In this month of Mother’s and Memorials who better to remember than Mickey Rooney and his sometimes onscreen mother or mother stand-in Fay Bainter. Whether it was encouraging her how and why do things work and how can I make them better son Tom in Young Tom Edison, or boosting the morale of the young Babes on Broadway that wanted to put on a show to raise money to send the poor unfortunate orphaned kids at the local settlement house to the country for a visit (while showing those unbelieving producers that, yes we do have some talent). Fay was always there to protect, defend or lend a sympathetic ear then plant the seed towards an inevitable solution. Fay was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress in White Banners 1938 and was nominated and received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Jezebel 1938. Fay was also nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe in the 1961 movie The Children’s Hour.
But on this Memorial weekend while we all know ‘war is hell’ especially for the soldier it was also ‘hell’ for those at home. And what film better to prove it but Best Picture nominated: The Human Comedy 1943 MGM, starring Mickey Rooney in his Best Actor nominated role. Mickey outdid himself in this movie as he did in all of the movies he acted in. When your oldest brother is off fighting the war it’s up to you to step up to the plate as Mickey’s character Homer did. Taking on a job after school working until midnight to help pay the rent, put food on the table etc. for widowed Mom (Bainter), older sister played by Donna Reed and younger brother played by the unforgettable Butch Jenkins, while not sharing your trials and tribulations with your older brother who has worries of his own (will he ever come home again…) played by Van Johnson.
In 1938 at age18 Mickey Rooney received an Honorary Oscar-Juvenile for his significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth, and as a juvenile player setting a high standard of ability and achievement. He appeared in eight movies that year: Hold That Kiss, Love is a Headache, Lord Jeff, Love Finds Andy Hardy, Judge Hardy’s Children, Boys Town, Out West with the Hardy’s and Stablemates.
In 1983 he also received an Honorary Oscar for his fifty years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances. Mickey Rooney was nominated four times for Oscars Best Actor Award he received two Golden Globes for performances in 1964 and 1981. He was nominated four times for Emmy Awards either as an Outstanding Lead actor or Outstanding Single performance and won a Primetime Emmy for his performance in the 1981 movie ‘Bill’. Those are just a few of the various other acting awards and accolades he received throughout his long career.
We lost Mickey Rooney at age 93 in April of this year a year to the month that we lost Deanna Durbin also a recipient of the 1938 Juvenile Oscar Award the only time it was given to two Juvenile actors in the same year. The last film Mickey will have made an appearance in, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb will be released in December 2014.