American stage and screen icon Mickey Rooney died Sunday night, sources close to the actor have confirmed. Rooney was 93.
TMZ broke the news of Rooney’s death, while Variety confirmed it, reporting that Rooney had been ill for some time. Specific cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Rooney did it all in the entertainment field, and had been doing it for the bulk of his career. He primarily was recognized for his stature, and his brilliant comedic timing. He started acting in his teens, with a film role in the silent movie Not to be Trusted. He played a midget. Rooney went on to become the first teenager to earn an Academy Award Juvenile Award (which he shared with Deanna Durbin) in 1939.
The following year, he presented the same award to his frequent on-screen collaborator, Judy Garland:
That wasn’t Rooney’s only brush with the Oscars. He was nominated for two leading role performances in Babes in Arms (1939) and The Human Comedy (1943). He picked up two supporting Oscar nominations for The Bold and the Brave (1956) and The Black Stallion (1979). While he didn’t win those Oscars, he received the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award in 1983, honoring "50 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances."
That quote summed Rooney to a tee. "Versatility." He worked with everyone. His credits stretch television, film and the stage – and stretched for decades. He hardly slowed down with age, acting most recently in The Muppets in 2011, and The Woods in 2012. He recently filmed B. Luciano Barsuglia’s horror Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, due out in October.
Rooney’s credits were too extensive to list, but his fingerprints will remain all over the Hollywood story for the rest of time. His star shone bright, and his talents will be missed.