Mickey Rooney has died

Mickey RooneyVeteran actor Mickey Rooney - who began his career when he was just 18 months old - passed away yesterday aged 93 from natural causes following a lengthy period of ill health. In his lengthy career, the Andy Hardy star was nominated for four Academy Awards and received two special Oscars for his work. In 1939 he was the film industry's biggest box office draw, largely thanks to his portrayal of Andy Hardy in a 15-movie series and frequent pairings with fellow starlet Judy Garland in movies such as Babes in Arms. He began his career in his parents' vaudeville act, Yule and Carter, and took on his first feature film role at age six, playing a cigar-smoking midget in Orchids and Ermine. Born Joe Yule Jr., his name was legally changed to Mickey McGuire by producers when he landed the title role in the Mickey McGuire silent film series as a child. After years of being called Mickey, when the series ended, he kept the first name and changed his last name to Rooney. Despite his Hollywood success, the National Velvet star - who married eight times, including to legendary actress Ava Gardner - was declared bankrupt by the early 1960s, with much of his money going to a ''reckless'' lifestyle and alimony payments to his ex-wives. However, he enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to the 1977 movie Pete's Dragon and Broadway show Sugar Babies later that decade. He continued to work regularly in TV, theater and film, with his most recent appearance being in 2011 movie The Muppets. Summing his life up in his 1991 autobiography, Life Is Too Short, the diminutive star quipped: ''Had I been brighter, the ladies been gentler, the Scotch weaker, the gods kinder, the dice hotter - it might have all ended up in a one-sentence story.''

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