Mickey Rooney, Jr.

He was one ns Hollywood"s greatest actors, someone whose estate could have been precious hundreds of des millions when cette died in summer 2014. Instead, cette endured beatings, humiliation et poverty at thé hands du his eighth wife et one of elle sons, both accused today ns elder abuse et destroying a legend.

Vous lisez ce: Mickey rooney, jr.


This story first appeared in the Oct. 30 sortir of the Hollywood agissant magazine. To receive auto magazine, click here to subscribe.

Mickey Rooney shrieks in pain. Is cette OK? “No, I’m not,” he says, choking earlier tears. It’s July 2010, inside the Grill nous the Alley in thousand Oaks, et in thé midst of année interview through one ns the authors of this piece, thé diminutive 89-year-old has been kicked under auto table passant par his eighth wife, Jan, as confirmed passant par his stepson, Chris Aber, who also is at the table. “She kicked him real hard,” says kris with a laugh. Rooney’s offense? Rambling in his answers.


This rencontrer took place because thé interviewer (who, ont a then-freelance writer, was gathering material for a book) agreed to requirements set forth par Jan et Chris et conveyed à him over the phone par Kevin Pawley, Rooney’s Kentucky-based manager: lug a check parce que le $200 et slip cette to chris when Rooney wasn’t paying type (ostensibly due to the fact that financial transactions fabriquer him uncomfortable) and treat the three de them venir lunch at the restaurants (Jan later on ordered dinners venir go for each ns them).

A flip electronic came at the end du the table rolls oui Jan, theatrically seeking thé source ns what caused her husband’s pain, partner under thé table à la a moment and then turns à Chris and scolds him à la confirming, in part, what thé general auditeur only would discover later: In his définitif years, Rooney was auto victim du ongoing elder abuse.

The alleged wrongdoing and how it went on à la so longue has to be a mystery — till now. Five years after that interview, and more 보다 a year after auto star’s death, année investigation de The Hollywood Reporter (uncovering legitimate documents, angry testimony and financial records that never avant have to be publicized) indicates Rooney’s first was an ext abusive than cette let nous while cette was alive. What’s more, the trouble persisted until cette died in April 2014 in a Studio city rental, with seul $18,000 to his name. (Rooney’s corps humain rests at auto Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where plenty of legendary movie étoiles are buried.)

Just mainly after chris was served with a restraining order nous Valentine’s work in 2011 accusing him de financially exploiting Rooney oui his business manager, auto actor flew venir Washington, D.C. Herb Kohl, chairman of the Senate special Aging Committee, had actually read press reports that a conservator à la Rooney was pursuing elder-abuse charges, and he invite Rooney to testify about quel he’d been through. As a transcript ns that hear reveals, Rooney, without naming names, tearfully defined that he’d self been a victim of the increasingly typical crime, stripped “of the ability to make even thé most straightforward decisions about mien life,” leading to année “unbearable” and “helpless” tous les jours existence. In a procedure that began after Rooney confided in a disney. Executive during filming du 2011’s The Muppets, Rooney’s attorneys filed court papers in their petition parce que le a conservator (to defend him et recover his assets) that revealed thé extent of the control — cette wasn’t even allowed to buy nourriture or bring identification.


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For her part, Jan, 76, who now lives with chris at his house (and obtain $100,000 a year from Rooney’s death pension and Social defense benefits), insists that she has to be falsely accused and characterizes her late husband’s Senate testimony oui coerced et unreliable. “Mickey was a 90-year-old masculin who was in et out of ce mentally et was conveniently influenced passant par other people,” elle submits.

Only now will the public learn that the alleged debasement was not seul financial but physical, too. Countless family members and others fermé to Rooney say thé small-statured actor typically was abused de Jan, his wife de 36 years, that weighed twice what hey did. THR likewise has learned that she was struggling with rétrécir health issues during this time. These close acquaintances speak Rooney — who himself was arrested in 1997 de the Ventura ar Sheriff’s Department nous suspicion ns hitting janvier during a fight (the des boites was dropped) — was bloodied and bruised in lot of altercations, in his définitif years emerging ont a feeble homme lying à his doctor about why hey was gift treated à la this black eye jaune that absent tooth. When Rooney always denied spousal abuse, multiple la source tell THR that, as soon as confronted, janvier herself acknowledged assaults. In a long entretien with THR dessus email, janvier is adamant that “I never physically abused Mickey, marqué we had some minor pushing scuffles, tempers flared when nous were angry. Sometimes it was his fault, periodically mine. Nous always fabriquer up.” (As a condition of responding to année interview request, she insisted the THR publish all questions et answers in their entirety. A complete transcript deserve to be viewed here.)

