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Mickey Rooney Dies at 93 - R.I.P.


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#1 pherank

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 10:44 PM

Another American show business icon leaves us:

http://www.nytimes.c...dies-at-93.html

 



#2 sandik

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 12:10 AM

I've got a barn, let's do a show.



#3 dirac

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 04:27 AM

Another link to the golden age gone. It's easy to forget what a colossal star Rooney was in his day, because so many of his vehicles haven't aged so well and his star personality seems a tad hyperaggressive for today's tastes. A contemporary viewer might well wonder why young Judy Garland was relegated to second-banana status in their pictures together. But he was a big star and a big talent. No one could pick up a routine faster (which may have encouraged some his bad offscreen habits; it was all too easy for him).  Adieu, Puck.



#4 ballet_n00b

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 06:01 AM

I was saddened to hear this news.

I haven't seen that many of his movies but I really liked him in "It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world", especially the part in the plane with Buddy Hackett.



#5 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 06:36 AM



#6 sandik

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 02:53 PM

That is my favorite speech from the play -- many thanks for the clip!



#7 dirac

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 05:43 AM

A nice photo gallery from CNN accompanying a story about a dispute over the will.

Rooney "intentionally omitted" and disinherited his eight surviving biological children and two other stepchildren from his last marriage, the will said.

Rooney had no negative feelings toward his surviving children, but they were all financially better off than he was, Augustine said, adding that Rooney believed that what little he had to leave should go to Mark Rooney and his wife, because they had been taking good care of him in his final two years.

 



#8 miliosr

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 03:46 AM

The real pity is that he died with so little after so many years in show business.  He started out in the silent movie era!



#9 dirac

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 09:01 AM

Rooney had a gambling habit and multiple wives. Not a recipe for financial stability.

 

I guess it should be noted that the stars of the golden age, most of whom were contract players, were underpaid, relatively speaking. Many ended up well-off but not necessarily stratospherically so, unless they invested wisely. The old system had its advantages for stars but base pay wasn’t one of them.

 

(Ginger Rogers wrote in her autobiography that her mother Lela (one of the great stage mamas of showbiz history) asked her daughter’s agent about what we would call today residuals from this newfangled television thingy (this was in the 1930s). Hayward said there was no need, it was never going to amount to anything.)

 

That said, Rooney would probably have ended up in financial difficulties anyway, given his habits. At the peak of his stardom he'd spend most of his week at the tracks playing the horses and then come in and pick up all his routines in a day. As noted upthread, possibly he was too talented for his own good. And of course don't forget his height, maybe some of this was overcompensation.....



#10 miliosr

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 03:34 PM

I watched one of my favorite MGM musicals, Words and Music, again this week and really paid attention to Rooney.  To say his performance is a broad one would be the understatement of the year (although, in the informative commentary track, the film scholar reminds us that Lorenz Hart had a broad personality.)   Hard to know how much of Rooney's scenery-chewing performance is due to him or the craziness and historical inaccuracy of the script.  Still, if you can stay the course, his duet with Judy Garland -- "I Wish I Were in Love Again" -- is wonderful.  He was one of the few people who could go toe-to-toe with her and not get obliterated.  He made it look so easy when we all know it wasn't.  Unfortunately, this was to be his last film for MGM, as he was no longer a cute juvenile at 28.



#11 miliosr

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 04:56 PM

I watched Words and Music again last night.  The biographical (and I use that term loosely) portion of the movie gets worse every time I watch.  I don't know what's more excruciating -- Mickey Rooney's hammy overacting as Lorenz Hart or Tom Drake's monotone delivery as Richard Rodgers.  Still, MGM was dealing from strength in 1948 by featuring June Allyson, Cyd Charisse, Perry Como, Lena Horne, Judy Garland, Betty Garrett, Gene Kelly, Ann Sothern and Vera-Ellen in this -- the musical numbers have held up lo these 66 years later.

