Once upon a time, Mickey Rooney was Brad Pitt.
He was the hottest actor on the planet dating just about anybody he wanted to and having his pick of nightclubs and movie projects. That smile, those bangs. Before he was in his mid-twenties, Mickey made the cover of Time, crashed White House parties, famously squabbled with a studio chief over his carousing and generally had a swell time as a shaggy young-playboy with a truly remarkable acting pedigree.
Closer to my existence, Mickey also had a role. My grandfather, the veteran Hollywood musician and composer Lee Zahler, tutored Mickey with his signing and performing when Mickey as a little kid was the star of the Mickey McGuire series that ran at the top of double bills. Legend even has it that my mother, Muriel Jacobs, punched the legendary kid-actor right in the nose when he tried stealing her baseball during a sandlot studio game in the 1930s. Who knows whether the story is true, fabricated or a half truth. For more about this legend, please check out my first book, Wheeling the Deal: the Outrageous Legend of Gordon Zahler.
Mickey Rooney’s astronishing early career led to more difficult later days dealing with supposed addiction, marital and financial troubles. No matter any of that, he didn’t deserve to be a victim of elder abuse. He didn’t need to have his legacy be that of a emotional, doddering old man testifying before Congress. There was supposed to be more grace and dignity than that for someone who really was once Hollywood royalty. But, a relative allegedly never bought into that destiny, instead engaging in harassment and bullying in his senior years in ways we’d never allow our loved-ones to be tormented.
From the MSNBC story: ” … “He threatens, intimidates, bullies and harasses Mickey,” according to papers in support of the stay-away order. “Mickey is effectively a prisoner in his home. Chris has blocked Mickey’s access to his mail and will not provide Mickey with any information about his finances, other than to tell him that Mickey is broke.” The documents also allege that Aber has deprived Rooney of medications, food and has confiscated his passport and other identification cards. “Mickey is extremely fearful that Chris will become physically threatening against Mickey and may even attempt to kidnap Mickey from his home,” the court papers add.
What a horrid ending to a magnificent life. May you have better days ahead, Mickey.