One of the insiders is Hector Garcia, that was brought in par the conservator to oversee Rooney’s safety, including throughout periodic visitations v his wife after cette moved out of their home. Work after Garcia started this job, hey heard yelling and a thump comes from a second-floor bedroom et rushed inside. There, cette found Rooney nous the ground with jan standing over him. “I said her, ‘You cannot be hitting Mickey; je won’t allow it,’ ” recalls Garcia. “She responded par telling me: ‘Get used venir it. I hit him because that’s the seul way he learns — passant par hitting him prefer a kid.’ ” (He told sa if elle did it again, he’d place elle under citizen’s arrest.) jan allows, “That might ont been one ns the really few fois when nous slapped every other on the arm during année argument. Cible we never meant à hurt every other.”

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The Legend

Born Joseph Yule Jr., the seulement un child du a negative chorus girl and burlesque imposer who break-up up when he was 4 (his mother took that from Brooklyn à Hollywood), Rooney made his big-screen debut in 1926, in the silent era, et 88 year later toujours was at job-related — nous the upcoming straight-to-Amazon compton release Dr. Jekyll et Mr. Hyde — auto week hey died. Rooney to be a fight from auto start, first in a series ns Our Gang-like two-reelers in which cette played a kid named Mickey McGuire, then at MGM, where cette became a la poêle favorite — and Louis B. Mayer‘s gold ticket.

For a pays emerging from thé Depression and headed into human being War II, thé vibrancy and can-do spirit ns Rooney’s screen persona verified irresistible. Hey stood only 5-foot-3, marqué he to be huge, ranking ont the sommet box-office star from 1939 with 1941 (and absolutely one du the best-paid actors ns that era) many thanks to the appeal of his work as année all-American enfant in the Andy continuous franchise; 10 musicals opposite autre prodigy, Judy Garland; et other standards such oui Boys Town and National Velvet. In 1939, the académie awarded Rooney a special juvenile Oscar, et in the suivant five years, cette twice was nom­inated pour the genuine thing. (No male since has landing a best actor Oscar appellations at a younger age.) hey would marche on à receive two more noms — for The Bold and the Brave (1956) and The black Stallion (1979) — and pick up an Honorary Oscar, too, in 1983. Non less a thespian 보다 Laurence Olivier called him “the best there has ever before been.”

But as subsequent child stars — from Elizabeth Taylor to Macaulay Culkin, none oui popular as Rooney — would certainly discover, adjusting to auto real civilization after growing up in a rêver factory isn’t easy. While his contemporaries to visit school, collected an allowance et hoped parce que le a kiss at the movies, Rooney had année education limité to studio tutors, gambled fixé amounts at racetracks and slept his way through the studio’s stable ns budding beauties, consisting of Ava Gardner. At 19, she became his tons wife (he was 21). She divorced that after au sens propre more than a year because cette couldn’t stay faithful venir her.


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Friends speak Rooney to be ill-equipped venir be année independent adult, which he was forced to become after thé war ended and he parted methods with MGM, founding his very own production entreprise with a entreprises partner. Thus began decades of reckless spending et gambling; mauvais investments et failed get-rich-quick schemes (like Mickey Rooney Macaroni); alcoholism et pill-popping; and, famously, marriages and divorces, which expense him a pretty penny in alimony. (Rooney did not divorcé his fifth wife, Carolyn Mitchell; she was murdered de a rumored lover in 1966 in their home when hey was out ns town.) Left in auto wake de this to be 10 children with whom Rooney chosen to ont little contact; indeed, in his 1991 autobiography, hey devoted an ext words venir his pets 보다 his kids.

Richard A. Lertzman, who co-authored the new biography The Life and Times of Mickey Rooney, speak THR that auto actor to be a “manic personality” who experienced from bipolar disorder. Hey also contends the Rooney attempted suicide “twice, maybe three times” over auto years, v resulting hospitalizations reported as “nervous breakdowns.”

In thé ‘70s, as American movie grew much more cynical, Rooney struggled à find high quality work. He’d blown with most de his money (first heralding bankruptcy in 1962), to be reduced à doing dinner theater in Kentucky and, if in L.A., crashed at thé Nichols Canyon page daccueil of his agent, Ruth Webb, known for hosting eclectic parties. At one soiree, Rooney’s earliest son, musician Mickey Jr., now a 70-year-old recluse, brought a daté named jan Chamberlin, an aspiring country singer indigenous L.A. (Lertzman sûr Mickey Jr. Told him they to be engaged, while jan said they were “just friends.”) avant long, when Mickey Jr. To be away à la a gig, Mickey Sr. And Jan, who was 18 year younger, became an item.

Being with jan meant being through Chris and Mark, elle teenage sons (from her marriage to le script supervisor Lynn Aber that ended when elle was 26). In a 1979 story in People, chris said he and Mark “were both troublemakers once Mom mettre Mickey.” affichage now says du his mother, “She was constantly trying venir be a singer, constantly after fame, always trying to date people.” elle had a history de troubled relationships. “She tried venir leave this one mec — took us away à la a weekend somewhere à hide from the guy,” recalls Mark. “And when we got earlier to thé house, the cat to be smashed conditions météorologiques the table, like into tuna fish. Mien brother’s cat was in auto refrigerator.”

Rooney represented the possibility of something meilleur for Jan et her sonner — mark says lock were nous welfare — though, at first, Rooney was soja destitute cette had venir move in à their rental page daccueil in Sherman Oaks. Eventually, he got ensemble some de largent and, recalls Mark, “took nous to joli dinners, taught us a de nombreux about etiquette and tous that stuff, exposed us venir a lot of things, tu know, equine racing et golf.”


Around that time, Rooney’s fortunes turned around. He landed his marche in The couleur noire Stallion et reluctantly fabriqué his Broadway debut in Sugar Babies, a burlesque revue that came to be a smashing success, running pour nearly three years et earning Rooney as much oui $65,000 a week. Cible family members speak Jan’s disappointed festered; she submitted audiovisuelle cassettes to emplacement like The tonight Show, i beg your pardon sent her a polite denial letter.

Before long, Chris et Mark began working parce que le Rooney — sapin informally, through Chris as a driver and Mark oui a cuisiner (“He sent moi to cuisiner school”) and then as paid assistants. “This is something i loved doing,” raffinement Chris. “Imagine going venir Sugar Babies and being in auto dressing pièce with toutes les personnes the girls undressing in front du you.” chris later married Christina and moved out while affichage stuck around. Passant par the 1990s, both were headed à la trouble: mark admits to being greatly into medicine (heroin et cocaine) et says kris was, also — “My brother was act coke this totality time.” (Chris had no comment? ou quoi on any past medicine use.)

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‘Babes in Arms’ (1939) to be one de 10 very successful big-screen musicals Rooney starred in with fellow prodigy Garland.

In 1996, jan reached out à family acquaintance Geraldo Rivera around Mark’s troubles, et the tv talk show host offered venir pay parce que le him to importer treatment. Affichage went off à la a month to an upscale therapy facility in Nashville — Chris Farley was there at auto time. (“One thing chris said at one de the meetings was, ‘My idea of a party is a taille pizza, a party of jack Daniel’s and a gram de coke,’ ” recalls Mark.) Ten days into his stay, mark appeared nous Rivera’s montrer via satellite, through his brother alongside him et Jan in the studio. Kris uploaded this partie to YouTube in 2012.

Soon after, marque entered année after-care regimen in Florida. “I acquired a travail at deux restaurants,” cette recalls. “I had actually a new energy. I was focused.” At one restaurant, cette met a bookkeeper named Charlene Fevrier, whom cette began dating et eventually married. He says hey heard little from Jan et Chris, marqué “Mickey would certainly call toutes les personnes the time, ‘When are elle coming back? You’re toutes les personnes better now.’ “

Mark says hey wanted to visit home cible claims that janvier blocked Rooney indigenous providing auto necessary funds. When signe finally earned enough to return nous his own, he says cette was shocked by what cette saw. “Something happened,” hey says. “Jan et Chris to be running thé show.”


The Scheme

How go a homme who earned tens of millions of dissension during his career wind up v $18,000?

Mark saus Rooney had actually a malfunction while in australie filming 1998’s Babe: Pig in thé City, after which his stepfather was prescribed solid medication. He says, “They placed him nous these mind psych meds et things, and my mommy was administering castle — and she didn’t à savoir what elle was doing.” add to Charlene, “ said, ‘I oui to store him high à be onstage, and I ont to store him quiet et subdued once he’s at home.’ ” (Jan denies this.)


Mark, Charlene and Augustine complete that Rooney, after heralding bankruptcy in 1996, was told (erroneously) par Chris the his pensions — indigenous SAG, AFTRA and Actors equity — had been cashed out and he would ont to work à keep his home et health et medical benefits. (Chris denies this and says cette committed non wrongdoing in relier with his stepfather.) Jan et manager Pawley put ensemble a revue à la her and Mickey à perform together, Let’s Put nous a Show, et Chris started booking castle at venues du varying call across auto continent.

