By: Alex Spindler ~Staff Writer~
Noted film icon Mickey Rooney died of natural causes at age 93.
One of the last of his generation, Rooney represented two eras of both silent cinema and the Golden Age – the 1940s and ‘50s Hollywood.
At just 14 months old, Rooney began appearing in his parents’ vaudeville act to help his struggling family with money.
A natural talent even in his youth, Rooney broke into mainstream success with musical films and romances thanks to a successful coupling with another screen legend, Judy Garland.
The pair dominated both the hearts and box office of a nation immersed in the Great Depression with another World War looming in the future.
After appearing in almost 10 “Andy Hardy” talkies, Rooney struggled to find work, finding
his boyish charm, good looks and a light, tenor voice.
Still, Rooney was able to keep his name in the limelight and never faded from the hearts of millions who adored his pictures.
The winner of Juvenile Academy Awards, Golden Globes and an Emmy, Rooney sought to be as versatile as possible
Feeling a need to give back to his country, Rooney enlisted in the United States Army in 1944 and served for almost 21 months.
After his service, Rooney remained with the Armed Forces and traveled across North America and Europe to entertain soldiers, often in tandem with Garland.
As his repertoire of film and television opportunities changed throughout his whole career, so did his love life.
Equal to the troubled romances of Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland and Larry King, Rooney married eight times throughout his life with some of his marriages lasting 100 days or less.
His dependence on alcohol and struggles to find work late in life severely affected his mental health and often drove him into depression.
Still, audiences will remember Mickey Rooney as a soldier, actor, singer and radio personality who has forever cemented his place in Hollywood history.