Mickey Rooney has the longest movie career in history, totally 83 years. He made his first film appearance in 1926 in the film Not To Be Trusted. His next movie is scheduled to be released in 2010 entitled Johnny Blue. Mickey Rooney was born Joseph Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York to Joseph Yule and Nellie Carter. His parents were in vaudeville and were appearing in a Brooklyn production of A Gaiety Girl when Mickey was born. He began preforming at the age of 17 months as part of his parent's routine. The Yules separated in 1924 and in 1925, Nellie Yule moved with her son to Hollywood, where she managed a tourist home. Mickey Rooney originally audtioned for the Our Gang series but was not selected. After seeing an advertisement for a dark haired child to play the role of Mickey McGuire in a series of short films, Nellie took her son to the audition. Mrs. Yule could not afford to have her son's hair dyed so she applied burnt cork to his scalp. It worked, he got the part and appeared in 78 short films from 1927 to 1936. The first being Mickey's Circus released on September 4, 1927. In 1937, Mickey Rooney was selected to portray Andy Hardy in A Family Affair starring Lionel Barrymore (although Lewis Stone would play the role of Judge Hardy in later films.) The film was a success and this led to thirteen more Andy Hardy films between 1937 and 1958.
Also in 1937, Mickey Rooney made his first film with Judy Garland in Thoroughbred's Don't Cry. Garland and Rooney became close friends and a successful song and dance team. They would appear in numerous movies together. Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney were like brother and sister. Liza Minnelli wanted Mickey Rooney to do the eulogy at the funeral for her mother, Judy Garland, but the parties decided against it because Rooney felt he might not be able to get through it without breaking down.
In 1939, Mickey Rooney appeared with Judy Garland in Babes in Arms, this would earn Mickey Rooney his first Academy Award nomination, the category being Best Actor. Known for his musical and comedy abilities, Mickey Rooney's breakthrough role as a dramatic actor came in 1938's Boys Town opposite Spencer Tracy.
In 1939, 1940, and 1941, Mickey Rooney was the biggest box office draw. In 1941, Tex Avery did a Warner Brother's Cartoon entitled Hollywood Steps Out which featured numerous celebrity caricatures. Mickey Rooney is the only surviving entertainer depicted in the cartoon. In 1939, he received the Honorary Juvenile Academy Award. During the 1930s and 1940s, Mickey Rooney appeared in such classics (in addition to the Andy Hardy films) as Manhatten Melodrama (1934), Reckless (1935), Captains Courageous (1937), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939), Strike Up The Band (1940), Girl Crazy (1943), The Human Comedy (1943), National Velvet (1944), and Summer Holiday (1948). Mickey Rooney would receive an Academy Award nomination (his second) for Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Human Comedy (1943). During the 1940s, Mickey Rooney took a break from films to enter World War II. He served for 22 months in the U.S. Army, five months of which were with Patton's 3rd Army. He was award a Bronze Star among other decorations, raising to the rank of Sergeant.
The 1950s brought the invention of television and like many movie actors of the time, Mickey Rooney branched his talents out to the television medium. He would star in The Mickey Rooney Show in the 1950s and in the 1960s he had his own series Mickey. His guest star credits include Playhouse 90, Alcoa Theatre, Wagon Train, Rawhide, and The Twilight Zone.
He would be nominated for two Emmys during the 1950s, one for Best Single Performance by an Actor (1959) for Alcoa Theatre and a second Best Single Performance by an Actor for The Comedian (1958). In 1964, he won a Golden Globe for Best TV Star Male for Mickey. The 1950s and 1960s, in addition to his television appearances, Mickey Rooney also appeared in such classic films as The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954), A Slight Case of Larceny (1953), The Bold and the Brave (1956), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and 80 Steps to Jonah (1969). He would receive his third Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for The Bold and The Brave (1956). During the 1970s and 1980s, Mickey Rooney's television credits included The Red Skelton Show, Night Gallery, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, Bill, The Love Boat and The Golden Girls.
He would receive an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Special for Bill: On His Own (1983). Mickey Rooney would receive both the Golden Globe and the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Ator in a Mini Series for Bill (1981). During the 1970s and 1980s, Mickey Rooney continued to appear in films such as Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970), Pulp (1972), Rachel's Man (1974), Journey Back to Oz (1974), The Magic of Lassie (1978), The Black Stallion (1979), The Fox and the Hound (1981), The Care Bears Movie (1985), and Lightning, the White Stallion (1986). In 1979, Mickey Rooney would receive his fourth Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for The Black Stallion. He is quoted as saying he is most proud of his performance in The Black Stallion. In 1983, he received the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement. The 1980s also brought a new venture for Mickey Rooney, Broadway. He would be nominated for the 1980 Tony Award for Best Actor (Musical) for Sugar Babies. As Mickey Rooney was entering his 70s, he continued to be active in both television and movies. During the 1990s, his television credits include The Black Stallion, Murder She Wrote, Full House, Boys will be Boys and ER. His movie credits include Maximum Force (1992), The Legend of Wolf Mountain (1992), Revenge of the Red Baron (1994), Killing Midnight (1997) and Babe: Pig in the City (1998).
Mickey Rooney now in his 80s and his ninth decade in films and his sixth decade in television continues to be a major person in the entertainment industry. In this past decade he has appeared in such television productions as The Greatest Show Ever (2007). His movie credits include Internet Love (2000), Night at the Museum (2006) and Paradise (2004). In 2009, Mickey Rooney has two films yet to be released: Now Here and Driving Me Crazy. Mickey Rooney has four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: Movies, Television, Live Theatre, and Radio. According to the Internet Movie Data Base he has 325 film and televison credits to his name. He is one of the most recognized actors in the world. Mickey Rooney's personal life has had its ups and downs. He has been married eight times. His first marriage was to Ava Garnder but they divorced after 18 months. He was also married to and divorced Betty Jane Rase, Martha Vickers, Elaine Devry, Marge Lane, and Carolyn Hockett. His fifth marriage to Carolyn Mitchell end when she was killed in a murder/suicide. Mickey Rooney is the father of nine children. Two of his children (Jimmy and Jonelle) with Carolyn Hockett; four of his children are from his marriage to Carolyn Mitchell (Kimmy Sue, Kerry Yule Rooney, Kelly Ann, and Michael); one child (Teddy) with Martha Vickers and two children (Tim and Mickey Jr.) with Betty Jane Rase. His son Teddy Rooney appeared with him in Andy Hardy Comes Home (1958) as Andy Hardy Jr. Mickey Rooney has been married to Jan Chamberlin for 31 years and in addition to appearing together in television commericals and movies, they also are outspoken advocates for veterans and animal rights.