Mickey Rooney, one of the most prolific and long-lasting stars from the classic era, has died at 93.
Born on September 23, 1920, Rooney began his career in a series of 78 short films as the streetwise Mickey McGuire, before transitioning to features with supporting roles opposite the likes of James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland. He earned good early notices for his interpretation of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) and made his first appearance with lifelong friend Judy Garland in Thoroughbreds Don't Die (1937).
But it was his supporting turn as Andy Hardy in A Family Affair (1937) that propelled Rooney into a superstar. Over the next 20-odd years, he would play the role 13 more times, mostly in the 1930s and 1940s when he reigned as the top box office earner for three years running. He also earned Academy Award nominations for his performances in Babes In Arms (1939) and The Human Comedy (1943).
While his rise to the top was fast, Rooney's decline was long and slow, lasting several decades where he suffered numerous failures and public indignities. Occasionally, he managed to resurrect himself, as he did when nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dooley in The Bold and the Brave (1956). But by and large, Rooney suffered from one bad decision after another, especially with his quasi-racist turns as a buck-toothed Chinese man in Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961).
Through all his personal and professional travails - his serial infidelity, the murder-suicide of his fifth wife, Barbara Ann Thomason in the mid-1960s, the drug overdose of Judy Garland in 1969, and a growing problem with gambling addiction - Rooney managed to survive by continually working.
He once again sought redemption in the 1970s with his Oscar-nominated performance in The Black Stallion (1979) and later became an high-profile advocate against elder abuse, which included emotional testimony before the U.S. Senate in 2011. In all, Rooney made some 300 films in his long career.
Rooney is survived by his eighth wife, Jan Rooney, and nine children.