About this Famous Person
American film actor and entertainer
Source : Tim DOWLING
Rooney was born Joseph Yule, Jr. in Brooklyn, New York. His father, Joseph Yule, was from Scotland, and his mother, Nellie W. (née Carter), was from Kansas City, Missouri. Both of his parents were in vaudeville, appearing in a Brooklyn production of A Gaiety Girl when Joseph, Jr. was born. He began performing at the age of 17 months as part of his parents' routine, wearing a specially tailored tuxedo.
When he was 14 months old, unknown to everyone, he crawled onstage wearing overalls and a little harmonica around his neck. He sneezed and his father, Joe Sr., grabbed him up, introducing him to the audience as Sonny Yule. He felt the spotlight on him and has described it as his mother's womb. From that moment on, the stage was his home.
His father was a womanizer and heavy drinker, leaving the family when Joe Jr. was only three. While Joe Sr. was traveling, Joe Jr. and his mother moved from Brooklyn, New York to Kansas City, Missouri to live with his aunt. While his mother was reading the entertainment newspaper, Nellie was interested in getting Hal Roach to approach the young star to participate in the Our Gang series in Hollywood. Roach offered $5 a day to Joe Jr. while the other young stars were paid five times more.
As he was getting bit parts in films; he was working with other established film stars such as Joel McCrea, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Jean Harlow. While selling newspapers around the corner, he also entered into Hollywood Professional School, where he went to school with dozens of unfamiliar students such as: Joseph A. Wapner, Nanette Fabray, Judy Garland, Lana Turner, among many others, and later Hollywood High School, where he graduated in 1938.
- Category Actor