Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Mickey Rooney R.I.P.

I feel sad about the recent passing of Mickey Rooney. He should have made it to 100! An entertainer with boundless energy, Mickey may have been short of stature, but he was a giant where talent is concerned. He leaves behind a legacy of versatile performances on film, stage and TV. His terrific work played an important role in my addiction to movies. During my teens, while watching MGM musicals, I always knew something special was in store whenever Mickey Rooney said to Judy Garland, “Let’s put on a show!”

Never mind about strikingly similar plots and characters in such films as Babes in Arms, Babes on Broadway, Girl Crazy and so on. That didn’t faze me. I could hardly wait to see Mickey and Judy perform their great musical numbers.

As an adult, meeting Mickey Rooney at the Palm Springs International Film Festival turned out to be the highlight of that 1995 event for me. Mickey expressed enthusiasm over portraying Father Flanagan in The Road Home (shown on television as The Brothers’ Destiny), a movie premiering there. At a question and answer session for the San Diego Cinema Society, Mickey recalled playing a delinquent orphan as co-star with Spencer Tracy, who originated the role of Father Flanagan in the much earlier movie, Boys Town. “I’ve come full circle,” he said. 

Mickey also reminisced about working with Judy Garland. “I loved her; she was the greatest performer who ever lived,” he announced.   

Dancer, singer, actor, comic – Mickey did it all with his own special flair. May he rest in peace. 

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