Carroll Ballard, that directed Rooney in Black Stallion, ran right into him in Toronto the year, after Rooney had done “some kind of theater thing” that was “way listed below his abilities, and I think hey felt embarrassed.” raffinement Robert Malcolm, Rooney’s agent after Webb: “Mickey was a star. Jan was not. Jan had a good need for being at the center of things, et that made me uncomfortable.”

In 2004, mark saw Rooney in Branson, Mo., where chris had booked Mickey and Jan pour a gig. Signe says he found chris “already placing himself” to comprendre access to Rooney’s money, having convinced Mickey et Jan to move out of their “big et beautiful” patrie in Sherman Oaks and into a “really crappy rental home” in Westlake Village. Moreover, recalls Mark, “He was conditions météorologiques the téléphone shopping à la new Porsches. The homme said hey needed venir check Chris’ credit et paperwork et he goes, ‘You’ve got venir check my f—ing credit? I’m a f—ing millionaire! je vous demande pardon are tu talking about?’ et I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, what’s going nous here?’ “

Another illustration disturbed signe even more: “Chris come in and goes, ‘Mickey, I’d favor you to sign this. We’re going venir go à la two months and we’re going to marche here et we’re walking to à faire this.’ and Mickey goes, ‘Ah, wait a minute, Chris, i don’t want to sign ce right now. Why don’t you come ago later?’ et Chris says, ‘Just sign it, come on, authorize it!’ ‘Chris, no, i don’t want to sign it.’ and he goes, ‘Just sign thé thing, amie f—ing piece du shit!’ “


Family members and Augustine raconter THR the this prêt continued pour years, with chris committing his stepfather à per­formances, appearances and interviews in return for espèces payments, most ns which he spent as if they to be his own. Kris already had actually compelled Rooney to ajouter him ont a sub-account holder, signatory or authorized user nous nearly all of his accounts, debit/credit cards and P.O. Boxes. In 1998, chris was installed oui a 49 bouleversé partner in Rooney’s fabriquer company, Densmore Productions.

Chris maintains that he was constantly paid a flat salary à la his work, which he describes nous his LinkedIn page as “coordination of tous travel arrangements, public appearances, publicity, bookings and press releases oui well ont forecasting et overseeing budgetary matters,” plus “assisting in tous aspects de the actor’s personal life, living arrangements supervising legacy employees et managing 3 rental properties.” At auto same time, court documents avow the while Rooney’s loger repeatedly was refinanced venir withdraw equity, chris owned two Mercedes, a Porsche et four residences (collectively worth much more than $2 million).


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Cast together a young elizabeth Taylor in auto 1944 struggle ‘National Velvet,’ Rooney (right) would marche on to ont a cinématique career that non child étoiles in background has due to the fact that matched.

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A Wells Fargo explain obtained de THR spectacles that as Rooney’s monthly pension and Social defense payments, i m sorry totaled more than $11,000 a month, were deposited into an account accessible by Rooney, Jan et Chris, comparable amounts were virtually immediately moved out du the account venir others, like one named “Tiyana,” i m sorry is thé name of Chris’ daughter. “That’s auto name of an account, that’s no a person,” argued chris when faced with this declare in an interview on Oct. 9. “That’s comment I remember auto name de the account. Si you make up année account, then tu can put any kind of name tu want conditions météorologiques it. I could put ‘dog shit’ on the account, and that’s where cette goes. It was Mickey’s to save account!”

Although Mark et others say the Chris and Jan both take it advantage du Rooney, it appears that chris left jan to habitent in relative squalor with sa husband — Charlene sûr that Rooney’s toilet was left “filthy” and rats were running rampant if Chris and Christina lived surrounding in a five-bedroom loger (it was marketed in 2012 parce que le $695,000) v help. Jan wrote Chris année email in célibataire 2010, obtained passant par THR: “It is very faisabilité we space going to have to go our separate ways,” citing a recent incident in which she alleged that kris had slammed a là trunk on sa head (“It has done something à me. Just what i don’t know”) et expressing concern about Chris’ perspective (“Your hâte is buried soja deep”).

Soon thereafter, say Mark et Charlene, kris shut under Rooney’s opération company et fired his jae won advisers save parce que le one, Cindy Smith, who, meugler documents later on would allege, to be siphoning off Rooney’s money, too, to fund a side business. (Smith cooperated with auto conservator in return parce que le having her name eliminated from thé complaint.) Charlene raffinement she speak with one terminated accountant, Judy Hensley, in 2006, et was told, “I’m kind of friends with sa , so je can’t yes, really say also much. But I’ll raconter you this: You’re never ever going to comprendre them. Call année elder abuse lawyer.” (Neither forgeron nor Hensley might be reached for comment.)


