Mickey Rooney : In all seriousness what made him a legend?

In all seriousness what made him a legend?

I keep hearing this but all I hear about is his longevity and his famous co-stars. I don't mean to offend anyone but what performances really stand out in his career?

For example, I would definitely defend James Cagney's work. Even though the films may have had some serious short comings in terms of sound effects, etc, Cagney was always able to truly portray a very menacing character who was engaging in those gangster movies. Also, Cagney had some quirky non-gangster roles that I personally found charming. I only mention this to show the type of answer that I am looking for.

Re: In all seriousness what made him a legend?

Are you familiar with the concept of 'critical mass'? In physics, critical mass is when there is enough weapons grade plutonium to create a nuclear explosion. In show business, it is achieved when an actor has a large enough body of work and has been around for so long that he becomes a show business institution and even a legend. Rooney started making movies before there was sound, or color. He was still making movies when you could download them onto your phone and carry them around with you. In between he moved effortlessly between comedy and drama, between TV, movies and the stage.

Re: In all seriousness what made him a legend?

And on top of his sheer longevity and enormous contribution to show business, he was dynamite on the screen. Mickey was an engaging performer, with boundless energy to the end. Not every movie he was in was gold of course, but he always brought all his talents to the table. Just check out his work from when he was a young man - like the Andy Hardy series, to see why he was a star.



" Cristal, Beluga, Wolfgang Puck... It's a f#@k house."

Re: In all seriousness what made him a legend?

To not say he is a legend is ridiculous. He became famous at a time when actors had to be able to sing, dance and act. His longevity and body of work alone made him legendary. I'm not even a big movie buff but I know hard work when I see it. And he put his time in...the dude is a legend plain and simple.

Not impressed by longevity alone

Longevity is the one answer that does not impress me at all, it's similar to saying, 'because everyone liked him' rather than respected his work. I have also heard of great actors who were disliked. However, I did hear people say that he had versatility and energy. That his Hardy Boys role would be a good exemplary of this work.

I have also heard people mention 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' but it looks like he did not have a starring role in that movie, I don't know if he had a large enough role in that movie to judge a performance.

In the old days, I'm certain it was difficult to become a star but it also seems like once you made it, it was fairly easy to keep your status as long as you did not tick off the Hollywood Moguls. I am not disparaging the old timers, all I am saying is that I don't necessarily agree that today's personalities have it easier, it's different.

5b4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_Rooney#Legacy
For those knowledgeable about his career, would you agree with this Wikipedia assessment?

Re: Not impressed by longevity alone


it was fairly easy to keep your status as long as you did not tick off the Hollywood Moguls.

Do you have any idea how many child stars were thrown into a ditch and pissed upon the moment their voice cracked? Easy to keep your status? Having any kind of career post-child stardom was just about the most difficult feat to accomplish in Golden Age Hollywood.

Taking a moment to return to your original post, I now realize that, despite your claims to the contrary, you were not asking a serious question but were in fact trolling the entire time. But then here I am indulging you - so shame on me, too.

Oww! Damn sandwich took a bite out of me.

Re: Not impressed by longevity alone


Do you have any idea how many child stars were thrown into a ditch and pissed upon the moment their voice cracked?

I wasn't talking about the transition from child actor to adult actor. Yes, that is a tough transition. However, once you became an adult celebrity actor in the old days and you played ball you would always get some roles. James Cagney complained that he could always get a gangster or tough guy part but when he tried to broaden his horizons he got blow back and he tried extremely very hard to break out of that mold.

Someone made a reference to today's celebrities, like the Kardashian's and that was kind of my point. Today it is easier to get that 15 minutes of fame but harder to keep a long career (IMO of course). In Rooney's time it seems more like the reverse, it's very difficult to break in, it's very difficult to become a star but once you are a star you get respect and yes, I think it was easier to keep your status. Today's celebrities, even the serious ones (not Kardashian), never seem to attain the same level of respect that a tier one celeb from yesteryear gets. This is what I meant when I said, 'it's different'.

Re: In all seriousness what made him a legend?

When Rooney was making movies in the late 30s and early 40s, he was the biggest movie star in the world. He could do everything. Sing, dance, act, stand up comedy. He could even play the drums. All with this incredible, infectious energy. But his performances in the Andy Hardy series, and those early MGM musicals with Judy Garland is what really made him a legend. My favorite being "Babes in Arms".

Re: In all seriousness what made him a legend?

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That his Hardy Boys role would be a good exemplary of this work.



Andy Hardy was not one of the Hardy Boys.


I am not disparaging the old timers, all I am saying is that I don't necessarily agree that today's personalities have it easier, it's different.



What have the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, Honey Boo Boo, that Jersey Shores group done to be personalities? Be wealthy, get pregnant, fart on t.v., cuss & fight constantly, and you get your own show, you're on the internet news constantly. Today, you don't need talent to be a celebrity. Then, watch Mickey Rooney in his prime. TCM is going to be showing his films for a day on Apr. 13th. See film clips from his movies. He was a charismatic actor.

Re: In all seriousness what made him a legend?

Oh yes. At that time he was the biggest star in the world. He had a hard time when that subsided even though he still worked and turned in good performances.

This is from a tribute by Donna Reed Show's Paul Peterson (born on the same day...25 years apart) on the A Minor Consideration website.

'But one thing Mickey Rooney understood better than anybody was the effect of Fame on childhood. He came to my door in the Spring of 1969, uninvited and unexpected. My home in Encino had been devastated by a huge mudslide thanks to the record- breaking rains of that year. I was at rock bottom. When I opened my front door there he stood, wearing a Nehru shirt with a peace medallion arou 5b4 nd his neck. Of course I recognized him. Who wouldn’t?

Mickey pushed past me and commandeered my mud-soaked living room. He wasted no time. He had something to say and he got right to the point of his surprise visit.

“I’ve watched your work for years, Paul. You’re good. But it’s over. You have to get out of town, get your education, and find something else to do because this town will never let you work for at least 25 years.” There was no time to argue because he left as suddenly as he’d arrived.

Boy, was he right. How did he know? Because it happened to him…Mickey Rooney himself…one of Hollywood’s biggest child stars. He didn’t have to extend himself to find my home, nor was he honor-bound to give me advice…but he knew the meaning of the “writing on the wall.” It was from Mickey Rooney that I came to understand the community of child stars. The money is bigger, but not much has changed…not where it counts, in the formation of one’s character.

I learned from Mickey Rooney not to be desperate to ‘please,’ to accept work just for the chance to reach the drunk in the back row of a dark and desperate theater. He taught me that there is a world of difference between being a grown up adult and a being a mere performer, speaking other people’s words and lying about one’s true feelings.

Thank you, Mickey Rooney. The past forty-five years have been better, than 5b4 ks to you.
Paul Petersen



Brad...Whatcha gonna do? What are you gonna do?

Re: In all seriousness what made him a legend?

You must be joking . . .

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Re: In all seriousness what made him a legend?

He had a few really great roles beyon 2000 d the MGM years

There were a Twilight Zone episodes I'll never forget (but have forgotten the name)

Requiem for a Heavyweight

Ambush Bay, The 2 Stallion Movies, the 2 Bill movies,

he was around a long GD time, saw and did a lot

Read somewhere that he and Ernest Borgnine had an ongoing feud since the 50s, what about I don't know, but at one point Mickey thru a punch at Ernie, didn't connect, and Ernise didn't hit back, but, well I don't know, but that says something about the guy

You don't have to stand tall, but you have to stand up!






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