Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney ‘put on a show’ in nine-decade career

BY Justin Scuiletti  April 7, 2014 at 12:14 PM EDT

Mickey Rooney in a 1940 studio portrait.

Mickey Rooney in a 1940 studio portrait.

Mickey Rooney, a Hollywood legend whose acting career spanned nine decades across film, television and stage, died Sunday night from natural causes at his North Hollywood home at the age of 93.

Rooney, born Joseph Yule Jr. in Brooklyn, New York in 1920, was one of the last surviving members of the studio era. Rooney found his way onto the stage before the age of two in his parents’ vaudeville act and broke into short films playing the title role in 78 Mickey McGuire shorts released from 1927 to 1936. Soon after, he started a successful film career debuting in 1937’s “A Family Affair,” earning a Juvenile Oscar in 1939 and holding the title of biggest box office draw for three consecutive years from 1939 to 1941.

Mickey Rooney alongside Judy Garland in 1939’s “Babes in Arms”

Through the rest of his life, Rooney would continue to “put on a show” on the big and small screens, as well as the stage. His roles included numerous and famous collaborations with Judy Garland in movies such as 1939’s “Babes in Arms.” Rooney took his talents to Broadway in 1979′s “Sugar Babies.” And he starred in The Family Channel’s 1990 televison series “The Adventures of the Black Stallion.” Working in every decade since the 1920s, Rooney was acting right up to his death. He was in the process of filming scenes reprising his role of “Gus” for the upcoming “Night at the Museum 3.”

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done,” Rooney once said. “I only wish I could have done more.”