Stars of Vaudeville #234: Mickey Rooney

Originally posted in 2010

This photo of Mickey Rooney was taken just last week. No, no…

Judy Garland’s pal from the Andy Hardy movies was also in vaudeville with his vaudeville parents. His father was Joe Yule (who later went on to a film career in his own right) and Mickey’s real name was Sonny Yule, Jr. — billed as “Sonny Yule”. He was born in a theatrical boarding house in Brooklyn on this day in 1920 and made his debut at the tender age of 15 months. Joe and wife Nellie soon dressed the tot in a tiny tuxedo and gave him songs to sing, such as “Pal O’ My Cradle Days”. When he could handle it, they gave me him a  line of patter: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m going to sing. I’m going to dance. I want to spend my life entertaining you, and I’m going to start right now.” He kept his word.

When Sonny was about five, Joe, Sr. and wife Nellie separated. The child went with his mother to Hollywood to star in the “Mickey Macguire” series of silent film shorts, based on a popular comic strip. Now identified with the name Mickey Macguire but unable to use it for legal reasons, he became Mickey Rooney. The elf-like entertainer (he stood 5’ 3” at his tallest) passed away in 2014 at age 93

Now here he is when he was at his most amazing. This clip from Broadway to Hollywood is from 1933.

To find out more about vaudeville past and presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.


And don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from etc etc etc


4 Responses to “Stars of Vaudeville #234: Mickey Rooney”

  1. My mother Margie LaMont worked with Mickey and his dad Joe Yule in vaudeville in the 1920’s. She never forgot working with then 3 year old mickey when he ran out on stage during her sister act number. Lilian Brown Banned in Boston

  2. Margie loved him. Never forgot him and always told me that story when I was growing up.

  3. He’s a great Man ,so talented !

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