mickey and Judy!
And who can forget National Velvet, one of my favourite films of all time, starring Tabitha's favourite, Elizabeth Taylor?
Or Boys Town with Spencer Tracy?
and even Breakfast at Tiffany's:
|This casting was accused of being racist and I think the critics are right!|
From 1939 to 1941, Mickey Rooney was the top box office draw in Hollywood, and he worked tirelessly to raise morale during the war. He joined the army himself, and from 1944 to 1945, his job was to entertain the troops full-time.
For the rest of his life, he worked tirelessly to support veterans' rights.
If he was the Prince of Hollywood, his personal life was no less colourful. Like his friend Elizabeth, he was married eight times. His first wife was the gorgeous Ava Gardner, who later described his as one of the greatest lovers she'd ever been with.
Mickey worked his entire life and became a fixture later on TV. He was by times a raconteur, a windbag, charming, pugilistic.
He become a punchline of many jokes, due in large part I think to the fact that he remembered when he was the biggest star even when others did not. The same spunk that made him a star in his teens and twenties often made him seem like an old man out of touch later on.
But he was, till the end, a star. He continued to work, most recently filming Night at the Museum 3.
At one of his last public outings at the end of February, Mickey attended an after-Oscars party, where he was attended by many actors who wanted to hear the stories one last time.
If you love movies, like I do, it is important to know the evolution of the medium, its history.
Imagine a time before TV, when times were hard, when all you had to cheer yourself up was a trip to the local movie theater, where for a nickel you could forget your troubles and watch a magical world where boys lived in nice families, got the girl, sung and danced their way through their troubles.
Mickey Rooney made people feel good in the 1930s and 1940s when they most needed to feel good. He had a long and storied career doing the thing he loved best: entertaining people.
Many of his peers, including Sir Laurence Olivier, considered him a genius.
You'd be hard-pressed to imagine a bigger star than Mickey.
Somewhere right now, he has just finished a cocktail with Elizabeth, and he and Judy are already looking for a barn....
Thank you Mickey, and God Bless!