CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

PBiFF Mickey Rooney interview

I knew that the organizers of the 13th Annual Palm
Beach International Film Festival had defeated jynx of
13 when I spotted Eric Miller, the doorman for the
Sunrise Mizner movie theatre. As iconic as Executive
Director Randi Emerman and Chairperson Yvonne Boice
are to PBiFF, Eric the Doorman is a PBiFF institution.
From Patrcia Heaton to Malcolm McDowell, Eric the
Doorman has been treated with courtesy and respect.
Then Eric the Doorman met Mickey Rooney.

As Eric reached out to shake Mickey Rooney's hand, the
old thespian pulled it back saying;
“I'm sorry, I broke my hand.”
At which point, Mickey Rooney slapped Eric across the
face with his left hand and wrestled this Sunrise
Mizner Institution. The shocked audience watched as
Mickey Rooney darted to the escalator for his
screening. When Journalist/actress Rachel Galvin
commented that he had a lot of energy; Mickey Rooney
put his fist up to her face and proclaimed;
"What...I shouldn't have energy?"

Perhaps the ghost of Spencer Tracy rolled his eyes as
this misfit from "Boys Town" went on a rampage in
Boca Raton, perhaps Judge Hardy wants to sentence his
son to reform school after this aggressive behavior.
Truth be told, Eric and Rachel loved every moment and
appreciated being a new chapter about the Legend of
Mickey Rooney. Even veteran movie actor, 15 year old
Josh Hutcherson, soon to be seen in Jules Verne's
"Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D," commented;

“He is an inspiration. Mickey Rooney shows what it
takes to make the transition from child actor to

Rooney has worked non stop since the age of two,
including a role in his recent blockbuster hit,
"Night at the Museum" with Dick Van Dyke, Robin
Williams and his friend Ben Stiller. After growing out
his teen years and serving in the Army, Rooney
accepted character roles ranging from criminal ("Baby
Face Nelson") to heroic ("Bridges of Toko Ri.“)
While he does not like talking about his past, he
speaks fondly of his old costars, referring to Spencer
Tracy and William Powell as “Gentlemen.”

While MGM and Hal Roach studios produced the **Our
Gang/Little Rascals** comedies, Rooney portrayed
Mickey “himself” McGuire in 78 short subject comedies
for Columbia Pictures. When asked if there was a
rivalry between his gang and the Little Rascals,
Rooney replied,

“No, we were all professionals. Afterall, we were in
the same business!”

Mickey's gang included Little Billy Barty, the
“sinister dwarf“ who Goldie Hawn threw out a San
Francisco window in her thriller comedy, "Foul
Play." Of Billy Barty, Rooney said, “He was a great
guy.” Rooney was also an influence for Walter Disney,
who changed the name of his immortal mouse from
“Mortimer“ to “Mickey.“

When not performing in motion pictures, Rooney
performs in nightclubs and live theatres. He recently
performed a tour of "Cinderella" with his favorite
costar, Jan (Chamberlin) Rooney.

Family is his chief priority. During his acceptance
speech for the Legend Award, Rooney stressed the
importance of family and implored film makers to make
more family friendly motion pictures. Mickey Rooney
would like to see more musicals on the big screen.

Until he met Jan Chamberlin in the 1970s, the
marriages of Mickey Rooney had been the punch line for
comedians from Johnny Carson to Dean Martin Roasts.
Yet his current marriage to Jan Rooney has endured for
over 31 years. I couldn't resist asking Mickey Rooney
for a dating tip; Mickey Rooney replied;

“Find somebody you can respect and who is a lady. It
isn't easy today, women don't know what it is liked to
be treated like a lady, but treat her like a lady.“

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