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What had driven Mickey to seek the solace of substances well into his 70s?

And what had made him gamble away his fortune again and again? He learned to play the banjo—scarily well—in a day. He was an expert golfer, a champion ping-pong player.

Lee" (1912), "Babes on Broadway" (1941), "Strike Up the Band" (1927) - uncredited) All Ashore (performer: "You're My Buddy, Buddy Boy", "I Love No One But You", "I'm So Unlucky", "I Sing to the Sky" ("opera bouffe" dream sequence), "I'm Sir Francis the Dragon" ("opera bouffe" dream sequence), "I Lay Down My Arms" ("opera bouffe" dream sequence), "Boy Meets Girl / Catalina") Babes on Broadway (performer: "Babes on Broadway", "How About You?

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He was then 85, and, he told me, all but broke, which seemed impossible, considering he had done more than 300 films, including some of the best ones ever made ( 1940). 1 box-office draw in 1939; and in 1996, he had filed for bankruptcy.“It was the adrenaline rush,” of the track, that had been his undoing,” said Jan—who, I found, was unhesitant about discussing her husband’s foibles.

(“You need to stop talking, Mother,” Mickey would say, annoyed.) He had beaten his addiction to gambling and sleeping pills only five years before, when he had to be hospitalized on the road in Cleveland for exhaustion.

The first time Rooney laid eyes on Ava Gardner was when she visited the set of Babes on Broadway, in 1941. She was five feet one, but she invariably wore high heels, so she was about my height when I was wearing five-inch wedgies.

She was wearing a wispy summer dress and high heels. Ava was eighteen years old, Rooney, 21, and his technique with women, he admits, was a combination of early Neanderthal and late Freud.

His signature role as the small-town youngster Andy Hardy made him something of a cash cow for the studio.