He was one of Hollywood"s best actors, someone whose estate could have to be worth thousands of millions when he passed away in summer 2014. Instead, he endured beatings, humiliation and poverty at the hand of his eighth wife and one of she sons, both accused this particular day of elder abuse and destroying a legend.

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This story very first appeared in the Oct. 30 worry of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Mickey Rooney shrieks in pain. Is that OK? “No, I’m not,” the says, choking ago tears. It’s July 2010, within The Grill ~ above the Alley in thousand Oaks, and in the middle of an interview with one of the authors of this piece, the diminutive 89-year-old has actually been kicked under the table by his eighth wife, Jan, as shown by his stepson, Chris Aber, who additionally is at the table. “She kicked him real hard,” says Chris with a laugh. Rooney’s offense? Rambling in his answers.

This conference took place due to the fact that the interviewer (who, together a then-freelance writer, was gathering material for a book) agreed to requirements set forth by Jan and Chris and conveyed come him end the phone call by Kevin Pawley, Rooney’s Kentucky-based manager: carry a check for $200 and also slip it come Chris once Rooney wasn’t paying fist (ostensibly because financial transactions made the uncomfortable) and also treat the 3 of them to lunch at the restaurant (Jan later on ordered dinners to go for each of them).

A flip video camer at the finish of the table rolls as Jan, theatrically search the source of what led to her husband’s pain, partner under the table because that a moment and also then transforms to Chris and also scolds him because that confirming, in part, what the basic public just would discover later: In his last years, Rooney was the victim of continuous elder abuse.

The alleged wrongdoing and also how that went on because that so long has been a an enig — until now. 5 years after that interview, and more than a year after the star’s death, an investigation by The Hollywood Reporter (uncovering legal documents, angry testimony and financial records that never before have been publicized) shows Rooney’s life was much more abusive than he allow on when he was alive. What’s more, the trouble persisted till he died in April 2014 in a Studio City rental, with just $18,000 to his name. (Rooney’s body rests at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where many legendary movie stars room buried.)

Just main after kris was offered with a restraining stimulate on Valentine’s work in 2011 accusing the of financially exploiting Rooney together his company manager, the gibbs flew to Washington, D.C. Herb Kohl, chairman of the Senate distinct Aging Committee, had actually read push reports that a conservator because that Rooney was pursuing elder-abuse charges, and he invited Rooney come testify around what he’d been through. Together a transcript of that hearing reveals, Rooney, without naming names, tearfully described that he’d himself been a victim the the increasingly common crime, stripped “of the ability to make even the most an easy decisions about my life,” causing an “unbearable” and “helpless” daily existence. In a procedure that began after Rooney confided in a Disney executive throughout filming of 2011’s The Muppets, Rooney’s attorneys filed court papers in their petition for a conservator (to protect him and recover his assets) the revealed the degree of the regulate — that wasn’t even permitted to purchase food or lug identification.


For her part, Jan, 76, who currently lives v Chris at his residence (and receives $100,000 a year indigenous Rooney’s death pension and also Social security benefits), insists that she has been falsely accused and characterizes her late husband’s Senate testimony as coerced and unreliable. “Mickey was a 90-year-old man who to be in and also out of that mentally and also was easily influenced by various other people,” she submits.

Only currently will the public find out that the alleged debasement to be not just financial however physical, too. Plenty of family members and also others close come Rooney speak the small-statured actor typically was abused through Jan, his wife of 36 years, who weighed twice what the did. THR also has learned the she to be struggling with psychological health concerns during this time. These close acquaintances to speak Rooney — who himself was arrested in 1997 by the Ventura county Sheriff’s room on apprehension of hitting Jan during a fight (the instance was dropped) — was bloodied and also bruised in lot of altercations, in his final years emerging as a feeble guy lying to his doctor around why he to be being treated for this black eye or that missing tooth. When Rooney constantly denied spousal abuse, multiple resources tell THR that, when confronted, jan herself recognized assaults. In a long interview v THR via email, jan is adamant the “I never ever physically abused Mickey, yet we had actually some minor advertise scuffles, tempers flared once we were angry. Sometimes it to be his fault, periodically mine. We always made up.” (As a condition of responding come an interview request, she insisted the THR publish all questions and also answers in your entirety. A full transcript can be regarded here.)

One that the insiders is Hector Garcia, who was lugged in through the conservator to oversee Rooney’s safety, including during periodic visitations v his wife after he relocated out of your home. Work after Garcia began this job, he heard yelling and a thump comes from a second-floor bedroom and rushed inside. There, he uncovered Rooney top top the ground through Jan standing end him. “I called her, ‘You cannot be hitting Mickey; ns won’t enable it,’ ” recalls Garcia. “She responded by informing me: ‘Get used to it. Ns hit him due to the fact that that’s the only means he learn — by hitting him prefer a kid.’ ” (He told she if she did the again, he’d place her under citizen’s arrest.) jan allows, “That might have been just one of the very couple of times as soon as we slapped each other on the arm throughout an argument. Yet we never ever meant come hurt every other.”


The Legend

Born Joseph Yule Jr., the only child that a poor chorus girl and burlesque demonstrate who separation up when he was 4 (his mother took that from Brooklyn to Hollywood), Rooney make his big-screen debut in 1926, in the silent era, and 88 years later still to be at work-related — ~ above the upcoming straight-to-Amazon Prime relax Dr. Jekyll and also Mr. Hyde — the week the died. Rooney was a fight from the start, very first in a collection of Our Gang-like two-reelers in i m sorry he play a kid called Mickey McGuire, then at MGM, wherein he ended up being a pan favorite — and Louis B. Mayer‘s gold ticket.

For a nation emerging from the Depression and headed into people War II, the vibrancy and can-do spirit of Rooney’s screen persona proved irresistible. He stood only 5-foot-3, yet he to be huge, ranking as the top box-office star native 1939 v 1941 (and absolutely one that the best-paid gibbs of that era) many thanks to the appeal of his work-related as an all-American boy in the Andy hardy franchise; 10 musicals opposite an additional prodigy, Judy Garland; and also other standards such together Boys Town and National Velvet. In 1939, the Academy awarded Rooney a special juvenile Oscar, and in the next 5 years, he double was nom­inated for the real thing. (No male since has landed a best actor Oscar nom in ~ a younger age.) He would go on to obtain two an ext noms — for The Bold and also the Brave (1956) and also The black color Stallion (1979) — and also pick increase an Honorary Oscar, too, in 1983. No much less a thespian 보다 Laurence Olivier referred to as him “the best there has ever before been.”

But as subsequent child stars — indigenous Elizabeth Taylor to Macaulay Culkin, no one as famous as Rooney — would certainly discover, adjusting come the real civilization after growing up in a dream factory isn’t easy. While his contemporaries attended school, built up an allowance and also hoped for a kiss in ~ the movies, Rooney had actually an education limited to studio tutors, gambled massive amounts at racetracks and also slept his means through the studio’s steady of budding beauties, consisting of Ava Gardner. At 19, she became his an initial wife (he to be 21). She divorce him after little more than a year because he couldn’t continue to be faithful to her.


Friends say Rooney was ill-equipped to it is in an independent adult, which he was forced to become after the battle ended and also he parted means with MGM, founding his very own production agency with a business partner. Thus began decades the reckless spending and gambling; bad investments and failed get-rich-quick schemes (like Mickey Rooney Macaroni); alcoholism and also pill-popping; and, famously, marriages and also divorces, which cost him a pretty penny in alimony. (Rooney did no divorce his fifth wife, Carolyn Mitchell; she was murdered by a rumored lover in 1966 in their residence when he was the end of town.) Left in the wake of this were 10 children with who Rooney chosen to have tiny contact; indeed, in his 1991 autobiography, he devoted more words come his pets than his kids.

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

In the ‘70s, as American movies grew more cynical, Rooney struggled to discover quality work. He’d swollen through many of his money (first heralding bankruptcy in 1962), was diminished to law dinner theater in Kentucky and, when in L.A., crashed at the Nichols Canyon home of his agent, Ruth Webb, recognized for hosting eclectic parties. At one soiree, Rooney’s earliest son, musician Mickey Jr., currently a 70-year-old recluse, brought a date named january Chamberlin, an aspiring nation singer native L.A. (Lertzman says Mickey Jr. Told the they were engaged, if Jan stated they to be “just friends.”) before long, while Mickey Jr. To be away for a gig, Mickey Sr. And also Jan, that was 18 years younger, came to be an item.

Being v Jan expected being v Chris and Mark, her teenage young (from her marriage to manuscript supervisor Lynn Aber that finished when she was 26). In a 1979 story in People, Chris said he and also Mark “were both troublemakers when mother met Mickey.” note now states of his mother, “She was constantly trying to it is in a singer, always after fame, constantly trying to date people.” She had actually a history of troubled relationships. “She make the efforts to leave this one man — took united state away because that a weekend somewhere to hide indigenous the guy,” recalls Mark. “And once we got ago to the house, the cat to be smashed top top the table, like into tuna fish. My brother’s cat to be in the refrigerator.”

