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Legendary Mickey Rooney to put on a show

By Jennifer Feinberg - Chilliwack Progress
Published: August 20, 2010 10:00 AM
Updated: August 20, 2010 10:15 AM

He's a living, breathing entertainment legend with more than 350 film credits to his name, and four stars along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The one and only Mickey Rooney is on his way to Chilliwack with his wife and stage partner, Jan Chamberlin Rooney, to perform Let's Put on a Show Sept. 11 in the new Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

The show offers a funny, sweet retrospective look at Rooney's career highlights, spanning more than eight decades. Choice film clips, cornball comedy and revealing anecdotes will accompany the musical numbers from Mickey's movies, along with some originals and a selection from Jan's vast repertoire, including her sparkling tribute to Patsy Cline.

There's also an onstage trio to back up the Rooneys, and a moving ode to Mickey's famous co-star at MGM, Judy Garland.

Mickey Rooney is turning 90 next month, and a casual review of his complete bio is nothing short of mind-boggling.

As a child star he skyrocketed to fame with a natural flair for acting, singing, dancing, athletics, and music.

He once said: "I just want to be a professional. I couldn't live without acting."

He's still lovingly remembered by fans for his childhood role as the son of a judge in the Andy Hardy series of B movies, and for his work as cartoon character Mickey McGuire. His mother wanted to legally change his name to Mickey McGuire for publicity reasons, but the comic strip creator did not agree to this. Instead she renamed him Mickey Rooney.

While waiting to speak to the man himself, I chat with the gracious and friendly Jan Rooney about her life, her home and the pets she shares with Mickey. He may have been married eight times, but this one has stuck.

"We call ourselves the modern-day Bickersons," Jan confides, when asked if working together and living with Mickey is a little tricky.

"It works out just beautifully. We never argue about anything serious."

It's actually a fairly simple life when they're not on the road.

"We're not high falutin' people," she says. "I'm just a country girl at heart."

Jan is a talented vocalist, actor, songwriter in her own right, as well as an abstract artist.

I ask her what's the one thing she can't do without while on tour and living out of hotels.

"I'd have to say my hair curlers and my make-up, which is something my husband never has to worry about. I blame Mary Kay."

Their life together includes a pair of colorful macaws who have their own outdoor atrium and a King Cavalier dog named Digby. When asked who rules the house, Jan first replies "Well, Mickey." Then she concedes it's between Mickey and the birds.

'One of the macaws is named Crackers. Mickey will shout up the stairs when he's looking for me, "Jan!" and the bird will answer "What?" Mickey will call back, not realizing he's not talking to me. That Crackers is a clever little guy."

The couple has been making beautiful music together since 1978, when Mickey cleaned up some bad habits and became a born-again Christian. Their enduring mutual affection is obvious. They spend their free time writing film scripts and music and are in the process of writing a book about their life together.

Jan says her favorite part of the show is the duets and love songs they sing together.

"Each song has its own story. I kinda like Let's Call the Whole Thing Off, which goes 'You say either and I say either, You say neither and I say neither/Either, either Neither, neither/ Let's call the whole thing off." she says. "It's pretty special."

The famous tune by Louis Armstrong was performed on-screen by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers on roller skates.

"I got to know Ginger and they were our mutual friends," she says, her voice drifting off for a second as she reminisced.

Mrs. Rooney reveals she has Canadian roots. Her mom was born in Miami, Manitoba.

"Most of my relatives migrated to Vancouver, and some in Chilliwack, as I recall," she said.

The phone is muffled. Mickey tells Jan to mention the fact that they share a star for live entertainment on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which she does.

When Mickey takes the phone, he says he's thrilled to be doing the show with Jan.

"She's a natural," he says from his home in Ventura Country, California.

"We were born to work together and we enjoy what we're doing very much," Mickey gushes.

They're on a little break resting up at home for a few weeks.

How does he manage such a frenzied pace?

"I'm just happy that we're staying home for a while. I just finished up a picture with Ernie Borgnine. You know I've done nine pictures with him."

It's amazing to consider Mickey is the only living screen actor who started out in a silent film at the age of five playing a little person in Not To Be Trusted, and has remained productive right into the new millennium.

