Mickey Rooney might be best remembered for his ceaseless ups and downs, his dramatic failures and his many comebacks. But Rooney’s roller-coaster melodrama – he was married eight times and quickly spent the fortune he amassed – wouldn’t have mattered if he hadn’t also had genuine, enduring talent.
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, while under contract for MGM, Rooney was one of the most popular stars on the planet. At just 19, he was the top box-office draw. In Rooney’s subsequent decades, things would rarely come as easily as his early stardom. But across movies, Broadway and television, his manic energy rarely flagged. Rooney, who died Sunday at age 93, remained working into his 90s, still driven to “put on a show.”
Five of Rooney’s most memorable movie roles: