Mickey Rooney was an American actor, vaudevillian, comedian, producer, and radio personality. In a career spanning nine decades and continuing until shortly before his death, he appeared in more than 300 films and was among the last surviving stars of the silent-film era.
At the height of a career that was marked by declines and comebacks, Rooney performed the role of Andy Hardy in a series of 16 films in the 1930's and 1940's that epitomized American family values. A versatile performer, he became a celebrated character actor later in his career. Laurence Olivier once said he considered Rooney "the best there has ever been". Clarence Brown, who directed him in two of his earliest dramatic roles, National Velvet and The Human Comedy, said he was "the closest thing to a genius I ever worked with".
Rooney first performed in vaudeville as a child and made his film debut at the age of six. At 14, he played Puck in the play and later the 1935 film adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Critic David Thomson hailed his performance as "one of the cinema's most arresting pieces of magic". In 1938, he co-starred in Boys Town.