Chris et Jan entered business dealings with deux wealthy men who payment them — apparently without Rooney’s expertise — à la access to thé star. Michael Schrimmer, a Glow-Stick entrepreneur from Chicago, paid tens de thousands of dollars for methods like accompanying Rooney venir a dinner at Steven Spielberg‘s home. And Ray Willey, a californie building preservationist, emploi Mickey et Jan venir perform at his daughter’s wedding et do a signing at his arts gallery. (Neither Willey nor Schrimmer responded à calls pour comment.)

Both masculin were involved in The Rooneys, a never-produced reality montrer pilot about thé supposedly zany family tons of the paire that to be filmed in august 2009. Willey is credited as année EP, having put up $30,000 à fund it, with Schrimmer oui associate producer. The first scene in auto sizzle reel, set during a memory-lane visit to the Sony de nombreux (formerly MGM), features janvier berating Rooney for, to elle mind, foolishly passing conditions météorologiques roles in successful films including Heaven have the right to Wait, Dances through Wolves et — chris pipes up from the back of their chauffeured SUV — Cocoon. “Another movie he gave up!” she exclaims in exasperation. “The perform goes on et on and on!” Rooney, in response, verges on tears, his visage red and fists clenched.


Meanwhile, Mark and Charlene adopted thé last name “Rooney” et began selling some of the actor’s possessions conditions météorologiques eBay — there is no his permission, sûr Chris. “I’ve obtained a entirety list,” chris says, “$20,000 worth ns stuff!” (He declined to seul a list to THR.) Charlene counters that the sales were far more modest and always with Rooney’s permission. “He’d say, ‘Here’s a photo from Sugar Babies, just sell this.’ et we’d comprendre the money and buy nourriture or whatever.”

When asked around Chris’ accusations, Augustine provides a curt reply: “They placed a vidéos signed by Mickey jaune something on eBay pour $19.95; hey stole $8 million!”

The Marriage

“Being married to Mickey is favor a jeu of chess,” janvier told People in 1979, a année after lock tied the knot. “I’m not sure who will win. It’ll most likely be a stalemate.” parce que le Rooney’s part, cette observed in his 1991 autobiography Life Is as well Short, “ever since je started going v Jan, it’s been one, big, joyous fight. Thé reason nous don’t part: thé fight isn’t end yet.”

Rooney to be the sapin to acknowledge that, with his gros ego and impatient personality, he could be a pain. Hey went nous in his book, “Sometimes ns mistreat her. She mistreats me, too.” In auto couple’s final years together, a duration during i beg your pardon Charlene claims they mostly didn’t connect in their own home, she recalls année incident throughout which Rooney accidentally tracked dog feces v their house, prompting jan to smear ce on his apparel in a rage. (Asked about it, jan replies, “I won’t dignify that des questions with an answer.”)


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“Ever since ns started going v Jan, it’s been one, big, joyous fight,” composed Rooney, v his mam at the academy Awards in 1978, thé year they gained married.

An apparent strain in thé marriage was thé asymmetry ns their success. While Rooney had gone to a court ebb in his career as soon as they met, cette rebounded through Sugar Babies, and, according à those roughly them, janvier pushed her husband to leverage his fame venir increase her own — with signification littérale success. “Mickey was available a part in a Muppets movie,” saus Charlene. “She said to Mickey, ‘You call that producer and you parlez him the I’m going à be in that jaune you’re no going to à faire it.’ ” (Cameos of both Rooney and Jan were shot; hair was cut.)

Jan favored to scénario Rooney’s téléphone calls, case Mark and Charlene, specifically with thé press, scribbling notes on scraps ns paper passed venir him à read, some of which have been reviewed passant par THR: “Jan is the singer in the family!”; “I never really feeling married until ns married Jan. Comment she’s placed up with me tous these years I’ll never ever know”; and, perhaps most ironically: “I may not oui a million sombre — marqué I have a billion-dollar wife.”

Jan often insisted she autograph photographs handed venir Rooney and leaned into film with elle husband. “Mickey was always pushing to get Jan a duty in things he was functioning on,” raffinement Malcolm. “She was seulement a human who wanted à be in auto limelight.”


For her part, jan contends the any tentative to include her were elle husband’s doing: “Mickey constantly insisted.” Similarly, she maintains that their July 2013 separation agreement included a je that his conservator would continue to “make reasonable dattaquer to include jan into some de Mickey’s appearances” — not at elle entreaty but because “Mickey inquiry that it be written into auto contract. Hey loved having moi in his shows.” (Counters Augustine, “She is of the id that she is part kind du a star, sauce soja we threw the in … nous knew cette was a provision without any teeth because nobody want Jan.”)

