Hollywood suffered a major blow this morning when it was revealed that beloved actor Mickey Rooney had passed at the age of 93.
The former child star is remembered for an impressive career that spanned more than 80 years, included some of the most memorable roles from the Golden Age of film and earned him multiple Academy Award nominations. Most recently, Mickey added to his legacy by testifying to Congress about his experience with elder abuse at the hands of his stepson.
“Even when I tried to speak up, I was told to shut up,” Mickey said during his emotional hearing in 2011. “I was eventually and completely stripped of the ability to make even the most basic decisions.”
Becoming a public advocate for elder abuse awareness earned Mickey praise from many — but also led to his estrangement from his wife since 1978, Jan Chamberlain. She revealed to Hollywood Reporter today that she hadn’t seen Mickey for one year and learned of his death only by reading TMZ.
His children also made reference to their father’s “single” status in a new tribute.
“Mickey was finally enjoying life as a bachelor,” his family said in a statement. “He loved the business he was in and had a great respect for his fellow actors. He led a full life but did not have enough time to finish all he had planned to do.”
Previously, Mickey’s eighth and longest marriage seemed to be his most successful — even though he was hesitant to make any big claims about how long the union would last during a 1979 interview with People.
“You can’t analyze it,” said Mickey, 10 months into his final marriage. “Sometimes it’s really good. Sometimes it’s really bad. It’s consistently inconsistent. It’s frustrating and it’s comfortable. It’s always tough to live together.”
The state of his marriage aside, Mickey’s children said he found true happiness after moving from his stepson’s allegedly abusive household to son Mark Rooney and daughter-in-law Charlene Rooney’s home: “With them he finally found happiness, health and a feeling of safety and was able to enjoy life again.”