I have such fond memories of Mickey Rooney—or rather, I had such fond memories of Mickey Rooney. Whether it was his understated performance in The Black Stallion or his maniacally enthusiastic chemistry with Judy Garland in Babes in Arms (Hey gang, let’s put on a show!), his work left an indelible mark on my childhood. However after reading excerpts from his biography Life Is Too Short, I want nothing more than to scrub that horny little perv from my brain. The book (which was written right as he coasted into his 70’s) isn’t exactly “tell-all”—and it’s certainly not mean-spirited—but man, does it have an air of “inappropriate grandpa” to it! We get it Mickey—you got a lot of tail! But why did you have to put it like this?!?
[Lana Turner] wasn’t the kind of girl who had much to say or had to say much. Her body said it all, and I got the message, loud and clear. Her auburn locks, her deep green eyes, her long lashes, the tip of her nose, her pouty lips, her graceful throat, the curve of her shoulders, her tiny waste, and, yes, the nicest knockers I have ever seen. When I first saw her at the malt shop on Highland Avenue, she was not wearing a tight pink sweater; this was before her Hollywood handlers put her in sweaters—and I thought, Here is a woman.
My fantasies about her soon came true. When I asked her to go out with me, she said yes. And I soon found out that she was as oversexed as I was, warm, passionate, soft, and moist in interesting places. You may wonder what she saw in me. I don’t know. You’d have to ask her. I do know that on a dance floor I could make her breathless.
I don’t want to ever hear the phrase “moist in interesting places” from anyone that isn’t describing a steak. Also, I understand there’s a temptation to take artistic license recounting one’s own sexual history, but that little humblebrag is fooling no one. Mickey also doesn’t quite get Judy Garland right.
[Judy] always idolized her own charming father—only to learn, after she’d grown up, that he was a homosexual. She couldn’t accept that in him. And then, she had an even harder time accepting a trace of that in herself. She had an affair with a female singer and, caught up in the guilt, couldn’t accept herself. So she tried to lose herself in a never-never land where reality faded and her dreams drifted, just out of reach.
I still think I could have helped Judy, but she kept dodging me. I guess she felt guilty about her addiction. She should have known that being hooked on barbiturates didn’t mean a damn thing to me: after all, I ad been there. I understood what she was feeling. So, in fact, did many of her fans. They, too, would have understood. And they would have been far more loving with her than she was to herself.
Oh come on, Mickey! As studious Tumblr fact-checkers have already pointed out—Judy Garland knew her dad was gay from a pretty young age, and while she was conflicted and confused, it was no great source of guilt-ridden anguish, nor were her her (alleged!) lesbian affairs. This is just bitchy, speculative gossip, Mickey—for shame! But the absolute nadir of tawdry is his account of Ava Gardner—do not read further unless you are prepared to have your idea of a lovable old Hollywood icon sullied beyond repair.
We were both athletic in bed, and pretty verbal, too. Once Ava lost her Southern reticence, she seemed to enjoy using the f-word. And I didn’t mind a bit, when, for example, she would look me straight in the eye, raise a provocative eyebrow, and say, “Let’s fuck, Mickey. Now.” Some years later, Hedda Hopper would say of Ava, “That girl was made to love and be loved.” I had to agree with that judgment.
Oh, we told ourselves that we were very much in love, and our sex life helped us in that particular piece of self-deception. Once Ava got into the spirit of things, she wanted to do it all the time. And she quickly learned what it was that turned me on about her. Let me count the ways: a smoldering look, a laugh, a tear, kicking off her shoes as soon as she got in the house, getting all dolled up, not getting all dolled up, coming down to breakfast in a pair of shorts—and no top at all. In bed, let’s just say that Ava was…well, she had this little rosebud down there at the center of her femininity that seemed to have a life of its own. I am not talking about muscles. One gal I knew had trained her muscles, so that she could snap carrots in her pussy, not hands. But Ava had something different. She had this little extra—it was almost like a little warm mouth—that would reach up and grab me and take me in and make my, uh, my heart swell. She also had big brown nipples, which, when she was aroused, stood out like some double-long golden California raisins. And I sucked those warm breasts, I did taste her mother’s milk.
Mickey Rooney’s sex life is explored in this marvelous animation from new Dangerous Minds contributor Cris Shapan: