Mickey Rooney was one of Hollywood’s greatest actors. His estate that worth hundreds of millions of dollars when he passes away in the summer of 2014. He endures horrific beatings, constant humiliation, and poverty at the hands of his eighth wife and one of her sons. These individuals now stand accused of heinously cruel elder abuse and for destroying a legend of the stage and screen.
The alleged abuse and how it went on for so long has been a mystery until now. An investigation by The Hollywood Reporter uncovers legal documents, witness testimony, and financial records that have never before become public. These findings seem to indicate that Rooney’s life was more abusive than he let on while he was still living.
What’s worse is the fact that the trouble seems to continue right up until his death in April 2014. In a Studio City rental property with just $18,000 to his name. Rooney’s remains now rest at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery where other legends of the big and small screens are.
Before we cover some of the more nitty-gritty details of Rooney’s alleged abuse and exploitation, let’s first do a little overview of his life and career. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Tragic Final Years of Mickey Rooney.
Mickey Rooney’s Life And Career
Rooney was born Ninian Joseph Yule Jr. in Brooklyn, New York on September 23, 1920. He was the only child of Nellie W. Carter and Joe Yule. His mom is a former chorus girl and burlesque performer from Kansas City, Missouri. His dad is a Scottish vaudevillian performer. He immigrates to the United States from his hometown of Glasgow with his family at the age of three months.
When Rooney was born, his parents were both starring in a Brooklyn production of A Gaiety Girl. He enjoys success as a child actor. Rooney performs at the age of 17 as part of his parents’ routine wearing a custom-tailored tuxedo.
Rooney’s career spanned nine decades. Appearing in more than 300 films and is one of the last surviving stars of the silent-film era of Hollywood. He is the top box-office attraction between the years 1939 and 1941, one of the highest-paid actors of his time.
At the peak of his career, Rooney portrays the character, Andy Hardy. A series of 16 films in the 1939s and 40s captures mainstream America’s self-image at the time. Between the age of 15 and 25, Rooney makes 43 films. Considering by MGM to be the most consistently successful actor to be an employee of the studio.
Rooney was an incredibly versatile actor who reinvented himself as a beloved character actor later on in his career. He wins a Golden Globe Award in 1981 and an Emmy in 1982 for the role in the film Bill. He receives an award of the prestigious Academy Honorary Award in 1982. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Tragic Final Years of Mickey Rooney.
Rooney starts in show business in vaudeville as a child actor. His first appearance in the film is at the tender age of 6. He played the character, Mickey McGuire, in a series of 78 short films from the age of 7 to 13. He started playing Andy Hardy at age 16 and portrayed Whitey Marsh in Boys Town at 17. At 19 he becomes the first teen to be in an Academy Award for Best Actor. In a Leading Role for his performance in the 1939 film Babes in Arms.
He drafts into the military during World War II. Rooney serves two years entertaining the troops on stage and on the radio. Upon returning home in 1945 he struggles to find as many starring roles as he once did in the 1950s. He enjoys renewed popularity in supporting roles in films like The Bold and the Brave, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
In the early 80s, Rooney returned to Broadway for a production of Sugar Babies. He ends up winning a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a leading role in a Musical for that role. He went on to make hundreds of appearances on TV series, talk shows, and films.
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And don’t go anywhere just yet. Stay tuned to learn all of the disturbing details of Mickey Rooney’s alleged abuse by the very people that should have been caring for and protecting him in his advanced years.
The Alleged Abuse and Exploitation
Just weeks after Rooney’s stepson, Chris Aber, son of the actor’s eighth wife Jan, serves a restraining order on Valentine’s day in 2011 accusing him of financially exploiting Rooney as his business manager, the actor takes a flight to Washington DC.
Herb Kohl, chairman of the Senate Special Aging Committee receives reports that a conservator for Rooney is attempting to pursue elder abuse charges. So, he invites Rooney to come to testify about his experiences. Transcripts of that hearing revealed that Rooney had been a victim of this increasingly common – albeit despicable – crime. He describes how he strips off the ability to make even the most mundane decisions about his life. This leads to an unbearable and helpless daily existence that feels a lot like being stuck in a bad dream.
Rooney’s attorneys filed court papers in a petition for a conservator. After Rooney confides in a Disney executive during the filming of 2011’s The Muppets. The conservators’ purpose was to protect him from abuse and to help him recover his assets. In that filing, it reveals that Rooney isn’t allowed to buy his own food or carry his ID.
