Nightly News   |  April 07, 2014

Brian Williams Remembers Hollywood Legend Mickey Rooney

“Nightly News” takes a look back at the extraordinary career of actor Mickey Rooney, who wore his heart on his sleeve.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally here tonight, he was durable and out lived and out lasted most of his peers and he was indelible. there was nobody else quite like mickey rooney and when we learned late last night he died, it meant the end of a nine-decade career that spanned just about the entire recorded history of motion pictures all the way to president day.

>> reporter: he out lasted everyone from what people call old hollywood and until the end, people picture mickey rooney as a young enthusiastic guy with a twinkle in his eye. back in the day he was known as the most famous teenager in america, back when it meant a lot to spend a quarter to go to the movies, he meant a lot to depression era audiences.

>> i'm just a lucky individual who had the opportunity that god gave me to be in a business that i adore and love and get paid darn well for it.

>> reporter: to call him a child star was an understatement. he shot his first movie at age six. when full grown he barely cracked 5'3" which was fine when he was playing young guy with hopeful faces but later he said he would have given anything to be six inches taller. he was off on a rambling wreck interrupted by moments of great success. he made and lost a fortune several times over and famously spent a lot of time looking for love. he married eight times, ava gardener among them. on screen his material ranged from shakespeare to the muppets and played alongside judy garland , his co-star in three films. in so many interviews, he wore his heart on his sleeve and spoke the truth about hollywood and ageing, and late in life he enjoyed wearing his world war ii medals on his chest, including a bronze star for entertaining the troops in combat zones. he was nominated for an oscar four times but what brought an emmy came later in life when he played a man named bill.

>> we all like to take a bow in life. i wish i were in love again

>> reporter: he was remembered today, a man who always found work because it all went back to putting on a show.