Actor Mickey Rooney, the diminutive star with a huge personality, passed away at age 93 on Sunday.
The actor had been ill recently and died at his Hollywood home. Sadly, his eighth wife only learned of his death through the media.
Rooney, who was married eight times, died Sunday from natural causes.
Police took a death report but stated there was nothing suspicious.
Mickey Rooney started his career in his parents’ vaudeville act when he was just a toddler, and broke into movies before age 10.
His acting career spanned eight decades and he appeared in more than 200 movies and numerous television shows.
Laurence Olivier once called the 5’3″ Mickey, “The greatest actor of them all.”
Rooney once joked, “When I open a refrigerator door and the light goes on, I want to perform”.
The legendary actor was still working, saying in 2008, “I always say, ‘Don’t retire — inspire’. There’s a lot to be done”.
Rooney landed two Academy Awards for his film achievements. His acting career was only interrupted in 1944 when he entered the military. During his 21 months in the service, Rooneyentertained troops in America and Europe.
Once out of the military, Rooney picked up where he left off, acting in films such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,”, “Black Stallion”, “Requiem for a Heavyweight”, and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”.
Rooney’s personal life was also colorful and the actor married eight times.
His first wife was the glamorous Ava Gardner, the statuesque stunner. He was 21 and she was 19.
The marriage ended in a year, but he later said, “I’m 5 feet 3, but I was 6 feet 4 when I married Ava”.
After splitting with Gardner, Rooney married Betty Jane Rase, Miss Birmingham of 1944, whom he had met during military training in Alabama. They had two sons and divorced after four years. Their son Timothy died in September 2006 at age 59 after a battle with a muscle disease called dermatomyositis.
His third and fourth marriages were to actress Martha Vickers (one son) and model Elaine Mahnken.
The fifth wife was model Barbara Thomason, who gave birth to four children. The couple were estranged and she was found shot to death in her Brentwood home. The body of her lover, a Yugoslavian actor, was found dead beside her in an apparent murder/suicide.
A year later, Rooney was married for three months to Margaret Lane. She was followed by a secretary named Caroline Hockett. They divorced after five years and had one daughter.
In 1978, Rooney married for the eighth time. His bride was singer Janice Darlene Chamberlain.
In 2011, Rooney was in the news again when he testified before Congress about abuse of the elderly, alleging that he was left powerless by a family member who took and misused his money.
He said, “I felt trapped, scared, used and frustrated. But above all, when a man feels helpless, it’s terrible.”
His eighth wife Janice said she hadn’t seen Mickey for almost a year before his death. Mickey was living at the Studio City home of her son Mark Aber and his wife.
The Rooney family was ripped apart after Mickey accused one of Jan’s sons, Christopher, of starving him and depriving him of medicine.
He is survived by his eighth wife, Jan, and nine children.
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