RIP to Mickey Rooney, passed on at 93.
The veteran of everything from the Andy Hardy flicks to It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World to Twilight Zone to Carroll Ballard’s masterpiece The Black Stallion, among countless other film and TV credits, Rooney also did plenty of stage work. I saw him as Professor Marvel/The Wizard in a touring production of The Wizard of Oz more than a decade ago, and I’ll never forget his entrance: The lights came up on him as Professor Marvel, the crowd stood up, the applause went on and on, and finally he oh-so-reluctantly dropped character, rose and put his hands on his heart and oh-so-humbly acknowledged the crowd with gestures and expressions indicating he was astonished by, and regarded himself as unworthy of, our adulation. In this way he was able to keep the ovation going quite a while longer, and when at last he sat back down and started the scene, it of course didn’t matter what he did from there on. I remember thinking that I was seeing a piece of showbiz skill from another era, and feeling privileged to witness it.
RIP also to comedian and actor John Pinette, passed on at 52—not nearly as long-lived as Rooney, alas.