Mickey Rooney died yesterday at the age of 93.
A screen legend, his acting career boasts over 300 credits. The people he met, the places he saw, the film sets he walked on to…seriously it is mind boggling. To name just a few, Mickey shared the screen with the likes of: Judy Garland, Ann Rutherford, Lana Turner, Spencer Tracy, Jean Harlow, Elizabeth Taylor, William Powell, Robert Young, Mary Astor, Warren William, Ginger Rogers, Robert Montgomery, Gloria deHaven, Maureen O’Sullivan, Rosalind Russell, Audrey Hepburn, Wallace Beery, Dolores Costello, Lionel Barrymore, Franchot Tone, Frank Morgan…the list goes on and on and ON.
Mickey and Judy Garland at their best, singing “Our Love Affair”
And yes–Clark Gable is one of Mickey’s many co-stars. Mickey was quite fond of Clark and looked up to him. One of Mickey’s early film roles was portraying Clark’s character as a child in Manhattan Melodrama. You can watch the opening scene with Mickey here.
Here’s a newspaper blurb from 1940:
When Clark Gable and Lionel Barrymore heard Mickey Rooney was going to impersonate them in “Babes in Arms”, they went to the set to try and avert libel at the hands of the irrepressible Rooney.
In the scene in question, Mickey played two parts, those of “Cleopatra’s Uncle Lionel” and “Clark Anthony”. June Pressier was Cleopatra. Mickey laid it on thick. Then he turned to the two stars for their opinion.
“Not bad,”said Barrymore.
Gable remained silent. “What do you think, Clark?” urged Rooney.
“Well, Mickey, I’ll tell you,” said Gable, with his usual tact. “One of us must be rotten.”
Mickey also impersonated Clark in Thousands Cheer (1943) and apparently would also impersonate him sometimes in his road show. I tried to find a clip from either film but unfortunately I can’t.
So sad that we lost the two youngsters in the middle of this picture already this year…
Scenes from an amazing life….
Rest in peace, Mick. You’re among friends now….