Opinion: Remembering legendary, high-spirted actor Mickey Rooney


Megan Brown is a senior magazine journalism major and the opinion editor for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Megan Brown

With an award-winning acting career lasting more than 80 years, Mickey Rooney taught us to laugh and have fun in the pictures. Sadly, the world of film lost the legendary, fun-loving actor this past week at a powerful age of 93.

For many people my age, they might think of him as “Oh, the old guy in ‘Phantom of the Megaplex’,” Yes, he was indeed the old mentor-type man in the Disney Channel movie (2000), but that wasn’t even a glimpse of what he could do.

He was always an actor who had a smile on his face and a joyous spirit. With several divorces, bankruptcy problems and alcohol being in his past, nothing would stop Rooney from succeeding.

Rooney started out on stage at just 17 months old with his parents on their vaudeville act. At 7 years old, he was taking on films. From the late 1930s to the early 1940s, Rooney would star in 15 films as Andy Hardy which was created in 1937’s “A Family Affair.”

With four Oscar nominations for his work in “Babe In Arms,” “The Human Comedy, “The Bold and the Brave” and “The Black Stallion,” Rooney was also the first teenager to be nominated for an Oscar in a leading role and received a juvenile Academy Award in 1938 for his work in “Boys Town” with Spencer Tracy. In 1983, he received an Academy Honorary Award “in recognition of his 50 years of versatility” in film.

Rooney even succeeded in TV as well. He appeared on dozens of television programs for more than half a century. He received two Golden Globe Awards and won an Emmy for his portrayal as a mentally challenged man in the 1981 TV movie “Bill.”

But we can’t forget about all of his musical performances with the notably talented Judy Garland. With his energetic acting and her voice combined, they were a match made in heaven. They appeared in four on-screen musicals together: “Babes in Arms,” “Strike Up the Band,” “Babes on Broadway” and “Girl Crazy.” He also worked with astonishing actresses like Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn.

Whatever Rooney did as an actor, he did it for the love of his job. He loved every second of acting, and that’s why he acted until the day he died. He loved performing, whether it was in film, on TV or on Broadway.

I always used to watch old, classic films on Turner Classic Movies with my mom when I was younger, and I loved when a Mickey Rooney movie came on. I want people my age to sit down and watch a classic Rooney film and laugh a little.

Rooney is a class act we will never forget, and in his own words: “You’ve got to recognize, there will never be another you. It has nothing to do with ego; it happens to be the truth. There will never be another person the same. There’ll never be another you. There’ll never be another me.”