Rooney represented the possibility of something better for Jan and her young — note says they were on welfare — though, in ~ first, Rooney was so destitute he had to move in come their rental house in Sherman Oaks. Eventually, he obtained together part money and, recalls Mark, “took united state to pretty dinners, taught united state a lot about etiquette and also all that stuff, exposed us to a most things, you know, horse racing and golf.”

Around that time, Rooney’s fortunes rotate around. He landed his component in The black Stallion and reluctantly made his Broadway debut in Sugar Babies, a burlesque revue that ended up being a wrecking success, running for nearly three years and also earning Rooney as much as $65,000 a week. Yet family members say Jan’s disappointed festered; she submitted audition cassettes to locations like The tonight Show, which sent out her a polite refusal letter.

Before long, Chris and Mark began working for Rooney — an initial informally, with Chris together a driver and Mark together a chef (“He sent out me to chef school”) and then together paid assistants. “This is something ns loved doing,” states Chris. “Imagine going to Sugar Babies and also being in the dressing room with all the girls undressing in prior of you.” Chris later on married Christina and also moved out while note stuck around. By the 1990s, both were headed because that trouble: note admits to being heavily into medicine (heroin and cocaine) and says chris was, as well — “My brother was law coke this totality time.” (Chris had actually no comment on any type of past drug use.)


‘Babes in Arms’ (1939) was among 10 highly successful big-screen musicals Rooney starred in with fellow prodigy Garland.

In 1996, Jan got to out to family members acquaintance Geraldo Rivera around Mark’s troubles, and the TV talk show host available to pay because that him to acquire treatment. Mark went off for a month come an upscale therapy facility in Nashville — Chris Farley was there at the time. (“One thing Chris said at one of the meetings was, ‘My idea the a party is a big pizza, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and a gram the coke,’ ” recalls Mark.) Ten days into his stay, Mark showed up on Rivera’s show via satellite, with his brother alongside him and Jan in the studio. Chris uploaded this segment come YouTube in 2012.

Soon after, Mark entered an after-care regimen in Florida. “I got a project at 2 restaurants,” the recalls. “I had a brand-new energy. I was focused.” in ~ one restaurant, he met a bookkeeper called Charlene Fevrier, who he began dating and eventually married. He says he heard small from Jan and also Chris, but “Mickey would call all the time, ‘When room you comes back? You’re all better now.’ “

Mark claims he want to visit home yet claims that Jan blocked Rooney from offering the essential funds. As soon as Mark lastly earned sufficient to return ~ above his own, he states he was shocked by what that saw. “Something happened,” that says. “Jan and Chris were to run the show.”

The Scheme

How walk a male who earned tens of numerous dollars throughout his career wind up v $18,000?

Mark states Rooney had a malfunction while in Australia filming 1998’s Babe: Pig in the City, after which his stepfather was prescribed solid medication. He says, “They put him top top these mind psych meds and things, and my mommy was administering them — and also she didn’t know what she was doing.” to add Charlene, “ said, ‘I need to keep him high to it is in onstage, and also I need to keep that quiet and subdued once he’s at home.’ ” (Jan denies this.)

Mark, Charlene and Augustine contend that Rooney, after declaring bankruptcy in 1996, to be told (erroneously) by chris that his pensions — from SAG, AFTRA and Actors same — had been cashed out and also he would have to work to save his home and also health and medical benefits. (Chris denies this and says he cursed no wrongdoing in link with his stepfather.) Jan and manager Pawley put together a revue for her and Mickey to execute together, Let’s put on a Show, and also Chris began booking them at venues of varying prestige across the continent.

Carroll Ballard, that directed Rooney in Black Stallion, ran into him in Toronto the year, ~ Rooney had done “some kind of theatre thing” that was “way below his abilities, and I think the felt embarrassed.” states Robert Malcolm, Rooney’s agent after Webb: “Mickey was a star. Jan to be not. Jan had a an excellent need for being in ~ the facility of things, and also that make me uncomfortable.”

In 2004, note saw Rooney in Branson, Mo., where Chris had actually booked Mickey and also Jan because that a gig. Mark says he uncovered Chris “already positioning himself” come get accessibility to Rooney’s money, having convinced Mickey and also Jan to move out of their “big and also beautiful” residence in Sherman Oaks and also into a “really crappy rental home” in Westlake Village. Moreover, recalls Mark, “He was on the call shopping for brand-new Porsches. The male said he needed to check Chris’ credit and also paperwork and also he goes, ‘You’ve acquired to inspect my f—ing credit? I’m a f—ing millionaire! What space you talking about?’ and I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, what’s walking on here?’ “

Another episode disturbed Mark also more: “Chris come in and goes, ‘Mickey, I’d prefer you to authorize this. We’re walking to walk for two months and we’re going to walk here and also we’re walking to execute this.’ and Mickey goes, ‘Ah, wait a minute, Chris, i don’t desire to sign it right now. Why don’t friend come earlier later?’ and also Chris says, ‘Just authorize it, come on, authorize it!’ ‘Chris, no, i don’t want to authorize it.’ and also he goes, ‘Just sign the thing, friend f—ing item of shit!’ “

Family members and Augustine tell THR that this arrangement continued for years, with Chris committing his stepfather to per­formances, appearances and interviews in return because that cash payments, most of which he invested as if they were his own. Chris already had compelled Rooney to include him as a sub-account holder, signatory or authorized user top top nearly all of his accounts, debit/credit cards and also P.O. Boxes. In 1998, kris was set up as a 49 percent companion in Rooney’s production company, Densmore Productions.

Chris maintains the he was constantly paid a level salary for his work, i m sorry he describes on his LinkedIn page as “coordination of all take trip arrangements, public appearances, publicity, bookings and press releases as well as forecasting and also overseeing budgetary matters,” to add “assisting in all facets of the actor’s personal life, living arrangements supervising heritage employees and managing three rental properties.” at the same time, court files avow that while Rooney’s house repeatedly to be refinanced to withdraw equity, chris owned two Mercedes, a Porsche and four residences (collectively worth an ext than $2 million).


Cast alongside a young Elizabeth Taylor in the 1944 fight ‘National Velvet,’ Rooney (right) would certainly go top top to have actually a film career that no child star in background has since matched.

A Wells Fargo statement obtained by THR reflects that as Rooney’s monthly pension and also Social defense payments, i m sorry totaled much more than $11,000 a month, were deposited into an account accessible by Rooney, Jan and Chris, similar amounts were virtually immediately transferred out the the account to others, like one called “Tiyana,” which is the surname of Chris’ daughter. “That’s the surname of one account, that’s not a person,” said Chris when confronted with this statement in an interview top top Oct. 9. “That’s exactly how I psychic the name of the account. If you comprise an account, climate you have the right to put any type of name you desire on it. I might put ‘dog shit’ top top the account, and also that’s whereby it goes. It to be Mickey’s savings account!”

Although Mark and others say the Chris and Jan both took advantage of Rooney, it appears that chris left jan to live in relative squalor v her husband — Charlene says that Rooney’s toilet was left “filthy” and rats were to run rampant when Chris and also Christina lived adjacent in a five-bedroom home (it was sold in 2012 because that $695,000) v help. Jan composed Chris an email in June 2010, obtained by THR: “It is very possible we space going to need to go our different ways,” citing a recent incident in which she alleged that Chris had actually slammed a automobile trunk on her head (“It has actually done something come me. Simply what ns don’t know”) and expressing concern around Chris’ attitude (“Your hate is hidden so deep”).

Soon thereafter, speak Mark and also Charlene, chris shut down Rooney’s production firm and fired his financial advisers conserve for one, Cindy Smith, who, court files later would certainly allege, was siphoning off Rooney’s money, too, to money a side business. (Smith cooperated with the conservator in return for having actually her name gotten rid of from the complaint.) Charlene states she spoke with one terminated accountant, Judy Hensley, in 2006, and also was told, “I’m type of friends through her , so ns can’t really say also much. However I’ll tell friend this: You’re never going to get them. Call an elder abuse lawyer.” (Neither Smith nor Hensley might be reached for comment.)

Chris and also Jan entered company dealings with two wealthy males who payment them — supposedly without Rooney’s knowledge — for access to the star. Michael Schrimmer, a Glow-Stick entrepreneur from Chicago, paid 10s of countless dollars for methods like accompanying Rooney come a dinner at Steven Spielberg‘s home. And Ray Willey, a California building preservationist, rental Mickey and also Jan to perform at his daughter’s wedding and do a signing at his art gallery. (Neither Willey no one Schrimmer responded to calls because that comment.)

Both men were affiliated in The Rooneys, a never-produced reality display pilot about the supposedly zany family members life that the couple that was filmed in august 2009. Willey is credited as one EP, having put up $30,000 to money it, with Schrimmer as associate producer. The first scene in the sizzle reel, collection during a memory-lane visit to the Sony lot of (formerly MGM), functions Jan berating Rooney for, to her mind, foolishly pass on duties in successful movies including Heaven deserve to Wait, Dances with Wolves and also — kris pipes increase from the earlier of their chauffeured SUV — Cocoon. “Another movie he gave up!” she exclaims in exasperation. “The perform goes on and on and also on!” Rooney, in response, verges on tears, his face red and fists clenched.

Meanwhile, Mark and Charlene adopted the last surname “Rooney” and also began offering some that the actor’s possessions on eBay — without his permission, says Chris. “I’ve gained a whole list,” kris says, “$20,000 precious of stuff!” (He decreased to show a perform to THR.) Charlene counters that the sales were far much more modest and always with Rooney’s permission. “He’d say, ‘Here’s a photo from Sugar Babies, simply sell this.’ and we’d gain the money and also buy food or whatever.”

When asked around Chris’ accusations, Augustine offers a curt reply: “They placed a video clip signed by Mickey or something on eBay because that $19.95; he stole $8 million!”

The Marriage

“Being married come Mickey is like a video game of chess,” january told People in 1979, a year after lock tied the knot. “I’m not sure who will certainly win. It’ll most likely be a stalemate.” for Rooney’s part, he observed in his 1991 autobiography Life Is too Short, “ever since I began going v Jan, it’s been one, big, joyous fight. The reason we don’t part: The struggle isn’t end yet.”

Rooney to be the first to identify that, through his large ego and impatient personality, he might be a pain. That went top top in his book, “Sometimes ns mistreat her. She mistreats me, too.” In the couple’s final years together, a period during i beg your pardon Charlene insurance claims they largely didn’t connect in their very own home, she recalls an incident during which Rooney coincidentally tracked dog feces with their house, prompting january to smear the on his clothes in a rage. (Asked about it, january replies, “I won’t dignify that concern with an answer.”)


“Ever since I began going v Jan, it’s to be one, big, joyous fight,” wrote Rooney, with his mam at the Academy Awards in 1978, the year they acquired married.

An evident strain in the marriage was the asymmetry of your success. While Rooney had been at a low ebb in his career when they met, that rebounded v Sugar Babies, and, follow to those about them, Jan driven her husband to leverage his reputation to increase her own — with tiny success. “Mickey was offered a component in a Muppets movie,” states Charlene. “She said to Mickey, ‘You speak to that producer and also you tell him that I’m walk to it is in in that or you’re not going to do it.’ ” (Cameos the both Rooney and also Jan to be shot; hair was cut.)

Jan favored to script Rooney’s call calls, case Mark and Charlene, particularly with the press, scribbling note on scraps of document passed come him come read, few of which have been the review by THR: “Jan is the singer in the family!”; “I never really feeling married till I married Jan. How she’s placed up with me every these years I’ll never ever know”; and, perhaps most ironically: “I might not have a million dollars — but I have actually a billion-dollar wife.”

Jan frequently insisted she autograph photographs handed to Rooney and also leaned into photos v her husband. “Mickey was always pushing to obtain Jan a duty in points he was working on,” says Malcolm. “She was simply a person who wanted to be in the limelight.”

For her part, jan contends that any type of efforts to incorporate her were her husband’s doing: “Mickey always insisted.” Similarly, she maintains that their July 2013 separation agreement contained a i that his conservator would proceed to “make reasonable initiatives to include Jan right into some that Mickey’s appearances” — no at her entreaty but since “Mickey demanded the it it is in written right into the contract. That loved having actually me in his shows.” (Counters Augustine, “She is that the belief that she is some type of a star, so we threw the in … us knew it to be a provision without any type of teeth because nobody want Jan.”)

Garcia observes the “she to be loving toward him in public, however behind closeup of the door doors, the was choose you revolve on a light switch — she would begin screaming and also yelling in ~ him.” after ~ one according to outburst, when police were referred to as in feather 2012, Charlene says that jan sought to spin their toxic rapport in not authorised terms, compare herself and also Rooney come the pair ~ above The Bickersons, a late-1940s radio show around a squabbling couple.

