speedracer5

Mickey Rooney has passed away at 93

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Co-starring Ronald Sinclair, who had been Ra Hould at Paramount and was being groomed as the new Freddie.

 

It didn't happen for him.

Ronald Sinclair appears in my favorite opening scene from any movie, ever: the beginning of The Light that Failed. He grows up to be Ronald Colman in that great film.

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The blame goes to Blake Edwards. In Truman Capote's original story the Mr. Yunioshi character has one brief appearance, at the beginning when Holly first rings his doorbell and he tells her she's got to stop forgetting her key. While he's mentioned a couple of times later on, he never is seen again. Capote didn't write him as buck-tooth stereotype with coke-bottle glasses.

 

It's obvious that Edwards wanted Rooney in the film both for marquee value and to make it appear that it was much more of a light comedy than it was. Unfortunately, for Mickey, Edwards expansion of the character was done very poorly and, as somebody else pointed out, he was a professional actor and played it as directed.

 

I'm not sure it was Mickey's misguided attempt but more Blake Edwards.    Mickey the actor was just playing the part as instructed.

 

Thanks for your responses.  I agree that I shouldn't have said that the BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S role was Mickey's "misguided attempt at ethnic humor."  You're right that the characterization was probably from Blake Edwards, and possibly screenwriter George Axelrod as well, not Mickey himself.  Truman Capote's novella was definitely darker than the movie, so I suppose Mickey's role was indeed an attempt to lighten things up.  He probably played the part as well as it could have been played, but the whole idea for the character was just wrong-headed -- at least to modern eyes.

 

It just occurred to me that he is the last of the 14 people who ended up at the Big W digging for treasure in IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD. :lol:   They're now all gone.

 

It's sad that all of the folks searching for the "Big W" in IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD, including many show-biz legends, are now gone.  (Even among the rest of the huge cast, Carl Reiner, Jerry Lewis, and Stan Freberg are possibly the only well known ones left.)  I just watched the new Criterion blu-ray of the movie (highly recommended) a few weeks ago, and was struck by how well all of those highly accomplished comics and actors worked together, putting egos aside and not trying to steal the scenes from each other.  Mickey certainly contributed his share to that movie.

 

And count me in as a vote in favor of giving Mickey the Kennedy Center Honor -- if only a time machine were available to make it possible.  His accomplishments as a performer were unmatched.

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It's funny that you mention that role.  I had exactly that example of "something less worthy" in my original post, but deleted it because the movie itself is otherwise very good.  I agree, though -- as much as I love him, Mickey's misguided attempt at ethnic comedy in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S is one performance that doesn't work.

 

But I think we can forgive him that.  The guy hit the mark way more times than not.  And at his height, no one was better.

I believe Rooney is a slightly more important figure in film history than Shirley Temple. Some might disagree.

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I believe Rooney is a slightly more important figure in film history than Shirley Temple. Some might disagree.

 

I disagree only with the word "slightly."  For me, Mickey Rooney unquestionably had the greater impact on film history.

 

Shirley Temple was certainly a huge star in her pre-teen years, and she was an amazingly talented performer during that time.  Like Mickey, she could really sing and dance, and was good in dramatic scenes, although in my somewhat limited experience, I don't recall her being particularly good at comedy.  But her importance in film history stopped after the 1930s.  She had some good roles during her teenage years -- e.g., SINCE YOU WENT AWAY, I'LL BE SEEING YOU, FORT APACHE, THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBYSOXER.  But while I've always found those performances very likable, I think other young actresses (e.g., Elizabeth Taylor, Peggy Ann Garner, maybe Virginia Weidler, maybe Jane Powell -- possibly Deanna Durbin, whose work I don't know well) could have played those parts just as well.  Thereafter, Shirley chose to retire from show business for the most part, as she had every right to do.

 

Mickey had a later start as a big star than Shirley -- who didn't? -- but he was in movies much longer (by choice) and had a wider range of talents.  As Freddie Bartholomew recounted in "MGM: When The Lion Roars," Rooney could sing, dance, play any musical instrument (an exaggeration, although Rooney definitely was good on the drums and the piano, from what I've seen in his movies), make you laugh, or tear your heart out.  And Freddie's assessment is accurate.

 

Rooney's talents as a singer and dancer are obvious from the Mickey/Judy musicals, where he could keep up with Judy, one of film's greatest singers, and could dance well enough to co-star in some of Busby Berkeley's elaborate concoctions.  He played the piano quite well in STRIKE UP THE BAND with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra (it sure looks like he's really playing) and jammed very credibly on drums with Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines in THE STRIP.  He made me laugh many times in the Andy Hardy movies and in IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD, among others, and he tore our hearts out in THE HUMAN COMEDY, in some of the Hardy pictures, and as the title character in the TV movie BILL, among others.  He could also play harder-edged dramatic roles quite credibly -- just check out his performance in the title role of THE COMEDIAN, a Rod Serling script from the 50s in which Mickey played the ultimate abusive show biz egomaniac.  (Maybe I shouldn't count the latter, as it was a TV production, but it could easily have been a great movie.)

