My Life In The Theatre
by Jim Murchison
This week Mickey Rooney died. Apparently his personal life was difficult. He had more wives than Henry VIII and allegedly only $18,000 in his estate when he died. That is incredible when you think that he was a major star since he was a tween and stars with half his talent make mega millions for a single movie.
A lot of Mickey Rooney's early films were about putting on a show. Usually there was some sort of dire trouble on the horizon and the only way to save the day was for a group of energetic kids with a dream to write a show so good that it would impress some Broadway impresario to produce it. Once it became an overnight success it would make enough money that uncle could keep the farm.
That is way more than hokey. The dedicated independent theatre companies in Ottawa are thrilled when they don't lose money. If they have too many unionized actors they have to negotiate special agreements with Equity to be able to afford to do a show and Equity to their credit realizes that their artists are far more interested in doing exciting work than they are in waiting for that big break and the union works with the company to make it work. Equity understands the reality of being a stage performer.
In any case, Mr Rooney really was a film actor and he got to do what he loved for 80 years. I've only been involved in theatre in various degrees for 40. Just watch me the next 40. I'm going to rock it and Uncle Festus will be able to buy two farms if he wants to.
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