Jan, who’s now 82, now lives with her son Chris at his house and she still continues to receive $100,000 a year from Rooney’s SAG pension and Social Security benefits. She insists that she has been unfairly and maliciously accused of being her late husband’s abuser. She further maintains that Mickey’s Senate testimony is coerced and unreliable.
But now, the public knows that the alleged abuse wasn’t just financial but it also had a physical element as well. Various family members and friends have come forward to say that Rooney is abused by Jan, his wife of 36 years, who is twice his size.
It has also come out that Rooney was battling mental health issues during these difficult times. Those close to Rooney – who he himself was even arrested in 1997 on suspicion of hitting his wife during a fight – say that he was bloodied and battered in multiple incidents in the final years of his life. He resorts to lying to his doctor about why he treats for things like black eyes and a missing tooth. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Tragic Final Years of Mickey Rooney.
While Rooney always denied that his spouse was abusing him, multiple sources have since come forward confirming that Jan herself acknowledged assaulting him when confronted with the disturbing accusations.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jan admitted that while she never physically abused Mickey, there were some minor ‘pushing scuffles’ where tempers flared. Sometimes, she claimed, it was his fault while other times it was hers. But at the end of the day, Jan says that she and her late husband always made up.
One of the inside sources that have come forward shining light on the alleged abuse of the short-statured actor is Hector Garcia, who was brought in by the conservator to oversee Rooney’s safety. Just days after Garcia began this difficult job, he heard yelling and a loud thump coming from the upstairs bedroom and proceeded to rush inside. There, he discovered Mickey on the ground with Jan standing over him.
Garcia reportedly chastised Jan for hitting Rooney and informed her that he wouldn’t stand for that kind of thing. Jan snaps back by saying that Garcia needs to ‘get used to it’ and that she hit him because that’s the only way he learns – ‘by hitting him like a kid’. Garcia informed her that if she ever hit him again, he’d place her under citizen’s arrest.
Regarding that episode, Jan claims that it was one of the very rare times when they ‘slapped each other on the arm’ during an argument but she added that they ‘never meant to hurt each other’. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Tragic Final Years of Mickey Rooney.
The abuse accusations are complicated by the fact that Jan and her son Chris are still very close. Chris accuses Rooney’s conservator, lawyer Michael Augustine, of stealing $8.5 million from his stepdad. In 2013, he agreed to a $2.8 million civil settlement.
Garcia recalls a time when he was bringing Rooney over for visitation with Jan when he saw his stepson getting into his car. Rooney is upset by the sight of Chris that he slink down to the floorboard of the car he is in, starts crying and shaking, and even soils himself in fear. Garcia added that he had to clean Rooney up after that incident. Chris of course has called Garcia’s claims ridiculous and maintains that Mickey had a persistent problem soiling his pants.
Chris, who’s now 62. has yet to pay a dime of that settlement we just mentioned. He also maintains his total innocence in regard to his stepdad’s alleged abuse. Augustine claims that while Chris was stealing money from Rooney, he was always in Hawaii and showering his wife with lavish gifts. They supposedly were spending the money quickly and indiscriminately.
Just how much of her son’s financial wrongdoing Jan knows about still remains fairly unclear, as is the contentious role play by her younger son Mark, a former punk rocker with a long history of drug abuse who becomes Rooney’s live-in caregiver and liberated him from the grips of Chris and Jan. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Tragic Final Years of Mickey Rooney.
What is clear at this point, however, is that one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in history who remains active in the industry longer than anybody else brings to his knees by those closest to him. He died humiliated, battered, and betrayed, almost completely penniless and physically broken.
Rooney died of natural causes in Studio City, California on April 6, 2014, at the age of 93. He died owing medical bills and back taxes. Contributions solicit from the public to cover those costs.
An actor as accomplished, talented, and celebrated as Mickey Rooney should have never gone out the way that he did. He enjoys his retirement in relative comfort and luxury but instead, he subjects himself to unfathomable abuse and neglect. While the truth of what really happened during those final tragic years remains debatable, it’s clear that he deserved better. Join Facts Verse to learn more about The Tragic Final Years of Mickey Rooney.
Do you believe that Mickey Rooney abuses by his wife Jan and her stepson Chris or do you believe their statements of innocence? Let us know in the comments section below.
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