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Monday, April 7, 2014

So Long Mickey Rooney


Mickey Rooney Time Magazine movieloversreviews.filminspector.com


This site is not, I vow, going to be become simply a place for posting obituary notices of the stars of yesteryear.

However, it is impossible not to note the passing of a screen titan like Mickey Rooney.

This is a guy who was a major star when World War II broke out, and he enlisted and served.

World War II!

This man paid the maximum Social Security tax every year since the program was instituted in 1935.

1935!

My favorite Mickey Rooney story is this one, which is almost certainly a product of his wishful thinking, and it will be my final homage to this screen legend. I'll tell you why it is so special to me after Mickey has his final say:
Mickey claims that he met a wannabe actress at a party and was captivated by her look, but not her name. Rooney recalls taking the starlet home that night and helping her define her famous name and image. He said, "I said, 'Something tells me you have a wonderful chance - but you gotta change your name: There was a wonderful star named MARILYN MILLER, and nobody's used it (name). You should be Marilyn.' "Then the phone rang and it was a guy I used to write scripts with whose name was TOM MONROE... She said, 'Who were you talking to?' 'I was talking to your last name... You're Marilyn Monroe.'" 
Why do I love this story so much, when it's accuracy is, shall we say, questionable?

Because he claims to have taken young Marilyn Monroe home for the night!

So long, Mickey Rooney, thanks for everything.

Mickey Rooney The Black Stallion movieloversreviews.filminspector.com
Mickey Rooney in his award-winning role of "The Black Stallion"

Postscript

Incidentally, just to show there are two sides to everything and we need to present every side of debatable issues, here is an anonymous rebuttal to the "Marilyn Monroe" story from an anonymous source at an anonymous place on the anonymous Internet. The facts of how Marilyn Monroe was named really don't matter in this author's opinion in the context of Mickey Rooney's passing. It's a great story even if Mickey was just, well, telling a great story in his later years (the "Marilyn" story actually came out many years ago during an interview Mickey gave to a magazine). We'll note the "facts" of the matter (if such is the case, nothing you find online is necessarily to be taken at face value), observe that Mickey did have a tendency toward, shall we shall, exaggerating certain details, let anyone interested investigate for themselves, and move on:
"Mickey Rooney did NOT name Marilyn Monroe. She was named in 1946 by Ben Lyon, a talent scout and casting director for 20th Century Fox, when Norma Jeane (NOT Norma Rae) signed her first studio contract. Norma Jeane suggested the surname Monroe because it was her mother's maiden name and was a name to which she felt attached. Lyon suggested Marilyn because he admired the late stage actress Marilyn Miller. In fact, he had briefly been engaged to her at one time. The name was alliterative, even musical, and Norma Jeane Dougherty agreed to become Marilyn Monroe. Mickey Rooney is a raconteur and self-promoter, even pretending to be Walt Disney's inspiration for Mickey Mouse's name!"
RIP Mickey Rooney, still engendering debate after his passing.





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