Mickey Rooney's Youngest Son Once Revealed the Story behind His Mom's Tragic Early Death

Michael Rooney, son of legendary actor Mickey, once shared a shocking story of his past — the tragic early death of his mother.

In an interview with Emma Brockes, a Guardian columnist based in New York, Michael opened up about his mom Barbara Thomason, who passed away in January 1966.

"So he took the very gun that my father gave my mother for protection and killed her in our house."

Michael Rooney on October 14, 2001 in Los Angeles, CA | Photo: Getty Images

Michael Rooney on October 14, 2001 in Los Angeles, CA | Photo: Getty Images

Michael on the death of his mother

Michael explained:

"She was an aspiring actress. She is no longer with us."

He went on to tell that his mother was murdered:

"I don't remember a thing. I was about three or four. And my mum and my dad were going through a divorce."

Mickey Rooney at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California | Photo: Getty Images

Mickey Rooney at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California | Photo: Getty Images

He added:

"My mum was kind of seeing somebody on the side. But then my father and my mother decided to get back together, and the guy my mum was dating wasn't having it. So he took the very gun that my father gave my mother for protection and killed her in our house. Then killed himself. It was a murder-suicide."

They were in the house when that happened, he continued. However, he didn't recall anything.

"We were scurried out and told we were going to see the movie Mary Poppins," he said. "It wasn't like, oh, your mother's dead upstairs."

Mickey Rooney and Barbara Thomason at the Cocoanut Grove in Hollywood, CA, June 22nd 1962 | Photo: Getty Images

Mickey Rooney and Barbara Thomason at the Cocoanut Grove in Hollywood, CA, June 22nd 1962 | Photo: Getty Images

Getting adopted by his grandparents

In the 1960s, his famous father Mickey was going through a tough time, so his grandparents adopted him and his siblings. Their lives became stable after that.

After a school production of West Side Story, Michael got into choreography. He then got his first job as an extra on the television series "Fame," following years of training as a dancer.

Michael's parents, Barbara and Mickey, first met at a nightclub. They were secretly married in Mexico in December 1958. Prior to becoming the fifth wife of Mickey, Barbara made two low-budget, indie features.

In January 1966, Mickey filed for divorce after learning Barbara was planning to file a lawsuit for separate maintenance. In his autobiography, Mickey said of the tragic death of his ex-wife:

"I died when she did. I am furious at what happened to her." 

On the rebound, the actor wedded Barbara's dear companion Marge Lane. However, that marriage failed after 100 days.

At the time of his death in April 2014, Mickey had appeared in more than 300 films. He was one of the last surviving stars of the silent film era and was the top box-office attraction from 1939 to 1941.

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