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Hands Off Mickey Rooney's Remains, Judge Tells Fighting Family

After the late actor's will revealed he left a shockingly modest estate to his primary caretaker, his wife and a stepson are trying to move his body.
Image: Mickey Rooney in 2012.
Mickey Rooney in 2012.Reuters file

Even after his death, the family of Mickey Rooney is still fighting over him. Now, the dispute is about what to do with the late actor's remains.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ordered that Rooney's remains cannot be claimed from Forest Lawn Memorial Park until at least Friday, after Rooney's lawyers filed an emergency request to bar Rooney's estranged wife and his stepson from moving the actor's body.

A lawyer for Rooney’s estate asked Judge James A. Steele for the emergency order because he “believes that Janice Rooney and Christopher Aber are attempting to remove the Decedent’s body from Forest Lawn Memorial Park against the Decedent’s express wishes,” according to documents obtained by NBC News. Rooney died in his home on April 6. He was 93.

Image: Mickey Rooney arriving at the world premiere of the 40th anniversary restoration of the film "Cabaret" in Hollywood
Academy Award winning actor Mickey Rooney arrives at the world premiere of the 40th anniversary restoration of the film "Cabaret" during the opening night gala of the 2012 TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, California in this April 12, 2012 file photo. Rooney, the pint-sized screen dynamo of the 1930s and 1940s best known for his boy-next-door role in the Andy Hardy movies, died on April 6, 2014 at 93, the TMZ celebrity website reported. It did not give a cause of death and a spokesman was not immediately available for comment.FRED PROUSER / Reuters, file

The judge set a hearing for Friday and stated in his hand-written order that none of Rooney’s agents or anyone acting on his behalf should make any attempts to remove his remains “until April 11, 2014 or pending further order of the court.”

The dispute began after Rooney’s lawyers filed a will revealing that the actor left his estate of only $18,000 to a stepson, Mark Aber and his wife Charlene, who had served as his primary caretakers. Rooney was living with them when he died.

The will, obtained by NBC News, disinherits Rooney’s wife, Janice, of 35 years, and his nine children. The couple’s 2012 marital separation settlement named Janice as the beneficiary of his pensions and Social Security.

In 2011, Rooney sued Chris and Christina Aber (Rooney's wife's biological son and wife) for elder abuse, claiming they stole money and deprived him of food and medications and would not let him leave his home. The couple settled the case in October, after admitting to taking $2.8 million from the actor’s accounts.

A visibly shaken and emotional Rooney testified before Congress about the abuse in 2011.