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Lessons from Celebrity Mistakes: Mickey Rooney

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2010 | Firm News |

Mickey Rooney, Millionaire Entertainer Who Died Poor

Hello, I’m Bill Peterson

Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney

Mickey Rooney earned millions as the highest paid entertainer in the 1930’s and 1940’s. But he died virtually broke on April 6, 2014 His career spanned nine decades from the silent screen era to the big screen television era.

Rooney starred as Andy Hardy in a series of 15 films in the 1930’s and 1940’s that showcased American family values. Those values unfortunately were not reflected in his stormy personal life that included eight marriages, nine children and 19 grandchildren. At five foot two with a boyish appearance, he had years of success as a juvenile actor, in later years, he could never recover his childhood superstar status.

He was addicted to some prescription drugs and compulsive gambling. At his death in 2014 he was estranged from his wife, Jan and his fortune shrank under several conservatorships handled by family members. His Will, composed a month before he died, disinherited all his children and left his meager estate of $18,000 to a stepson, Mark Aber.

Rooney accused another stepson, Chris Aber, of elder abuse and theft of several million dollars from him. At 91 years of age, he appeared before a U.S. Senate committee to testify about elder abuse.

His life was an estate planning textbook of the need for a good estate plan design, good financial planning and careful selection of persons to act on the elder person’s behalf (Surrogates). (Not to mention the desirability of keeping cordial family relationships) Here he is with his 8th wife Jan in happier days.

Mickey Rooney gave us a pleasant view of a happy life of Andy Hardy but also left us with a more somber reality of his actual celebrity life.

There’s a lot to learn from his unfortunate example.

I’m Bill Peterson Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney

I can help you and your family.

Call me at (952) 921-5818.

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