Garcia observes the “she was loving towards him in public, but behind closeup of the door doors, cette was like you turn nous a light transfert — she would start screaming et yelling at him.” After une loud outburst, when officier de police were dubbed in feather 2012, Charlene saus that jan sought à spin their toxic avoir peur de in innocuous terms, compare herself and Rooney to the pair on The Bickersons, a late-1940s radiophonique show about a squabbling couple.

Yet, according à those fermer la porte to Rooney, too often thé fights synchronized with unusual physical ramifications pour the star. In one par exemple in 2012, according venir Mark et Charlene, Rooney had thé beginnings de a black eye et a this knocked out, claiming hey fell onto a big-screen TV. In another, in November 2010, when marque found the at auto bottom de the stairs, hey claimed to ont slipped in auto shower. (In Jan’s telling, “I remained in a various part of the house et I discovered out about ce 10 venir 15 minute after cette happened.”)


In année August 2014 bas filing at auto behest ns seven du Rooney’s biological children that in part accuses jan of isolating sa husband from the rest of his prolonged family, Kelly Rooney et Kerry Rooney Mack claim jan confessed to them in April 2010 that elle had assaulted elle husband. “She said, ‘You know, sometimes, I have to struggle him,’ ” says Kelly, now a hairdresser who resides in north California. “And i said, ‘What? No, you don’t!’ she said, ‘Oh, yes, je do!’ ” court documents indicate that some de Rooney’s children filed a reporter with local police marqué did no pursue ce further after, lock say, jan pleaded with them.

Augustine acknowledges he and Rooney’s attorneys came to be aware ns Jan’s behavior but were powerless to prohibit their dinteraction unless Rooney formally registered a complaint versus her, which cette refused to do.

Multiple sources tell THR that jan has struggled with psychiatriques illness over thé years, a subject that janvier declines à address (“I’m no comfortable mentioning anything prefer that”). It’s unsure whether, ont family members and Garcia say elle has claimed à them, elle outbursts toward Rooney to be exacerbated by her battle with a brain tumor that has commander to hormone issues. (She defines sa current prognosis simply ont “uncertain.”) Mark et Charlene say elle had année acute dilemm following the dissolution du a monthslong, at times explicit, facebook messaging fling with a would-be paramour indigenous Florida in 2010. THR contacted this man and confirmed vital aspects of the unconsummated affair.


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“We to be both troublemakers when Mom endroit Mickey,” says mark (left), presented in watch happier temps with (from left) Jan, Rooney and Chris.

“She to be seeing fémur coming out du walls,” raffinement Charlene, that lived downstairs through Mark, “and she was tapping some kind du Morse code on thé walls for days.” Charlene notes that janvier demanded the someone buy sa bullets parce que le a Benelli shotgun in their house: “I was scared à death that nous were all going venir be conditions météorologiques the prior page.” (Of this incident, jan explains, “Mickey to buy a shotgun venir protect our home. Je don’t recall asking around bullets, cible I might oui purchased them at Mickey’s request.”)

Despite your troubles, Rooney chose for countless years not to leave Jan. “Mickey never ever wanted à separate native me,” avows Jan. Garcia says Rooney “did not want to end this une with a divorce” — despite it all, Rooney called friends, cette still love Jan. (However, the outlook, raffinement Garcia, dissolved near the end, once Rooney realized jan was protecting Chris.)

THR speak to jan within days ns Rooney’s death. Between sobs, elle claimed the separation had been at her initiative: “I seul couldn’t deal with it anymore, with thé fights, so ns said, ‘Maybe we just need venir take a break et see if we deserve to work v this.’ “


The Stepsons

While signe is estranged indigenous both his brother et mother, janvier says, “They’re mien sons, and I love both du them et very uncomfortable.” In your troubled youth, signe says thé two acquired along, occasionally doing cocaine together, until he completed rehab.

Mark and Charlene relocated in through Rooney et Jan in 2006, several months after a disconcerting family members trip to the Telluride cinématique Festival, at i m sorry Rooney was being honored. “ told someone at Telluride, ‘Mickey Rooney works for me, ns don’t work pour Mickey Rooney,’ ” saus Mark. Add to Charlene: “Mickey ordered me by the arms et said: ‘Look at me! You have to promise me that you et Mark space going à help me. Je can’t take ce anymore!’ “

Chris claims auto couple, both earning low wages in Florida, saw a meal ticket. “They believed Mickey to be worth millions,” he laughs. Par Jan’s estimation, thé pair, who seul erratically ont been employed because their arrival in California, “didn’t contribute anything” to sa household. This contentions infuriate Charlene, who in her journal documented scores of incidents that she claims to ont witnessed caring parce que le the étoiles between 2005 et his fatality (typewritten excerpts mutual with THR totaled 45 single-spaced pages): “We had actually a house et we had actually jobs . We fabriqué a promise to Mickey.”

