Mickey Rooney once loomed large over the entertainment industry.
The diminutive star was Hollywood’s biggest ticket-selling star from 1938 to 1940. His 88-year movie career remains a Tinsel Town record, his legendary status unquestioned.
In his final years, however, he was merely a statistic, another victim of elder abuse.
The news of Rooney’s treatment should not be a shock to anyone. The actor, who died last year at the age of 93, made some of those allegations himself. Now, The Hollywood Reporter is sharing unsettling and specific details of the star’s final years.
The legend “endured beatings, humiliation and poverty at the hands of his eighth wife and one of her sons.”
The magazine claims Rooney “endured beatings, humiliation and poverty at the hands of his eighth wife (Jan) and one of her sons,” citing several family members and those in the star’s inner circle in confirming the allegations. Rooney was left battered repeatedly, including in one incident that left him with a black eye and a missing tooth.
Jan Rooney admits the two got into occasional shoving fights, but denies the larger charges of elder abuse.
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The attacks also took on a financial perspective. The magazine describes a complex web of dubious associations and attempts to leverage Rooney’s fame and fortune that left the actor with just $18,000 at the time of his death.
Rooney wasn’t the only star whose final days were marked by family strife and serious health woes.
Radio legend Casey Kasem was the focus of a simmering family feud in his later years. The man behind “America’s Top 40” program endured serious bedsore issues and other medical complications on top of dealing with Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Dr. Paul Leitner accused wife Jean Kasem of mistreating her sick husband, penning a letter to the Elder Abuse Investigations department at the Office of Criminal Investigations in Santa Monica, California, according to People magazine. Leitner accused her of removing her husband’s feeding tube against the advice of doctors.
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Jean Kasem, his widow, with elder abuse crimes.