He picks Boys Town as one of his favorites movies ("I did a lot of work for that one"), but he's also known for his work in National Velvet, Babes in Arms and the Black Stallion and so many more.

His motto is "Don't retire, inspire!" and he's also been in modern movies like Bill, Babe: Pig in the City, and Night At The Museum.

Given his incredible longevity, and multi-faceted artistic ability, I wanted to know where he thinks he got his prodigious talent.

But Mickey gently puts the kibosh on that one.

"I can't answer that. You'd have to ask my maker," he says.

  • Let's Put on A Show, Saturday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m. at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, tickets $54.32 (includes fees and taxes). 604.392.7469 www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca



Turning 90 and other milestones

There's no stopping Mickey as he turns 90 and begins his 10th Decade of performing. In true showman style Mickey and his wife Jan will celebrate his 90th Birthday with a Pan-Canadian tour and NY performances at the famed Feinstein's at Loews Regency of their hit musical "Let's Put On A Show!"

The evening features tales from 87 consecutive years in show business peppered with gems from the golden years of MGM, among them "Manhattan" and "How About You", from his storied teaming with Judy Garland. The show builds on the long lasting, relationship with the true love of his life, his talented wife of over 32 years, Jan. Jan displays her soaring vocal skills in a variety of musical styles that range from a Patsy Cline tribute to their duets that harken back to the Hollywood of yesterday.

An American treasure, MICKEY ROONEY is a living legend whose career as a child prodigy, actor, musician, composer and entertainer has film, television, and stage appearances that now span ten decades. He has received multiple honors including the Academy Award™, Golden Globe™, Emmy Award™ and most proudly the Bronze Star for service in World War ll. Beloved for his work as the Andy Hardy character and movie partner to Judy Garland, Rooney's career endures as the longest of any living actor.

Rooney's breakthrough role as a dramatic actor came in 1938's Boys Town opposite Spencer Tracy. Rooney was named the biggest box-office draw in 1939, 1940, and 1941, literally saving the MGM studio from financial ruin. Other notable films include Manhattan Melodrama with Clark Gable, Riffraff with Jean Harlow, Babes in Arms, Strike Up the Band and Girl Crazy (all with Judy Garland), National Velvet with Elizabeth Taylor, Requiem for a Heavyweight, It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn, The Black Stallion and Night at the Museum. The proud recipient of 3 previous stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame TM, in 2005 he accepted a rare 4th Star which not only honors him, but also his wife Jan's contributions for "Live Entertainment". The Rooney's shared star is located at the corner of Hollywood and Highland in front of the Kodak Theatre.

JAN ROONEY has appeared in numerous films, television shows, cartoon voice-overs, and commercials. Television fans remember her appearances on "The Love Boat" where she appeared as a singing Nun with Keenan Wynn and Donnie Osmond, and in the TV classic, "It Came upon a Midnight Clear". Among the highlights of Jan's film career are The Party directed by Robert Altman, Tropic Thunder with Ben Stiller and Robert Downey, Jr., and the movie Driving Me Crazy with Celeste Holm and Dick Cavett. Jan recently completed principal photography on the feature, Nightclub with Ernest Borgnine, Paul Sorvino and Sally Kellerman. For the past 3 holiday seasons Jan has wowed British stage audiences with her performances as "The Fairy Godmother" in the acclaimed First Family Entertainment's pantomime production of Cinderella.

Jan's numerous recordings include Christian albums, film soundtracks, and the Original Cast Album of Sugar Babies. Jan Rooney has worked with legendary performers such as Chet Atkins, Joel Grey, Leslie Caron, The Smothers Brothers, Phyllis Diller and Placido Domingo, among others.



Culver City, CA. The 2009 Backlot Film Festival is pleased to announce that legendary actor Mickey Rooney has accepted the honor of receiving the Festival's prestigious "Thomas Ince Award." The award is named for the pioneer producer of early film making who introduced production procedures and quality of standards that set the model and helped mold the distinct image of Hollywood films to this day, and who built two movie studios that still stand in Culver City today – the current Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Culver Studios.

Mr. Rooney joins a stellar group of previous honorees: Daniel Selznick, Budd Schulberg and Carl Reiner. His acceptance serves to continue the mission and goals of the Backlot Film Festival: to cultivate an appreciation of the rich heritage of the motion picture industry and to bring greater understanding of the debt current filmmakers owe to the earlier pioneers.

