Mickey Rooney, the pint-size, precocious actor and all-around talent whose more than 80-year career spanned silent comedies, Shakespeare, Judy Garland musicals, Andy Hardy stardom, television, and the Broadway theater, has died at the age of 93. An LAPD spokesman says that Rooney was with his family when he died at his North Hollywood home. Rooney started his career in his parents' vaudeville act while still a toddler, and broke into movies before age 10. He was still racking up film and TV credits more than 80 years later—a tenure likely unmatched in the history of show business.
"I always say, 'Don't retire—inspire,'" he told the AP in 2008. "There's a lot to be done." Rooney won two special Academy Awards for his film achievements, and reigned from 1939 to 1942 as the No. 1 moneymaking star in movies, his run only broken when he joined the Army. Rooney's personal life matched his film roles for color. His first wife was the glamorous—and taller—Ava Gardner, and he married seven more times, fathering seven sons and four daughters. Through divorces, money problems, and career droughts, he kept returning with customary vigor. "I've been coming back like a rubber ball for years," he commented in 1979, the year he returned with a character role in The Black Stallion, drawing an Oscar nomination as supporting actor, one of four nominations he earned over the years.