As a classic movie fan who pays attention, you undoubtedly know by now that Mickey Rooney died at his Los Angeles home on April 6 at age 93. Whadda guy and whadda career — not all of it good by any means.
We are more or less of two minds about Rooney: Joe has long been an admirer of his versatility and sheer verve, especially in those Judy Garland musicals; Frank eschews Rooney’s manic acting tendencies but admires his later work (eg., in British director Mike Hodges 1972’s crime drama Pulp, playing an ex-Hollywood star in exile in Malta) including his occasional film noir.
There’s no question that Rooney’s career was among Hollywood’s longest — if not THE longest ever.
His work began in the silent era (his first movie dates from 1926), and ended this year with an appearance in Fox’s Night At The Museum 3 sequel, due in theaters in December. For the mathematically challenged, that comes to a grand total of 88 years covering a staggering 338 movie and TV credits.
After reading one or more of his many obits, you probably know a fair amount about Rooney, both professionally and personally. His private life was equally flamboyant as his onscreen performances, and pretty much every bit of it was public.
So today’s Monday Quiz — designed to memorialize Rooney’s amazing career — may be a bit trickier than usual. But we’ve long known that our readers are NOT easy to stump. Ok: on to our Mickey Rooney Quiz. Let’s see how you do.
1) Question: Rooney met his first wife, Ava Gardner, on the MGM set of 1941’s Babes on Broadway when he was dressed in drag in the film’s parody of a famous international star. Who was the star Rooney was sending up? a) Edith Piaf; b) Carmen Miranda; c) Lupe Valez; or d) Ingrid Bergman.
2) Question: Exactly how tall was Rooney? a) 5 feet-2 inches; b) 5 feet-five; c) 4 feet-nine; or d) 5 feet-eleven.
3) Question: Rooney’s cradle was literally a drawer in his parents’ backstage dressing room, and his show biz career began at the very early age of one-and-a-half. a) True; or b) False?
4) Question: Although Rooney made MGM a fortune in the Andy Hardy family series of films, he was by no means the innocent, grinning Everyboy he so successfully portrayed. Which of the following were his principle vices at the time? a) Fast driving; b) Chip-on-the-shoulder belligerance; c) Cigar smoking; or d) Incessant womanizing?
5) Question: In 1950, Rooney made Quicksand, one of his few film noirs, and got to beat up his costar. Who is this unfortunate colleague? a) Ralph Meeker; b) Art Smith; c) Peter Lorre; or d) Charles McGraw.
6) Question: How many wives did Rooney marry over his lifetime? a) 4; b) 7; c) 8 or d) 9.
7) Question: Which of his female costars described Rooney as “a self-absorbed kid” who “never grew up?” And, “I didn’t find him very likable?” a) Spencer Tracy; b) Esther Williams; c) Lana Turner; or d) Elizabeth Taylor.
8) Question: Which of the following is NOT a let’s-put-on-a-show-style musical costarring Rooney and Garland? a) Babes In Arms; b) Strike Up The Band; c) The Strip; or d) Babes on Broadway.
9) Question: In which one of the following movies did Rooney portray Clark Gable as a boy? a) A Midsummer Night’s Dream; b) Little Lord Fauntleroy; c) Captain’s Courageous; or d) Manhattan Melodrama.
10) Question: In 1939, Rooney shared a special Academy Award “for bringing to the screen the spirit and the personification of youth.” With whom did he share the award? a) Judy Garland; b) Norman “Chubby” Chaney; c) Shirley Temple; or d) Deanna Durbin.