The Tribute and Gala Awards Ceremony will be held on Saturday evening, October 10, 2009, at the historic Veterans Memorial Building Auditorium in Culver City. A program of Rooney’s classic films will highlight the festival, and special guests are sure to attend this tribute.

In addition, the Backlot Film Festival, with the cooperation and support of Steve Saltzman, grandson of the legendary film producer Arthur Freed and President of Arthur Freed Productions, has established the "Arthur Freed Award" to the best student film submitted to our festival. Moreover, its sponsorships with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Brothers Distribution have to date attracted such industry supporters as actors Ben Stiller, Rob Reiner and John Kerr, film historian and critic Leonard Maltin, Los Angeles Times Arts Editor Emeritus Charles Champlin, casting director, film historian Marvin Paige of Marvin Paige Casting and The Motion Picture and Television Archives, writer/director/actor Stella Stevens and Marc Wanamaker of Bison Archives, among others.

The festival is open to fiction features and documentaries, fiction shorts and documentaries, music videos and student films. Deadline for entries is August 15, 2009. Submissions should be mailed to: Backlot Film Festival, 4244 Revere Place, Culver City, CA 90232.

The 2009 Backlot Film Festival will run from October 7-10, 2009 at the historic Veterans Memorial Building Auditorium, located at 4117 Overland Avenue in Culver City, CA 90230. For additional information on the Backlot Film Festival, the Thomas Ince Award and past recipients, and the Festival’s goals, please visit the BFF website: http://www.backlotfilmfestival.com, or call 310-204-6920.


“Chiller Theatre Expo”

Mickey will be signing autographs Friday and Saturday only at "Chiller Theatre Expo"

Hilton Parsippany
One Hilton Court
Parsippany, New Jersey 07054



Mickey will be here Oct 30 and 31st ONLY

Friday - 6 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Saturday - 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Sharon & Ray Courts Present

Hollywood Celebrities & Memorabilia Show

Wyndham O'Hare
Airport Hotel

6810 North Mannheim Road
Rosemont, Illinois 60018

October 17th, 2009
10:00am - 5:00pm

October 18th, 2009
10:00am - 4:00pm


Nov 5th – 7th Personal Appearances



Mickey Rooney, whose personal motto is "Don’t retire, Inspire!" is set to celebrate his 89th Birthday with an international tour of his and wife, Jan Rooney’s, "Let’s Put on A Show!" with a 15 performance tour of Ontario Canada from September 21-October 6, 2009.

Entertaining world-wide audiences since crawling on to the stage during his father’s Vaudeville act at 18 months in 1922, Mickey Rooney stands ready to continue his performing lifestyle. Joined on stage by his wife, the singer/actress Jan Rooney, they will perform their highly acclaimed musical "Let’s Put On A Show!"

In 2004 Mickey and Jan received a Star for Live Entertainment on the prestigious "Hollywood Walk of Fame" this tour follows in that grand tradition.

"Let’s Put On A Show!" is an autobiographical musical, highlighted with film clips, humor and anecdotal memories which enjoyed a successful run Off-Broadway in New York. Mickey is excited to share the stage with his wife of 31 years, the singer/actress Jan Rooney. Drawing on a rich 80 plus year career, the musical numbers are broad ranged and are taken from Mickey’s films, some original tunes and Jan's vast repertoire, including her tribute to Patsy Cline. Additionally the show features a moving tribute to Mickey’s famous co-star from his days at MGM, Judy Garland. The show also features an on stage trio. The tour kicked off August 2007 with a successful 39 day 25 show tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Since their return to the states in October they have played at major Civic Centers throughout the United States and have had successful runs at both Resorts and the Hilton Hotels and Casinos in Atlantic City. In December 2007 they made their UK Pantomime Premiere in "Cinderella" with Jan playing "the Fairy Godmother" and Mickey portraying "Baron Hardup". They capped the year 2008 reprising their roles in "Cinderella" at the Bristol Hippodrome in Bristol, UK.

