Many years ago, managing another celebrity, I had the rare privilege to meet Mr. Mickey Rooney. Yes, he was a bit cranky in person, but his gentle soul still showed through. The reason his ‘meet and greets’ agitated him so, was that often, some idiot would try to get him to sign a particularly offensive article written about him from bygone days. I was a witness to one such event that evening in Syracuse New York at the Landmark Theatre, November 9, 1996.
A notorious local autograph hound somehow gained entry and literally stole the happy momentum of the evening. Knowingly, he shoved Mr. Rooney’s childhood traumatic article, right in front of him, to get signed. Poor Mr. Rooney left in anger and sorrow… while the autograph goon was bragging that he had almost gotten him to sign it. What an ass!
Just yesterday afternoon, I was thinking of that evening, and did a bit of an internet search as I felt a sudden foreshadowing. The only recent notice about Mr. Rooney, was that one of his lost films has been located in The Netherlands, and was set for restoration.
And then later last night I learned of Mickey Rooney’s death. I will never forget him, as he was delightful to witness on stage and to speak with, on the night we met.