The consummate entertainer has been in so many movies and TV shows, it’s impossible to remember them all.
Veteran American actor Mickey Rooney, who passed away on Sunday at age 93, had acted in a string of movies and TV shows in all genres. While he was known for his role as the teenage sweetheart Andy Hardy in the Andy Hardy movie series of the 1930s and 1940s, Rooney’s other films were the ones that really shaped his career.
Here are 10 films – including animations – that showcased Rooney’s many, many talents.
1. Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)
Rooney plays Mr Yunioshi, a cranky Japanese guy who lives above socialite Holly Golightly’s (Audrey Hepburn) apartment. Although some may now see the character as being stereotypical – even a little racist – it’s pretty hard not to laugh at his antics.
2. National Velvet (1944)
Known as the movie that kickstarted Elizabeth Taylor’s career (she was only 12 at the time), National Velvet sees Rooney playing a jaded former jockey who reluctantly helps a young girl prepare for a horse race called the Grand National Sweepstakes. The movie also stars Angela Lansbury, another legendary actress who has been in the business since ... forever.
3. Babes In Arms (1939)
Based on a Broadway musical, Babes In Arms stars Rooney and Judy Garland as two young entertainers struggling to make it in show business. Their adorable duet, Good Morning, is one of the most popular tracks in musicals. Rooney earned his first Oscar nomination for best actor in a leading role.
4. The Fox And The Hound (1981)
This Disney animation tells the story of how best friends Tod, a fox, and hound dog Copper are faced with the cruel realities of life and forced to turn on each other once they become adults. Rooney plays the voice of the adult Tod – he also sings some tracks – while Kurt Russell voices the adult Copper.
5. The Human Comedy (1943)
Rooney was nominated for a best actor in a leading role Oscar for his touching portrayal of Homer Macauley, a teenager who is too young to join the army and is forced to stay home to take care of his mother and younger brother.
6. It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
After serving a 15-year jail term, a robber heads to a location where he had hidden all the stolen money. However, luck is not on his side as his car careens off a cliff and he’s badly injured. The drivers and passengers of four cars see the accident and they all rush to help the man. When the robber realises he may not live to see the day he gives the kind strangers clues as to where the loot is. A crazy, outrageous and hilarious search by the strangers ensues; Rooney plays one of them, aptly named Ding Bell.
7. The Bold And The Brave (1956)
A typical war film which earned Rooney a best supporting actor Oscar nomination.
8. Journey Back To Oz (1974)
Rooney is the voice of Scarecrow in this animated feature. While it may not be as wonderful as Garland’s The Wizard Of Oz (1939), it is still quite entertaining, thanks to the songs in the film.
9. Words And Music (1948)
Rooney stars in this film as real-life lyricist Lorenz Hart, who frequently collaborated with songwriter Richard Rodgers in the 1920s and 1930s. It also features a few legendary singers, among them Lena Horne, Mel Torme and Gene Kelly, who star as themselves.
10. Babe, Pig In The City (1998)
Rooney made a brief appearance in this film, which is the sequel to Babe. He played Fugly Floom, a nasty clown who kidnaps Babe the pig, who is somehow lost in the big city.
Mickey Rooney dies at 93