Yet, according to those close to Rooney, too frequently the fights coincided with unexplained physical implications for the star. In one circumstances in 2012, follow to Mark and also Charlene, Rooney had actually the starts of a black eye and a tooth knocked out, declare he fell onto a big-screen TV. In another, in November 2010, as soon as Mark uncovered him at the bottom of the stairs, he claimed to have slipped in the shower. (In Jan’s telling, “I remained in a different component of the house and also I uncovered out around it 10 to 15 minutes after the happened.”)

In an respectable 2014 court filing at the behest of 7 of Rooney’s biological children the in part accuses jan of isolating her husband native the remainder of his extended family, Kelly Rooney and also Kerry Rooney Mack case Jan confessed to them in April 2010 that she had assaulted her husband. “She said, ‘You know, sometimes, I have to hit him,’ ” states Kelly, currently a barber who stays in north California. “And ns said, ‘What? No, you don’t!’ She said, ‘Oh, yes, i do!’ ” Court documents indicate that several of Rooney’s children filed a report with neighborhood police yet did not go after it additional after, they say, january pleaded through them.

Augustine acknowledges he and also Rooney’s attorneys became mindful of Jan’s behavior but were powerless to prohibit their communication unless Rooney officially registered a complaint against her, i m sorry he refuse to do.

Multiple resources tell THR the Jan has actually struggled with mental illness over the years, a topic the Jan decreases to deal with (“I’m no comfortable pointing out anything favor that”). It’s unsure whether, as family members members and also Garcia to speak she has claimed to them, she outbursts towards Rooney were exacerbated by her fight with a brain tumor that has led to hormonal issues. (She defines her existing prognosis merely as “uncertain.”) Mark and also Charlene speak she had an acute dilemm following the dissolution of a monthslong, at times explicit, facebook messaging fling through a would-be paramour native Florida in 2010. THR contacted this man and also confirmed crucial aspects of the unconsummated affair.

“We were both troublemakers when mother met Mickey,” says note (left), shown in seemingly more happiness times with (from left) Jan, Rooney and also Chris.

“She was seeing points coming the end of walls,” states Charlene, that lived downstairs v Mark, “and she was tapping some kind of Morse code on the wall surfaces for days.” Charlene notes that Jan demanded the someone buy her bullets for a Benelli shotgun in their house: “I to be scared to fatality that us were every going to it is in on the former page.” (Of this incident, jan explains, “Mickey to buy a shotgun to safeguard our home. Ns don’t recall asking about bullets, yet I could have purchased them in ~ Mickey’s request.”)

Despite their troubles, Rooney decided for countless years not to leaving Jan. “Mickey never ever wanted to separate from me,” avows Jan. Garcia says Rooney “did not desire to end this one with a divorce” — regardless of it all, Rooney told friends, the still love Jan. (However, the outlook, states Garcia, liquified near the end, as soon as Rooney establish Jan was protecting Chris.)

THR speak to jan within job of Rooney’s death. Between sobs, she asserted the separation had been at her initiative: “I simply couldn’t resolve it anymore, with the fights, so i said, ‘Maybe we simply need to take a break and see if we have the right to work through this.’ “

The Stepsons

While mark is estranged from both his brother and mother, jan says, “They’re my sons, and also I love both the them and also an extremely uncomfortable.” In their troubled youth, mark says the two gained along, sometimes doing cocaine together, until he completed rehab.

Mark and also Charlene moved in v Rooney and also Jan in 2006, number of months ~ a disconcerting family members trip come the Telluride film Festival, in ~ which Rooney to be being honored. “ told somebody at Telluride, ‘Mickey Rooney works for me, i don’t work-related for Mickey Rooney,’ ” says Mark. Adds Charlene: “Mickey got hold of me through the arms and said: ‘Look in ~ me! You need to promise me that you and also Mark are going to help me. I can’t take it it anymore!’ “

Chris insurance claims the couple, both earning low salaries in Florida, witnessed a enjoy the meal ticket. “They assumed Mickey was worth millions,” the laughs. Through Jan’s estimation, the pair, who just erratically have been employed due to the fact that their arrival in California, “didn’t contribute anything” to her household. This contentions infuriate Charlene, that in she journal documented scores of occurrences that she insurance claims to have witnessed caring for the star in between 2005 and also his fatality (typewritten excerpts common with THR totaled 45 single-spaced pages): “We had actually a house and we had jobs . Us made a promise come Mickey.”