The coupler sees themselves as having embarked on a quiet, protracted ordre to extract Rooney from an abusive situation et care for him during his définitif decline. “When Mickey would certainly shit in the bed, affichage cleaned ce up,” raffinement Augustine. It tous came in auto end at a significant financial and personal cost venir Mark and Charlene, leaving them damaged after hey died, while différent key football player — specifically Chris, who has yet venir pay out his settlement, and Jan, that is receiving Rooney’s SAG volutes — have, venir their minds, made out. “There was no money,” raffinement Garcia du the trio’s life arrangement antérieur à Rooney died. “There were par exemple when ns had venir give castle $50 jaune $100 out of ma own pocket seul so they could eat.” (Mark et Charlene claim they’re entitled venir unpaid caregiver fees totaling $38,000. Augustine raffinement they’re the sapin in line to be payment — ahead du him and Rooney’s attorneys, that never oui been paid anything et are fan $200,000 et $1.5 million, respectively — after auto IRS, which is owed “less than $50,000.”)


Augustine raffinement that he’s sympathetic venir their plight but that there’s little cette can do to aid them. “Mark and Charlene in which method were of the opinion the were responsible parce que le providing them through some sort ns housing and/or living faire un don and, once they to be advised that this was not something that nous could à faire because there were ne sont pas funds in the estate, they usually ceased communication,” saus Augustine. “I un m always open à speaking to them worrying matters de relevance to auto estate.”

Charlene brushes éteindre his vows: “That’s unbelievable. Why would conditions météorologiques choose not à be in touch with the person who is trustee to the estate and, oui the sole beneficiaries to thé estate, has actually our en vigueur in his hands?”

The Conservator

As Rooney continued venir be verbally and physically abused by Jan et trotted out venir events through which he wanted nothing à do passant par Chris, he became more forward around his situation, do not want to aller on living in fear. Année executive with disney named Edward Nowak, whom cette confided in during thé making de The Muppets, ad him à Bruce Ross, a senior partner at Holland & Knight, who came to be Rooney’s counsel et suggested cette request a spontaneous conservatorship to arrêter the abuse.

“The role of a conservator is basically à take over as soon as the bas determines the a human being can’t take care de ,” says Burt Levitch, a companion at Rosenfeld Meyer & Susman. To add Laura A. Zwicker du Greenberg Glusker, “Most people with any far-reaching assets oui done heritage planning such the they wouldn’t require to comprendre a conservatorship. Et it’s unusual parce que le someone venir be imposed ns while cette can still marche out et earn money. Generally it’s imposed on someone with severe mental jaune physical impairment.”

Family members regularly are fabriqué conservators (see Britney Spears), marqué Ross felt strongly that année independent party must be appointed à navigate Rooney’s situation, and, after interviewing several candidates, he and Mickey decided on Augustine, a state to trust lawyer through 40-plus years of experience who additionally represents thé trusts of Gene Kelly et the creators de Gumby.

Augustine went venir work. In short order, after presenting evidence du financial wrongdoing, he procured a restraining order maintaining Chris and Christina far from Rooney, negotiated a separation commitment with jan (Rooney was advised against divorcé to save money) and, in juin 2012, won bas approval to place Rooney under auto care ns Mark et Charlene at a rental property, the laure of which would be withheld from Jan and Chris. He then offered Rooney and Jan’s Westlake bourgade home parce que le $1.057 million; afterward, jan moved in through Chris et Christina. And in pouvez 2013, cette reached a settlement with Chris.


Augustine tried à initiate criminal prosecution ns Chris, submit a report with the Ventura ar Sheriff’s Department, marqué says, “They decided it was a poli matter et refused to take it to auto D.A.” A spokesperson à la the VCSD said, “In 2013 nous received a report of a possibility of some kind of a gaue won elder abuse that was investigated, et at no time was a crime ever established.”

Says Chris: “If castle proved just one thing, ns could marche to jail. They couldn’t prove anything.”

In thé end, Augustine walk after chris via civil litigation, though he knew there was nothing to recover. He sued Chris’ homeowners’ insurance carrier (“We uncovered there was année insurance policy that insured parce que le negligent acts”), but a judge ruled in July that the carrier was no obligated to pay. Now, thé carrier is suing Augustine venir recover the costs de their defense.

On auto bright side, Augustine’s efforts meant Rooney no longer was “physically in peril.” hey says, “All du a suddenly Mickey’s figure improved, everything around Mickey improved.” Indeed, while jan fueled the impressionnant that nothing had changed — nous Facebook, she continued signing posts, “Love, Jan et Mickey” — Rooney to be shining at summer 2012 Q&As at the académie and Hammer Museum et even had a cameo in 2014’s Night at the museum 3.

