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Monday, April 7, 2014

Mickey Rooney: Chronicle's Odd, Appropriate Obituary Photo

Posted By on Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 9:59 AM


Mickey Rooney was an actor famous for being young before he was famous for being old. He was famous for epitomizing an era when it was perfectly acceptable to cast a Caucasian actor to portray a fiendish Asian stereotype. And he was certainly famous for keeping pace with Elizabeth Taylor in the marriage department (eight betrothals but, unlike Liz, who wed Richard Burton twice, Rooney enjoyed the full eight spouses). 

Through it all, Rooney -- who died yesterday at age 93 -- was famous for his diminutive stature. For generations, Rooney was converted into an adjective to describe a man of short stature. 

So, the obit photo featured this morning on SFGate may be odd. But it's hardly inappropriate. 

This image of the 5-foot-3 (he said) Rooney is, in fact, far more apropos than the photo accompanying the obituary of Patrick McGoohan in the Chron and many other periodicals back in 2009. 

The actor, who died of natural causes at 80, was depicted in a snapshot in which a gun was being held to his head. Our local paper, in this case, wasn't the worst offender. In France's Le Monde, the gun-to-the-head McGoohan photo appeared under the text "A ne pas manquer.

This translates as "do not miss."


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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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