 

Mickey's longevity also gives him the edge in film history by quite a bit, in my opinion.  The guy got a special Oscar in 1938 for his juvenile work, an honorary Oscar in 1983 for his lifetime's work, and in between was nominated for competitive Oscars four times in four different decades: BABES IN ARMS, 1939; THE HUMAN COMEDY, 1943; THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE, 1956; and THE BLACK STALLION, 1980.  Now we can argue about the significance of Academy nominations, but just look at the breadth of the nominated performances: a musical comedy, a straight drama, a war movie, and a children's classic.  Shirley didn't even come close, great as she was.

 

(And apart from film history, Mickey was also nominated for several Emmys and starred with Ann Miller on Broadway in the musical SUGAR BABIES.)

 

I mean no criticism of Shirley Temple in making this comparison -- she was truly amazing during her prime years, and a credible performer thereafter.  But Mickey Rooney just went way beyond Shirley in scope, and did so for much longer -- making him the more significant performer in film history by a big margin, in my opinion.

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I disagree only with the word "slightly."  For me, Mickey Rooney unquestionably had the greater impact on film history.

 

Shirley Temple was certainly a huge star in her pre-teen years, and she was an amazingly talented performer during that time.  Like Mickey, she could really sing and dance, and was good in dramatic scenes, although in my somewhat limited experience, I don't recall her being particularly good at comedy.  But her importance in film history stopped after the 1930s.  She had some good roles during her teenage years -- e.g., SINCE YOU WENT AWAY, I'LL BE SEEING YOU, FORT APACHE, THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBYSOXER.  But while I've always found those performances very likable, I think other young actresses (e.g., Elizabeth Taylor, Peggy Ann Garner, maybe Virginia Weidler, maybe Jane Powell -- possibly Deanna Durbin, whose work I don't know well) could have played those parts just as well.  Thereafter, Shirley chose to retire from show business for the most part, as she had every right to do.

 

Mickey had a later start as a big star than Shirley -- who didn't? -- but he was in movies much longer (by choice) and had a wider range of talents.  As Freddie Bartholomew recounted in "MGM: When The Lion Roars," Rooney could sing, dance, play any musical instrument (an exaggeration, although Rooney definitely was good on the drums and the piano, from what I've seen in his movies), make you laugh, or tear your heart out.  And Freddie's assessment is accurate.

 

Rooney's talents as a singer and dancer are obvious from the Mickey/Judy musicals, where he could keep up with Judy, one of film's greatest singers, and could dance well enough to co-star in some of Busby Berkeley's elaborate concoctions.  He played the piano quite well in STRIKE UP THE BAND with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra (it sure looks like he's really playing) and jammed very credibly on drums with Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines in THE STRIP.  He made me laugh many times in the Andy Hardy movies and in IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD, among others, and he tore our hearts out in THE HUMAN COMEDY, in some of the Hardy pictures, and as the title character in the TV movie BILL, among others.  He could also play harder-edged dramatic roles quite credibly -- just check out his performance in the title role of THE COMEDIAN, a Rod Serling script from the 50s in which Mickey played the ultimate abusive show biz egomaniac.  (Maybe I shouldn't count the latter, as it was a TV production, but it could easily have been a great movie.)

 

Mickey's longevity also gives him the edge in film history by quite a bit, in my opinion.  The guy got a special Oscar in 1938 for his juvenile work, an honorary Oscar in 1983 for his lifetime's work, and in between was nominated for competitive Oscars four times in four different decades: BABES IN ARMS, 1939; THE HUMAN COMEDY, 1943; THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE, 1956; and THE BLACK STALLION, 1980.  Now we can argue about the significance of Academy nominations, but just look at the breadth of the nominated performances: a musical comedy, a straight drama, a war movie, and a children's classic.  Shirley didn't even come close, great as she was.

 

(And apart from film history, Mickey was also nominated for several Emmys and starred with Ann Miller on Broadway in the musical SUGAR BABIES.)

 

I mean no criticism of Shirley Temple in making this comparison -- she was truly amazing during her prime years, and a credible performer thereafter.  But Mickey Rooney just went way beyond Shirley in scope, and did so for much longer -- making him the more significant performer in film history by a big margin, in my opinion.

I believe, though. that those under 30 may be more likely to know who Shirley Temple was.

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I believe, though. that those under 30 may be more likely to know who Shirley Temple was.

 

You're probably right.  Although I've never asked someone under 30 about it, I would guess many young folks do know who Shirley is because, for better or worse, it's pretty easy to remember her as the cute singing and dancing moppet that she was in the 1930s.  Once you've seen her in one of those roles, you don't forget it.  To use a term that I usually dislike, she has a well-known "brand."

