Shortly after taking his first steps Mickey Rooney began his acting career. He was 18 months old
and the location was Chicago's Haymarket Theater. A few months later he was appearing in his
first film. Over the course of his career, he has starred in more than 300 movies, over 100
television shows and dozens of theatrical productions.
On May 30th he opens at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas.
The guy who has been in front of the footlights since he was infant has respect for the light bulb
invention. "Without it, you're in the dark."
The song and dance man has seen his own career and life go through some dark spells, managing
to see the light at the end of the tunnel when, almost twenty-five years ago, he married Jan, his
eighth and current wife, and found God.
He discovered God through an angel who appeared in the form of a busboy with brilliant golden
hair and while clearing away the plates told Rooney to straighten up his life and assured him that
"God loves you." Shook, Rooney discovered that nobody else in the crowded restaurant had seen
that busboy. "I realized that the busboy was an angel sent from heaven. He was telling me to
clean up my act, straighten up my life and become a good Christian again."
Rooney did, but it wasn't easy for the man who is now a practicing Christian Scientist.
In 1938, when he was 18, Rooney was the nation's top movie star, with bigger box office than
Clark Gable, Spencer Tracey or James Cagney.
MICKEY ROONEY AND JUDY GARLAND in the
1939 movie Babes In Arms. Rooney named his dog after his co-star.
He named his dog - the daughter of Yorkshire terriers Gloria Swanson and Charlie Chaplin, after
Judy Garland the person he once said had more impact on his life than any of his eight
The glare of a spotlight too hot and too early made problems later on.
In his 1965 autobiography he said MGM "would have preferred that he remain a teen for 40
years. Though he made more than 300 movies, he lamented that landing "adult" roles was a
challenge. The actor got an Oscar nomination for 1979 The Black Stallion, and an Emmy
ward for the 1981 TV movie Bill. Still, before his Broadway comeback in 1980's
Sugar Babies he admits to being "king of the dinner-theater circuit - a personality who
accepted $500 for showing up at a party pretending to be a friend of the host."
MICKEY ROONEY was at the Riviera Hotel in Las
Vegas during the summer of 1955 where he got cute and pulled a rickshaw for a promotional
Along the way he sought solace in alcohol, playing the ponies and eventually filed for bankruptcy
after getting into the IRS for $1.75 million. In the early 60s Rooney was pulling in nearly
$20,000 per week in Las Vegas and losing twice as much shooting craps. He wad his own worst
Through it all he's managed to keep his sense of humor. You know what? They've got a Mickey
Rooney doll. You wind it up and it gets married." While his bio says he's 5 feet three inches,
Rooney explains: "I was 6 feet 4 when I married Ava Gardner."
As to why his current marriage is approaching the silver anniversary plateau Rooney had some
advise for men: "If I had one piece of advice to give to husbands, it's be this. Keep you mouth
shut. If I'd have done that sooner I'd be a lot better off now," said the man whose first marriage
to Gardner lasted 17 months and his fifth, to Marge Lane, ran just 100 days.
The Brooklyn born dynamic fireplug has no plans to slow down. He toured with the stage
production of The Wizard of Oz and was named to the California Commission on Aging
and performs at the Sahara Hotel. "I'll work as long as the public wants me and I've gone
through six publics already!"
Mickey Rooney will be starring at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas thru June 3rd.
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KISS MY FOOT
Nevada cocktail waitresses are down in the heels about being required to put their tootsies in
shoes that have heels ranging from one to three inches.
Cocktail waitresses want to be able to wear "sensible" shoes. A protest demonstration in Reno,
Nevada asserted that being forced to wear high-heels is discriminatory and puts women's health
Many of the protestors arrived wearing tennis shoes.
It was pointed out that a fully loaded cocktail tray can weigh up to 40 pounds and juggling drinks
while balancing on spiked heels can take its toll on the back and feet.
Lucie Arnaz who is currently starring in the London stage production Witches of
and her brother Desi who calls Boulder City, Nevada home, are brewing up some sweet
concoctions of their own - Lucy's Chocolate Factory Candy based on the classic I Love
Lucy television segment, where Lucy and Ethel stuffed their mouths to keep up with the
The sweet treats will be manufactured at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Durango,
Colorado. The edibles will go on sale in October and collector boxes will be available.