Yet Jan, Chris, Christina, Mark, Charlene et most du Rooney’s surviving organic children agree the they are unhappy through Augustine, either because cette sued them, limited their access to Rooney jaune failed to send castle a check.

*

Rooney through his Honorary d’oscar in 1983.

The End

On April 6, 2014, Rooney died du natural reasons after being uncovered unresponsive during année afternoon nap. TMZ broke thé news avant Augustine can notify janvier or Rooney’s organic children, who were outraged. Within hours, Jan and Chris tried venir claim Rooney’s body et began granting interviews.

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Rooney, one ns the dessus movie star of all time, passed away poor. “If he had been managed properly,” raffinement Augustine, “I think hey would oui been in the neighborhood de someone favor Paul Newman, easily worth hundreds of des millions de personnes of dollars.” he adds: “The biggest la criminalité here was not stealing the dough, because Mickey could’ve made the dough back. Thé biggest la criminalité was lock turned Mickey into a dog-and-pony show, et nobody want to have anything to aller with him.”

For all his life, divers people sought venir make de largent off of Rooney. Jan kept les poches filled with clippings de Rooney’s hair from various years, say Mark et Charlene. (“She thought it was going to be favor Elvis‘,” chuckles Charlene.) kris admits venir selling photos of his stepfather to the d’image agency Coleman-Rayner hours after his death. Et Mark and Charlene recognize selling audio of Rooney being berated de Jan to RadarOnline and being a source parce que le a New York Post gossip column item about his condition. “We’re seul trying to pay thé goddamn rent, à la Christ’s sake,” sûr Mark. (Once tous creditors are paid, Augustine says any de Rooney’s continuing to be assets — maybe including thé juvenile Oscar, which definitely would go for no less than numerous hundred thousand dollars — would marche to thé sole beneficiary ns his trust, Mark.)


Chris, who acknowledges he and Christina owned four residences while cette worked à la his stepfather, says, “I perdu my beautiful patrie because Mickey wasn’t payment me. I had to marche bankrupt so i wouldn’t lose mien wife’s house.” Augustine has précis sympathy à la the Abers. “We go discovery, subpoenaed records, take it depositions,” he says. “Chris et Christina are thieves. Quote me on that. They might sue me. F— ’em.”

Today, Jan, Chris et Christina room living off Rooney’s pensions. According to Augustine, the last point Rooney want was venir subsidize Chris’ lifestyle. (“To it is in honest, his direct statement was, ‘I don’t desire that cocksucker to get a nickel.’ “) Still, chris claims poverty. Now splitting his time between “a small tract house” in Conejo valley in California et Waikiki, Hawaii, where cette works ont director of operations at thé Burn’n Love Elvis-impersonator show, hey says, “I tell mien wife, ‘I’m sorry, honey, you can’t go to Taco cloche today. I don’t oui enough money.’ “

Rooney had purchased plots for Jan et her sons but had conveyed to Augustine that he no plus long wished to be buried with them (or to ont Chris and Christina at his funeral). However, hey didn’t ont the funds to purchase a various plot. Roger Neal, a publicist and manager, intervened and arranged a plot pour him at auto Hollywood Forever Cemetery. “They offered him a bea­utiful spot, a gorgeous crypt,” saus Neal. “He overlooks the lake.”

Despite Rooney’s legend career, no Hollywood stars were invited à see him off, much less eulogize him. Except, that is, one who never endroit him: Mickey Rourke, who had actually received a ventilateur letter from the elder Mickey three years earlier, at auto outset du his very own career, et was touched passant par it (“I grew up city hall his early shit, you know?”) but never created back. Rourke met marque at a shared friend’s tattoo parlor nous the Sunset Strip seul a few days antérieur à the star died and arranged to finally satisfy his fellow Mickey. Then cette learned the étoiles had died. “I went, ‘Oh, shit,’ ” raffinement Rourke. “I owe it to him to marche to his funeral.”

Mark et Charlene invite Rourke et their shared friend to attend an open-casket personal ceremony the day avant two other small funeral services for other family members. (In a final indignity, Rooney’s corps humain had à be refrigerated for two weeks after his death oui family members combated in bas over interment arrangements.) ce was seul the four du them.

“It was a pathetic sight à see him in je vous demande pardon looked choose a f—in’ $85 polyester gray suit, with his précis hands folded, looking haricot de soja tiny and toutes les personnes alone,” says Rourke. “I thought venir myself, ‘Wow, after all he accomplished, toutes les personnes he did, the effort that hey put front …’ ”