11:40 AM EDT, April 7, 2014
Mickey Rooney worked right up to his final days. At age 93, he had just returned from Vancouver, Canada, where he shot the upcoming film Night at the Museum 3 with Ben Stiller.
Just last month, he walked the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscar party. And when photographers recently approached him as he rode through the airport in Los Angeles in a wheelchair, he stood up to greet them.
Larry King told INSIDE EDITION, "He had so much talent erupting into one little man. There will never be another Mickey Rooney."
He was born Joe Yule Jr. in 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. The garage to the house Rooney once lived in served as a boarding house for actors. Rooney’s parents worked in Vaudeville.
In his heyday, the 5’3” Rooney was America’s top box office attraction in movies like Boys Town. He was also famously paired with Judy Garland and he acted opposite a teenaged Elizabeth Taylor in the classic, National Velvet.
As the years passed, Rooney redefined himself as a character actor through roles like Breakfast at Tiffany's, although many called the film an offensive caricature.
Rooney's roller-coaster personal life made plenty of headlines. He was married eight times, once quipping, "Always get married in the morning. That way if it doesn't work out, you haven't wasted the whole day."
His first wife was the legendary beauty Ava Gardner who was just 19 when they got married. A year later, they were divorced. He was separated from his eighth wife, Jan Chamberlin at the time of his death.
In 2011, Rooney testified before Congress about elder abuse, saying he had been mistreated by a family member who allegedly denied him food and medicine. "Money was stolen from me by someone close."
The child actor who had a long and legendary career was asked about his highs and lows and what he would most like to be remembered for. He said, "I tried."