 

One thing that's fun about musicals from this period is that, if you pay close attention to dance numbers within and across musicals, you start to see the same faces again and again in the MGM corps of dancers.  Not only do they show up in dance numbers but you can often spot them in crowd/party scenes as extras.  I wish there was an oral history featuring the MGM corps dancers from the 40s.  The closet thing I know of is the 1990s documentary MGM: When the Lion Roars, which actually did feature interviews with several dancers from that period.



#12 dirac

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 12:07 PM

An incredible load of talent. Only possible under the old studio system, for better and worse. It is indeed too bad that there's no such oral history.

 

Yeah, Hart was an outsized personality, but not outsized that way. (And Tom Drake as Richard Rodgers? Whaaaa?) To be fair, the composer biopics were never meant to be factually accurate, and it is doubtful that the subjects themselves would have desired such accuracy. They were intended as showcases for the music.

 

He was one of the few people who could go toe-to-toe with her and not get obliterated. He made it look so easy when we all know it wasn't.

 

 

So true. " I Wish I Were in Love Again" is a great number, and a nice way for the Rooney-Garland partnership at MGM to end. In most of their pictures together, though, Rooney dominates and is allowed to do so. This made sense at the time because he was the bigger star to begin with, but to the modern eye young Judy is far more appealing. By the time of "Words and Music" she had really come into her own. (I will say she does look a little too thin.)



#13 sandik

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 01:25 PM

To be fair, the composer biopics were never meant to be factually accurate, and it is doubtful that the subjects themselves would have desired such accuracy. They were intended as showcases for the music.


Very true -- "Night and Day" (Cary Grant as Cole Porter.)

#14 miliosr

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 02:36 PM

The interesting thing about the two Judy Garland numbers -- "I Wish I Were in Love Again" (w/ Rooney) and "Johnny One Note" -- is that they weren't filmed back-to-back.  The studio called in Garland from her sickbed (this was around the time when they had replaced her with Ginger Rogers in The Barkleys of Broadway) to film one number.  The studio heads were so pleased with the results that they brought Garland back weeks later to film the second number.  You can tell the numbers weren't filmed on consecutive days because Garland's looks different in the two numbers and there are continuity problems with her dress.  (In "I Wish I Were in Love Again" her dress has a belt and in "Johnny One Note" it doesn't.)  The weight issue would arise again two years later with Summer Stock, when the Garland of "Get Happy" is noticeably thinner than she is in the rest of the movie.

 

I don't know what's funnier to the 21st century eye -- the lengths the studio went to "degay" Lorenz Hart or Tom Drake pretending to be attracted to Janet Leigh.  (The Boy Next Door wasn't that good of an actor!)



#15 dirac

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 11:37 AM

 

To be fair, the composer biopics were never meant to be factually accurate, and it is doubtful that the subjects themselves would have desired such accuracy. They were intended as showcases for the music.


Very true -- "Night and Day" (Cary Grant as Cole Porter.)

 

 

There's a story that after the picture came out one of the screenwriters rang Porter to apologize for his part in the atrocity and was stunned to hear Porter tell him that he just loved the whole thing. He relayed this puzzling response to Oscar Hammerstein, who asked, "How many of his songs were in it?" "27." "Well, of course he loved it. You don't think he noticed all the stuff that went on between his songs, did you?"

 

One of Grant's rare embarrassing performances, especially when he is required to disport as a Bulldog undergraduate, although arguably not quite as cringe-inducing as his rugged man-of-the-people frontiersman in "The Howards of Virginia."  Even so Porter probably preferred being played by Grant on a bad day to almost anyone else.

 

(The Boy Next Door wasn't that good of an actor!)

 

 

No, he wasn't. But I'll always like the way he tells Garland in "Meet Me in St. Louis" that "That Welsh rarebit was ginger peachy." And the following scene where the two of them go through the house turning down the lights has a delicately erotic aura.




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