The show enjoyed a sold-out 15 city tour of the UK in June of 2006. In addition to the UK and Off-Broadway the show has been playing successfully across the country including a long stint in Branson and at many casinos.

In 2006 Mickey starred in the much acclaimed comedy "Night at the Museum" with Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais and Dick Van Dyke. Mickey and Jan have made numerous film appearances together. Among their favorites "Wreck The Halls" and "Lost Stallions: The Journey Home". In 2009 they filmed the comedy “Saddle Up!” in Philadelphia. They recently shot a pilot for a reality TV Show.

Before each performance of "Let’s Put On A Show!" is Canadian Tenor, Julian Gallo an aria from "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera". He will be joined by fellow Canadian, Lenni Stewart for a duet from "Phantom" and "The Merry Widow"

Click here for original PDF.



Mickey Rooney and Jan Rooney bring their acclaimed off Broadway musical: Let's Put On A Show! to the historic Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois on Sunday, August 30, 2009 @ 4:00pm.

To be followed with a 13 performance tour of Ontario, Canada from September 21 through October 6, 2009.

They are also pleased to announce the US premiere appearance of their special guests, Katzenjammer, The Four Hands on One Piano, Music and Comedy Duo

Click here to see full ad.


Mickey Rooney to shoot reality pilot

Mickey is happy to announce that he and his wife, Jan will be filming in Hollywood for their upcoming Reality Show, produced by Ray Willey & Chuck Williams (August 10 - 15, 2009).


Mickey Rooney to lead the way at the Montrose Christmas Parade

Mickey Rooney will serve as grand marshal at the 2006 Montrose Christmas Parade on Dec. 2 in Montrose, Calif.

2006 marks the 30th anniversary of the parade. The parade was started by former MGM star Dennis Morgan and aims to celebrate Montrose’s small town traditions.

John Drayman, president of the Montrose Shopping Park Association, made the initial phone call to Rooney.

"We wanted a special addition for the parade, not to make it new, but to honor its homegrown past, full of Americana and family traditions", Drayman said. "I contacted Mickey Rooney who immediately agreed that he and his wife would ride in the parade".

In addition to Rooney, the town will chose a local child to be the junior grand marshal and organizers are asking any veterans who have recently returned from Iraq to participate in the parade.

The parade will begin at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2.


Mickey Rooney to be featured in upcoming film “Night at the Museum”

Classic film star Mickey Rooney will be appearing as a security guard in the upcoming Ben Stiller film, "Night at the Museum".

Also starring Robin Williams, Dick Van Dyke and Owen Wilson, the film will be released nationwide on Dec. 22, 2006. The partially animated family comedy is much anticipated by Stiller and Rooney fans alike.

Loosely based on Milan Trenc's children's book of the same name, the film follows the adventures of the good-hearted night watchman Larry Daley. Played by Stiller, Daley finds himself working one night at a museum of natural history when all of the exhibits magically come to life. As the situation spirals wildly out of control, Daley is forced to be the hero and find a way to control the magic before it is too late.

Directed by Shawn Levy, this live-action 20th Century Fox Film is rated PG for mild action and language.

To learn more about the film, visit www.nightatthemuseum.com.


Mickey Rooney to perform at Western Carolina University

Mickey Rooney will perform on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2006 at 3 p.m. at the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University.

Fans will have a unique opportunity to see Mickey onstage. He and his wife Jan will kick off the Center?s nine-show series "Galaxy of Stars: Legends on Stage" with a matinee performance, "Let's Put on a Show". The program will include songs, reminiscences and jazz.

Package deals will be available on May 29, where tickets to all nine shows at the Fine and Performing Arts Center can be purchased for $140. Individual tickets go on sale Aug. 21. Call (828) 227-2479 to order tickets. Other performances in the "Galaxy of Stars: Legends on Stage" series include concerts by the Lettermen and the Stanley Brothers, dance performances by the Atlanta Ballet and Atlantic Ballet of Theatre of Canada, a European circus and a political satire of the Capitol Steps.

The $30 million Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University is a cultural arts and art education venue. The center offers educational opportunities for students as well as events featuring world-class performers and artists. They have previously featured entertainers such as renowned comedian Jay Leno, the United States Marine Band and the Grammy Award winning group Riders in the Sky.

For more information, visit this site.