Screen legend Mickey Rooney died Sunday, leaving behind the legacy of an 80 year career.

After a prolific career and over 200 film credits, Mickey Rooney passed away on Sunday surrounded by his family at the age of 93.  Rooney was born as Joe Yule, Jr. in Brooklyn, New York on September 23, 1920.   His first time on stage was at the tender age of 17 months with his parents.  His father was a comic and his mother a vaudeville performer.  At age 6 he landed his first roll on-screen when he began playing Mickey McGuire in a series of 78 film shorts based on the Toonerville Trolley cartoons.  In 1932 he changed his name to Mickey Rooney and five years later he landed the iconic role of Andy Hardy, which he repeated in a 15-part movie series.  The role catapulted him to stardom and to this day he is remembered for his portrayal of the charming and feisty Hardy boy.

His career soared during the 30’s and 40’s and he co-starred 10 times with long-time friend Judy Garland.  In 1942 he married actress Ava Gardner, who was the first of his eight wives.  In 1944 Rooney enlisted in the Army and served 21 months, until just after the end of World War II.  While in the Army he entertained the troops abroad and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for entertaining in combat zones.  After the war his career did not return to the same glory during the 30’s but Rooney went on to star in many movies, television shows, and also made the transition to stage acting.

Rooney was awarded two honorary Oscars, the first in 1938 and the second in 1982.  His prolific career may have slowed during the last decade but he remained active and his last film appearance is in the upcoming Night at the Museum 3, filmed earlier.  The 5-foot-3 spirited actor leaves behind perhaps one of the brightest legacies in Hollywood.

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Image courtesy of wikipedia.org

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