In Philadelphia Chef Joseph Poon, of the upscale Joseph Poon Asian Fusion Restaurant, doesn't
intend to permit the Republicans to starve when the Republican National Convention convenes in
Philadelphia this July. Poon has pledged that 20 percent of the cost of each prix fixe meal
served will be donated to the Asian Republican Support Group. The party that gave us the
guy who can't spell potato can chow down on a meal that begins with Peking Duck Salad,
Consomme de Lobster Bean Cake aux Quenelles and Lobster, Scallop and Shrimp Crystal
The meal continues with international appetizers including Grilled Chicken Satay in Bourbon
Glaze from Malaysia, Foie Gras in Garlic Tangy Essence from France, Persian Spicy Japanese
Eggplant with Pita Bread and Grilled Tofu in Burgundy Hoisin Sauce from Peking. The main dish
will be a Roasted Black and White Sesame Seed Chilean Sea Bass. The meal will be topped off
with a Ginger Carrot Elephant Cake - you expected a donkey??? There will also be
In Las Vegas the 10th Annual Epicurean Affair 2000 - An Olympian Odyssey takes place at the
Rio Hotel on June 14. The Nevada hotel and Motel Association and the Nevada Restaurant
Association sells tickets for $100. in advance or $125 at the door. Promises made say that
one's senses will be taken on a bold, new culinary journey as the Culinary Olympic Team shows
SELENA FOREVER the stage
musical about the slain tejano singer, has folded. Arguments with producers and canceled shows
in Los Angeles means the national tour has been scrapped.
WAITING IN THE WINGS starring
Lauren Bacall and Rosemary Harris ends its run at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre NYC.
RADIO CITY MUSICAL HALL ROCKETTES at the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas will be high kicking it for the last
Leapin' Lizards! the sun
will come out when the national touring company stops off at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for
performances June 14-18.
Beginning as Harold Gray's cartoon strip Little Orphan Annie, the loveable, curly
red-haired girl came alive on the Broadway stage when Annie opened to rave revues on
The show places Annie, Daddy Warbucks, and Annie's mutt Sandy in New York
City in the midst of the Depression. The Broadway show was the inspiration of Martin Charnin,
who became Annie's director and lyricist. Initially skeptical of the idea, Charnin convinced
Charles Strouse to get on board and write the music and Thomas Meehan to write the book for
the Broadway play that would go on to win seven Tony Awards and become the third longest
running musical of the 1970's with 2,377 performances.
Charnin is back in the director's chair for
this tour of Annie, which will travel to 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada.
that wonderful, wonderful musical which opened on Broadway in 1953 with Rosalind Russell
starring as Ruth, a wisecracking, aspiring writer from Ohio who shares a small drab Greenwich
Village apartment with her pretty sister, Eileen. A concert version delighted those fortunate
enough to see it at Lincoln Center in their Encores! series. Now it appears that the
show will return to Broadway. Big shot people are interested in backing this production. Names
being bandied about are monikers like actor/race car driver Paul Newman and Chicago
producers Fran and Barry Weissler and Anita Waxman and Elizabeth Williams producers of
The Real Thing. We're not playing favorites. We don't care who produces it as long as it
MARTY BELL has optioned the
biography of Josephine Baker written by Jean-Claude Baker, the singer's adopted son, who owns
the Chez Josephine nightclub in New York City.
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow
is enuf will celebrate its 25th anniversary performance by opening
June 11 at the American Place Theater, NYC. Written by Ntozake Shange, the production will be
directed by George Faison.
ART the 1998 Tony Award
winning Best Play runs May 30-June 4, Jones Hall, Houston, TX.
DENVER PERFORMING ARTS COMPLEX has set their new season which begins September 15 with Tantalus,
followed by The Show-Off. The first production of next year will be 1933 with a
January 10-March 3 run. Amy's View is followed by Much Ado About Nothing, Wit, The
Little Foxes, Inna Beginning, Uncle Vanya, and Pork Pie closes out the season with a
May 17-June 16 engagement.
GUINEVERE by Pam Gens has
its US premiere at the 78th Street Theatre Lab now thru June 10th. Directed by Eric Nightengale
and starring Alan Nebelthau and Jeanne Ruskin, Guinevere takes place during a
knockdown drag-out cat fight between King Arthur and his Queen, who having been accused of
treason against the kingdom for her extra-marital fling with Lancelot, is not feeling particularly
VAGINA MONOLOGUES AND PENIS ENVY Currently venting in The Vagina Monologues are Diahann Carroll,
Marisa Tomei and Rita Wilson. Giving testosterone equal time is the new comedy The Penis
Envy which is permitting press agents and assorted wags to enjoy the moment. "The envy of
all shows. The Penis Responds is actually twelve short plays that you'll wish were a lot
longer. You'll have a ball." The Penis Responds opens May 25 at the Blue Heron Arts
Center NYC while The Vagina Monologues is spreading the word at The Westside
by Maury Yeston
has Richard White returning to the role he created. White replaced Robert Cuccioli who is
currently starring off-Broadway in Enter the Guardsman. The production which runs
through June 4 at the San Jose, Performing Arts Center has Christine being played by Kristin
Peterson. Also in the cast are Ann Arvia as Carlotta, Joe Wincent as Gerard Cassiera, Michael
Ray Wisely, Richard Frederick and Jonathan Rhys Williams. Marc Jacobs directs.