 

I'm not sure Mickey has an easy-to-remember "brand."  I suppose if a young person has seen a bunch of Andy Hardy movies, maybe because a local station shows them regularly on the weekend, they'll remember Rooney because of that.  (One of my younger brothers knows Rooney for that reason.)  Or if they really like the Mickey/Judy musicals, they'll remember him for that reason.  But Mickey played so many different types of roles that I'd guess many young folks don't remember him, even if they actually have seen him in, say, IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD as well as one of his recent roles (e.g., NIGHT AT THE MUSUEM).

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You're probably right.  Although I've never asked someone under 30 about it, I would guess many young folks do know who Shirley is because, for better or worse, it's pretty easy to remember her as the cute singing and dancing moppet that she was in the 1930s.  Once you've seen her in one of those roles, you don't forget it.  To use a term that I usually dislike, she has a well-known "brand."

 

 

Last weekend I was talking to a few friends that have young kids and the parents own a few Shirley DVDs  (she can up because one of the kids saw my old movie pictures and asked why no Shirley).    So like the Wizzard of Oz,  some parents will watch Temple movies with their kids because their parents did the same thing with them.  

 

I assume the same thing applies to Rooney but to a much lesser degree.     

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Last weekend I was talking to a few friends that have young kids and the parents own a few Shirley DVDs  (she can up because one of the kids saw my old movie pictures and asked why no Shirley).    So like the Wizzard of Oz,  some parents will watch Temple movies with their kids because their parents did the same thing with them.  

 

I assume the same thing applies to Rooney but to a much lesser degree.     

Temple also had a unique, decidedly different latter-day career, which Rooney did not. That in itself may make her name more recognizable.

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A short history in photos from one of the previous articles: Click to enlarge

 

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I hope he had a Swiss bank account.

 

On Tuesday, it was revealed that Rooney, in a will updated less than a month ago, left his entire estate to Mark and Charlene Aber, with no appropriation for Chamberlin Rooney. Its value: a mere $18,000.

 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/mickey-rooneys-final-days-marred-694716

 

The L.A.  Times is reporting today that the family has a feud with regards to where he will be buried.   

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The L.A.  Times is reporting today that the family has a feud with regards to where he will be buried.   

 

 

Oh, great. Are they going to divide him up?  Are his ex-wives fighting?

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Oh, great. Are they going to divide him up?  Are his ex-wives fighting?

 

The battle is between his current wife,  who he was separated from and hadn't seen in 2 years and his stepson who Rooney was living with when he died.    The issue is who control the type of funeral Rooney will have (and who pays for it!).

 

The only good thing I can see here is that Rooney was broke.  So at least money isn't something all of his family members will be fighting over.    But for Rooney to have the type of service he deserves someone (like a rich friend),  may have to pony up for the event. 

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The battle is between his current wife,  who he was separated from and hadn't seen in 2 years and his stepson who Rooney was living with when he died.    The issue is who control the type of funeral Rooney will have (and who pays for it!).

 

The only good thing I can see here is that Rooney was broke.  So at least money isn't something all of his family members will be fighting over.    But for Rooney to have the type of service he deserves someone (like a rich friend),  may have to pony up for the event. 

When he was younger, he gambled away a lot of his earnings. Apparently, that continued.

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I find it amusing that the last photo of Mickey was at the track.

 

Anyone actually believe he only had $18K to his name?

 

What are the SAG rates for his upcoming movie?

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Was not much of a fan of the Mickey I saw in the movies.  Then he came to a dinner playhouse in Austin in some no-name play (Three Goats and and a Blanket? 1970s?).  Wow, could he work the audience!  Much different than the "movie" Mickey.  Saw him again years later with Ann Miller in Sugar Babies when it came to Austin.  IIRC, he wasn't in the best health right then, but still quite a showman.

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The battle is between his current wife,  who he was separated from and hadn't seen in 2 years and his stepson who Rooney was living with when he died.    The issue is who control the type of funeral Rooney will have (and who pays for it!).

 

The only good thing I can see here is that Rooney was broke.  So at least money isn't something all of his family members will be fighting over.    But for Rooney to have the type of service he deserves someone (like a rich friend),  may have to pony up for the event. 

People are leaving lots of condolence messages on Jan Rooney's Facebook page. About the same time Mickey's son started his personal page-the "official" one was run by the stepson who abused him-Jan started posting photos of herself with Mickey regularly on her own page.

 

It was like dueling pages between the new stuff on Mickey's page and the old photos Jan seemed to be pretending were current on her page.

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Enjoyed Rooney in HIDE-OUT (1934) today as a wise cracking farm kid.  I had never seen the movie before and had not even realized he was in it until I started watching the movie.  Rooney certainly was charismatic from youth to oldster.  He had the "it" factor for sure.

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