"When I open a refrigerator door and the light goes on, I want to perform."
Mickey Rooney, one of the top Hollywood stars of the 1930s and ’40s, has died at 93.
Rooney’s career as a performer began when he was just a toddler; high points included 15 appearances as the title character in the popular “Andy Hardy” films, a series of movie musicals with Judy Garland and a costarring role alongside a young Elizabeth Taylor in “National Velvet.” Into his 80s, he was touring in a 2-person show with his wife, Jan Chamberlin. At age 90, he testified before Congress on the issue of elder abuse, which he said he had experienced personally.
“Tennessee Williams, who knew more about actors than anybody in our time … said, ‘There’s only one great actor in the United States and that is Mickey Rooney…. He can do anything. He sings, he dances, he can make you weep. He can play tragedy, he can play comedy,’” author Gore Vidal once said.
He’s shown here watching Judy Garland put her handprints in the cement at the theater then known as Grauman’s in 1939. This photo was published in the L.A. TImes on Oct. 25, 1939.
Photo: UCLA Library / Los Angeles Times