The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

April 11, 2014

Stanly residents share memories of Mickey Rooney

Thursday, April 10, 2014 — Mickey Rooney is remembered for his numerous film roles, including his immense popularity as a child actor and the Andy Hardy series.

But in addition to these and his musical numbers with Judy Garland and parts with film legends such as Spencer Tracy, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, many Stanly County residents remember the night Mickey Rooney came to town.

Rooney, who died April 6 at 93, performed Sept. 14, 2006, at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center.

Rooney and his eighth wife, Jan, whom he has since legally separated, sang and danced in “Mickey Rooney: Let’s Put On A Show,” a stage show that chronicled his life. The show kicked off the season for the Stanly County Concert Association.

“It was a special event to have Mickey, at age 85 then, to join us on stage in our community and entertain us after all these decades since his childhood,” Charlotte Maness, president of SCCA, said.

“Many people have commented this week about that night and how happy they are that we had him come here.”

The night prior to the performance, Don and Janice Abernathy hosted the Rooneys at their Albemarle home for a barbecue dinner.

It just happened to be Mickey’s 85th birthday.

Janice had a cake made in his honor.

“I want the horse from ‘National Velvet’ on the cake,” she recalls saying to a local bakery.

The evening and Mickey, overall, was a nice experience.

“I’ve never entertained a celebrity,” she said.

“I really didn’t know what to expect.”

Abernathy said the actor did not talk much, but that he was not expected to be “on.”

The next night, however, it was his time.

“Mickey sang and danced and I know many in the audience, as did I, traveled back in memories of his movies that will always remain a huge part of his legacy,” Maness said.

While Abernathy considers “National Velvet” her favorite Rooney movie, Maness remembers a more recent film, “Night At The Museum,” since it came out the same year as his visit to Stanly County.

“Seeing him act at that age was such an inspiration,” she said.

“An older one, ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,’ was such a favorite since it was so hilarious, and [had] so many great actors, including Mickey, making it such a happy time, 1963,” she added.

“Life was simpler then and these kinds of movies were so awesome.”

To submit story ideas, contact B.J. Drye at or (704) 982-2121 ext. 25.


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