When legendary actor Mickey Rooney passed away on Sunday, the world didn’t just lose a master of screen and stage, a guy whose nine decades of performing took hims just about everywhere a career like that could take a person.
True: by saying goodbye to Rooney, we say goodbye to a gargantuan talent, a diminutive guy whose spirit and charm seemed boundless, a fellow who tasted all that acting had to offer, from Shakespearean theater and Broadway musicals to the silver screen to TV sitcoms.
Any list of his work is almost overwhelming, really.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
Heck, the guy was even the voice of Santa Claus in the epic 1970 stop-motion animated, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.
But still, there is more.
Somewhere in the fringe shadows of all the Hollywood tributes, we should also realize that Mickey Rooney’s exit-stage-left means we have also lost a wise, self-deprecating mouthpiece for love, marriage, relationships, and divorce. His was a real voice which, across a million interviews, never seemed to shy away from the subject of his romantic life and his marital roller coaster.
The 5’3″ Rooney often managed to use just a huge sentence or two to capture the bittersweet essence of sadness and resignation and forgiveness and enduring feelings that so often define modern love. Married eight times, Rooney’s love life, with all of it’s ups and downs and which included vows exchanged with the legendary Ava Gardner when he was 21 and she was just 19, was a hot topic for him throughout his life.
And it resulted in some seriously sharp, witty, and heartfelt quotes that any of us who has ever been in love, sucked a love, or been heartbroken or even broke some hearts ought to read now and then, if for no other reason than to know that, no matter who we are or where we’ve been, we’re never alone when it comes to amore.
Rest easy, Mickey; it wasn’t always easy or graceful or even pretty, I guess.
But it was always kind of grand.
Mickey Rooney On Love, Marriage, and Divorce:
-“People say, “How can you be married eight times?” But I played the hand dealt me the way I was supposed to. I was friendly with most of my ex-wives. My God, there’s a Mickey Rooney’s Former Wives Marching Band!”
-“I was a 13-year-old boy for 30 years.”
-“I’m 5 feet 3, but I was 6 feet 4 when I married Ava (Gardner).”
– [asked if he would marry all of his eight wives again] “Absolutely. I loved every one of them.”
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