Police: Legendary star Mickey Rooney dies at 93

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FILE – Entertainment legend Mickey Rooney is shown in this May 1987 file photo. The Associated Press reported, Monday, April 7, 2014, that Rooney has died at age 93. (AP Photo/File)

FILE – Entertainment legend Mickey Rooney is shown in this May 1987 file photo. The Associated Press reported, Monday, April 7, 2014, that Rooney has died at age 93. (AP Photo/File)

FILE – In this Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008, file photo, Mickey Rooney takes the stage to make an award presentation at the 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, in Los Angeles. According to The Associated Press, Monday, April 7, 2014, Rooney has died at age 93. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

FILE – In this Monday, April 26, 2004, file photo, Jan, left, and Mickey Rooney pose for photographs after having unveiled their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. According to The Associated Press, Monday, April 7, 2014, Rooney has died at age 93. (AP Photo/Ann Johansson, File)

FILE – In this Wednesday, March 2, 2011, file photo, Senate Aging Committee Chairman Sen. Herb Kohl. D-Wis., center, gets a hug from entertainer Mickey Rooney, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, as Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., looks on at left, prior to Rooney testifying about elder abuse, before the committee. Rooney, a Hollywood legend whose career spanned more than 80 years, has died. He was 93. Los Angeles Police Commander Andrew Smith said that Rooney was with his family when he died Sunday, April 6, 2014, at his North Hollywood home. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

FILE – Actor Mickey Rooney is shown in this file photo as G.I. Dooley in the 1956 Hollywood movie “The Bold and the Brave.” According to The Associated Press, Monday, April 7, 2014, Rooney has died at age 93. (AP Photo/File)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mickey Rooney, the pint-size, precocious actor and all-around talent whose more than 80-year career spanned silent comedies, Shakespeare, Judy Garland musicals, Andy Hardy stardom, television and the Broadway theater, died Sunday at age 93.

Los Angeles Police Commander Andrew Smith said that Rooney was with his family when he died at his North Hollywood home.

Smith said police took a death report but indicated that there was nothing suspicious and it was not a police case. He said he had no additional details on the circumstances of his passing.

Rooney started his career in his parents’ vaudeville act while still a toddler, and broke into movies before age 10. He was still racking up film and TV credits more than 80 years later — a tenure likely unmatched in the history of show business.

“I always say, ‘Don’t retire — inspire,’” he told The Associated Press in March 2008. “There’s a lot to be done.”

Among his roles in recent years was a part as a guard in the smash 2006 comedy “A Night at the Museum.”

Rooney won two special Academy Awards for his film achievements, and reigned from 1939 to 1942 as the No. 1 moneymaking star in movies, his run only broken when he joined the Army. At his peak, he was the incarnation of the show biz lifer, a shameless ham and hoofer whom one could imagine singing, dancing and wisecracking in his crib, his blond hair, big grin and constant motion a draw for millions. He later won an Emmy and was nominated for a Tony.

“Mickey Rooney, to me, is the closest thing to a genius I ever worked with,” Clarence Brown, who directed his Oscar-nominated performance in “The Human Comedy,” once said.

Rooney’s personal life matched his film roles for color. His first wife was the glamorous — and taller — Ava Gardner, and he married seven more times, fathering seven sons and four daughters.

Through divorces, money problems and career droughts, he kept returning with customary vigor.

“I’ve been coming back like a rubber ball for years,” he commented in 1979, the year he returned with a character role in “The Black Stallion,” drawing an Oscar nomination as supporting actor, one of four nominations he earned over the years.

That same year he starred with Ann Miller in a revue called “Sugar Babies,” a hokey mixture of vaudeville and burlesque. It opened in New York in October 1979, and immediately became Broadway’s hottest ticket. Rooney received a Tony nomination (as did Miller) and earned millions during his years with the show.

To the end, he was a non-stop talker continually proposing enterprises, some accomplished, some just talk: a chain of barbecue stands; training schools for talented youngsters; a Broadway show he wrote about himself and Judy Garland; screenplays, novels, plays.

Rooney was among the last survivors of Hollywood’s studio era, which his career predated. Rooney signed a contract with MGM in 1934 and landed his first big role as Clark Gable as a boy in “Manhattan Melodrama.” A loanout to Warner Bros. brought him praise as an exuberant Puck in Max Reinhardt’s 1935 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which also featured James Cagney and a young Olivia de Havilland.

Rooney was soon earning $300 a week with featured roles in such films as “Riff Raff,” ”Little Lord Fauntleroy,” ”Captains Courageous,” ”The Devil Is a Sissy,” and most notably, as a brat humbled by Spencer Tracy’s Father Flanagan in “Boys Town.”

The big break came with the wildly popular Andy Hardy series, beginning with “A Family Affair.”

“I knew ‘A Family Affair’ was a B picture, but that didn’t stop me from putting my all in it,” Rooney wrote. “A funny thing happened to this little programmer: released in April 1937, it ended up grossing more than half a million dollars nationwide.”

The critics grimaced at the depiction of a kindly small-town judge (Lionel Barrymore) with his character-building homilies to his obstreperous son. But MGM saw the film as a good template for a series and studio head Louis B. Mayer saw the series as a template for a

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