Mickey Rooney Jr., an original Mousketeer, dead at 77

The entertainment world was rocked over the weekend as it was announced that Mickey Rooney Jr., the first Mousketeer who was also an actor and a musician, had died at the age of 77, Fox News reports

The son of screen legend Mickey Rooney, Rooney Jr. was hired by Disney in 1955 as one of the founding Mousketeers. Chrissie Brown, his longtime partner, said he passed while at his residence in Glendale, Arizona.

Rooney Jr.’s death was formally announced on social media by Paul Peterson, the former actor and founder of the advocacy group A Minor Consideration. Not included in the announcement was a cause of death.

“Mickey Rooney Jr. peacefully passed away this morning in Arizona,” Peterson wrote in a touching Facebook tribute to his friend.

He added: “For the past many years, he lived with and was in the care of Chrissie Brown and her family. I first met Mickey, the oldest of nine siblings sired by his famous father when he and Timmy were hired by Disney to be Mouseketeers in 1955. Mickey Junior was tall and talented. He could sing, dance and act… and get in trouble. We three were fired for Conduct Unbecoming a Mouse!”

“Mickey Junior was the personification of ‘damaged goods,’” Peterson continued. “He gave all he could. I was born on the same day as Mickey’s father and ‘The Mic’ gave me, unsolicited mind you, the most useful advice I ever got. It is one of my greatest sorrows that he didn’t do the same for his son. Mickey Rooney Junior. Rest In Peace at last. We will see to your wishes.”

Rooney Jr.’s grandmother taught him how to play chords on the ukelele when he was young, and he would go on to become a skilled musician, which turned out for the best after he was fired by Disney “over some mischief” in the Disney paint department, Fox noted.

Tributes to Rooney Jr. poured in across social media, with many expressing fond memories of working with or crossing paths with the talented actor.