ACCESSION OF LILI a
two-character play set in New Orleans was first produced by the University of Mississippi in 1993
as part of the Festival of Southern Theatre. Written by David H. Vowell, who received an Oscar
nomination for Say Goodbye, the romantic comedy has its West Coast premiere at the
Two Roads Theatre in Studio City, CA through July 8. Susan Morganstern directs Sandra Tucker
and Adam Conger.
FOOTLOOSE directed by Daniel
Stewart, with stage adaptation by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie, music by Tom Snow, lyrics
by Dean Pitchford based on his original screenplay with additional music by Eric Carmen, Sammy
Hagar, Kenny Loggins and Jim Steinman has put its foot down at the Rio Hotel in Las
THE SECRET OF THE OLD QUEEN
- no, it's not what you're thinking. This is a Hardy Boys musical, with a
book by Timothy Cope and music and lyrics by Paul Boesing. It opens June 1 at The New
Conservatory Center in San Francisco.
The musical adventure stars Patrick Michael Duckman, Gina Falchetta, Jared Fortunato, Jessica
Kathryn Jackson, Shelley Lynn Johnson, Richard Pardini, Steven Patterson, Stephen Pawley,and
Directed and designed by John Sowle with choreography by Jayne Zaban.
Musical direction by Alan Fricke and costumes by Jeffrey Simpson.
Production runs through July
MARC ANTHONY both newly
married and newly involved in a child support lawsuit from a previous significant other performs
June 16 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
ALAN KING who is suppose to be
returning to Broadway is returning to Las Vegas. The actor-comedian has purchased a Las Vegas
condo for $770,000. The new abode is in a high rise tower call Turnberry Place. It has three
bedrooms, 2,800 square feet and is on the 21 st floor. King, 72, was a Vegas regular during the
Rat Pack heyday and one of the few performers credited with actually bringing high roller into a
casino. His return to Vegas coincides with Steve Wynn purchasing the Desert Inn Hotel and
reports that Wynn will be booking classy "old guard" performers that attract the high roller
LEANN RIMES who has been
singing the blues charging her father and others with mismanagement of her money sings in The
House of Blues, Las Vegas on July 28.
BOB ANDERSON was described by
People as "America's greatest singing impressionist." The entertainer who has been
performing in Las Vegas since 1973 opens May 25 at the Stardust Hotel in the first of four
engagements at the resort. This gig runs through June 9th.
DAVID HYDE PIERCE is anxious
to return to Broadway telling friends that " there is nothing like live theatre. I would love to go
back." He did manage to work in Boys from Syracuse in Los Angeles while also
co-starring in the top rated Frasier series.
TOM POSTILIO swings into summer
at Arci's Place in NYC June 6-24 with an all new show This Time Around. The Long
Island native recently performed critically acclaimed engagements with the Delaware and
Honolulu Symphony orchestras and a sold out Westbury Music Fair concert with his own
17-piece swing orchestra. This will be his first appearance at Arci's Place.
BARRY MANILOW performing five
shows May 25-28 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.
MARVIN HAMLISCH who owns a
Tony and Oscar and Emmy awards can't rest on his trophies. Currently he's the principal pops
conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He's also composing a new Broadway musical
Sweet Smell of Success which is expected to open next year. This new effort is based on
the 1957 film of the same which starred Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis and offered a not
too flattering portrayal of the press. Don't expect the new musical to take a softer stance.
Hamlisch thinks the press has way too much "make you or break you power."
THIS AND THAT
STEVE LAWRENCE AND EYDIE GORME who close this evening at Caesars Palace and
in fact will be the last act to
play Caesars before the hotel shutters the showroom, dipped their hands in cement at Planet
Hollywood. Referring to the mob once controlling the Las Vegas strip, Steve quipped: "In
another time the cement would have been for the Gambino (organized crime) family." As for
the hand dunking Eydie commented. "It was sticky."
JANE FONDA speaking at a fund
raiser and being honored by Planned Parenthood in Las Vegas told the crowd she didn't want a
teaching explaining sex to her children who thought vulva was a car.
GLADYS KNIGHT who is starring
in Smokey Joe's Cafe stops singing long enough to be the commencement speaker and
receive an honorary doctoral degree at the University of San Diego. That's the school which her
three children attended. As for Gladys, she attended the school of hard knocks.
THE NATIONAL BIG BAND & JAZZ HALL OF FAME
will shortly have groundbreaking in Palm Springs, CA with an
opening date slated for October 2. The city approved the building pans with a unanimous 6-
ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER
negotiating with Neil Sedaka to perform on Broadway in a show based on Sedaka's life.
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Next Column: May 28, 2000
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