The pair sees us as having actually embarked top top a quiet, protracted mission come extract Rooney native an abusive situation and care because that him throughout his final decline. “When Mickey would certainly shit in the bed, note cleaned that up,” claims Augustine. The all come in the finish at a far-reaching financial and an individual cost come Mark and Charlene, leaving them damaged after he died, while other crucial players — specifically Chris, who has yet come pay the end his settlement, and also Jan, that is receiving Rooney’s death pension — have, to your minds, do out. “There was no money,” says Garcia that the trio’s living setup before Rooney died. “There to be instances once I had to offer them $50 or $100 the end of my own pocket just so they could eat.” (Mark and also Charlene case they’re licensed has been granted to unpaid caregiver fees totaling $38,000. Augustine claims they’re the first in heat to be payment — ahead of him and Rooney’s attorneys, that never have been paid anything and are fan $200,000 and $1.5 million, dong — after ~ the IRS, which is fan “less 보다 $50,000.”)

Augustine says that he’s forgiveness to their plight but that there’s tiny he have the right to do to assist them. “Mark and also Charlene somehow to be of the opinion that were responsible for offering them through some sort of real estate and/or living assistance and, once they to be advised the this was not something the we might do due to the fact that there were no funds in the estate, they basically ceased communication,” claims Augustine. “I am always open to speaking to them worrying matters of relationship to the estate.”

Charlene brushes off his vows: “That’s unbelievable. Why would certainly we choose not to it is in in touch through the human who is trustee come the legacy and, together the single beneficiaries come the estate, has actually our future in his hands?”

The Conservator

As Rooney continued to it is in verbally and physically abused by Jan and trotted out to events with which he wanted nothing to execute by Chris, he became more forward around his situation, unwilling to walk on life in fear. An executive v Disney called Edward Nowak, whom he confided in during the making of The Muppets, ad him to Bruce Ross, a senior partner in ~ Holland & Knight, who became Rooney’s counsel and also suggested he inquiry a voluntarily conservatorship to protect against the abuse.

“The role of a conservator is usually to take it over once the court determines the a human can’t take care of ,” claims Burt Levitch, a companion at Rosenfeld Meyer & Susman. Add to Laura A. Zwicker of Greenberg Glusker, “Most people with any far-reaching assets have actually done estate planning such the they wouldn’t require to acquire a conservatorship. And also it’s unexplained for who to be implemented upon while he deserve to still walk out and also earn money. Typically it’s enforced on someone v severe psychological or physical impairment.”

Family members regularly are make conservators (see Britney Spears), but Ross felt strongly that an elevation party have to be appointed come navigate Rooney’s situation, and, after interviewing number of candidates, he and Mickey made decision on Augustine, a state to trust lawyer v 40-plus year of experience who also represents the trusts that Gene Kelly and also the creators of Gumby.

Augustine went to work. In short order, after presenting evidence of jae won wrongdoing, that procured a restraining order maintaining Chris and also Christina away from Rooney, negotiated a separation commitment with jan (Rooney to be advised against divorce to save money) and, in June 2012, won court approval to ar Rooney under the treatment of Mark and also Charlene in ~ a rental property, the ar of which would certainly be withheld indigenous Jan and Chris. He then sold Rooney and also Jan’s Westlake village home for $1.057 million; afterward, Jan relocated in with Chris and also Christina. And in might 2013, he reached a negotiation with Chris.

Augustine tried to initiate criminal prosecution of Chris, submit a report through the Ventura ar Sheriff’s Department, yet says, “They chose it to be a polite matter and refused to take it come the D.A.” A spokesperson because that the VCSD said, “In 2013 we got a report the a opportunity of some type of a financial elder abuse that was investigated, and at no time was a crime ever before established.”

Says Chris: “If they proved simply one thing, I can go to jail. Lock couldn’t prove anything.”

In the end, Augustine went after chris via polite litigation, though he knew there to be nothing come recover. He sued Chris’ homeowners’ insurance transport (“We uncovered there was an insurance policy that insured for negligent acts”), however a judge ruled in July the the transport was no obligated come pay. Now, the transport is suing Augustine to recover the prices of their defense.

On the shining side, Augustine’s initiatives meant Rooney no much longer was “physically in peril.” he says, “All that a sudden Mickey’s figure improved, everything about Mickey improved.” Indeed, while Jan fueled the impression the nothing had readjusted — on Facebook, she ongoing signing posts, “Love, Jan and Mickey” — Rooney to be shining at summer 2012 Q&As at the Academy and Hammer Museum and even had actually a cameo in 2014’s Night in ~ the Museum 3.

Yet Jan, Chris, Christina, Mark, Charlene and also most of Rooney’s surviving biological children agree the they room unhappy v Augustine, either since he sued them, limited their access to Rooney or failed come send lock a check.


Rooney v his Honorary Oscar in 1983.

The End

On April 6, 2014, Rooney passed away of natural causes after being found unresponsive during an afternoon nap. TMZ broke the news before Augustine might notify jan or Rooney’s biological children, that were outraged. Within hours, Jan and also Chris do the efforts to insurance claim Rooney’s body and also began approving interviews.

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Rooney, one of the peak movie stars of every time, died poor. “If he had been regulated properly,” states Augustine, “I think he would certainly have remained in the neighborhood of someone choose Paul Newman, conveniently worth numerous millions that dollars.” he adds: “The biggest crime below was not stealing the dough, since Mickey could’ve do the dough back. The biggest crime to be they rotate Mickey into a dog-and-pony show, and nobody wanted to have actually anything to carry out with him.”

For all his life, other world sought to make money turn off of Rooney. Jan maintained bags filled v clippings that Rooney’s hair from assorted years, to speak Mark and Charlene. (“She assumed it was going come be like Elvis‘,” chuckles Charlene.) kris admits to offering photos of his stepfather come the photo company Coleman-Rayner hrs after his death. And also Mark and also Charlene acknowledge selling audio the Rooney gift berated by jan to RadarOnline and also being a resource for a New York Post gossip shaft item around his condition. “We’re simply trying to pay the goddamn rent, because that Christ’s sake,” says Mark. (Once every creditors are paid, Augustine says any kind of of Rooney’s continuing to be assets — perhaps consisting of the juvenile Oscar, which definitely would walk for no less than numerous hundred thousand dollars — would go come the sole beneficiary of his trust, Mark.)

Chris, that acknowledges he and Christina owned four homes while he worked for his stepfather, says, “I lost my beautiful home because Mickey wasn’t paying me. I had to walk bankrupt so ns wouldn’t lose my wife’s house.” Augustine has little sympathy because that the Abers. “We walk discovery, subpoenaed records, take it depositions,” he says. “Chris and also Christina room thieves. Quote me ~ above that. They could sue me. F— ’em.”

Today, Jan, Chris and Christina room living turn off Rooney’s pensions. According to Augustine, the last point Rooney want was come subsidize Chris’ lifestyle. (“To be honest, his direct statement was, ‘I don’t want that cocksucker to gain a nickel.’ “) Still, Chris cases poverty. Now dividing his time in between “a tiny tract house” in Conejo sink in California and also Waikiki, Hawaii, where he works as director of operations at the Burn’n Love Elvis-impersonator show, he says, “I tell mine wife, ‘I’m sorry, honey, girlfriend can’t walk to Taco Bell today. I don’t have sufficient money.’ “

Rooney had purchased plots for Jan and her sons however had conveyed to Augustine that he no much longer wished to be buried with them (or to have Chris and also Christina in ~ his funeral). However, that didn’t have the accumulation to acquisition a various plot. Roger Neal, a publicist and manager, intervened and also arranged a plot for him in ~ the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. “They gave him a bea­utiful spot, a gorgeous crypt,” claims Neal. “He overlooks the lake.”

Despite Rooney’s legendary career, no Hollywood stars were invite to see him off, much much less eulogize him. Except, that is, one who never met him: Mickey Rourke, who had actually received a pan letter native the elder Mickey three years earlier, in ~ the outset that his very own career, and was touch by it (“I flourished up the town hall his beforehand shit, girlfriend know?”) yet never wrote back. Rourke met mark at a mutual friend’s tattoo parlor ~ above the Sunset Strip simply a couple of days before the star died and arranged to finally meet his other Mickey. Climate he learned the star had actually died. “I went, ‘Oh, shit,’ ” says Rourke. “I owe it come him to walk to his funeral.”

Mark and Charlene invite Rourke and their common friend to to visit an open-casket personal ceremony the day before two other little funeral solutions for other family members members. (In a final indignity, Rooney’s body had to be refrigerated for 2 weeks after his death as household members battled in court over funeral arrangements.) that was just the 4 of them.

“It to be a pathetic vision to check out him in what looked prefer a f—in’ $85 polyester gray suit, with his tiny hands folded, looking for this reason tiny and all alone,” states Rourke. “I thought to myself, ‘Wow, after all he accomplished, every he did, the initiative that he put forward …’ ”