(Corrects paragraph 10 to show $8,400 a month reflects Social
Security and pension benefits, not just Social Security)
By Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES, April 9 The estranged wife of actor
Mickey Rooney and his estate are locked in a legal tussle over
the remains of the late Hollywood movie star, who left an estate
of only $18,000, according to court documents.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Steele will
decide at a hearing on Friday whether Rooney's remains will be
released from an area mortuary to his wife, Janice Rooney, or to
The versatile character actor, who was one of Hollywood's
biggest stars in the 1930s, died at age 93 on Sunday from
natural causes. He disinherited his wife and all his children in
a will dated March 11, leaving his estate to stepson Mark
Rooney, who with his wife served as Rooney's caregiver.
Rooney's conservator, Michael Augustine, was granted a court
order on Tuesday stopping Janice Rooney from removing the
actor's remains from a mortuary in Glendale, California.
Augustine said Rooney wanted to be buried at Los Angeles'
Hollywood Forever cemetery, where many Hollywood actors are
buried, or at a cemetery for U.S. veterans. Rooney served in the
military as an entertainer during World War Two.
He also has a burial plot in Westlake Village, California.
"We think we'll be able to cut a deal, a deal being between
me and her," Augustine said.
An attorney for Janice Rooney was not immediately available
Rooney wed eight times, including a marriage to actress Ava
Gardner. In 2011 he testified before a U.S. Senate committee
that he had been emotionally and financially abused by family
members, sapping much of his savings.
Rooney and his last wife did not live together after 2012.
She will receive his Social Security and some of his pension
benefits, which will total about $8,400 a month, Augustine said.
Rooney earns about $20,000 to $25,000 per year on residuals
from his later film work, Augustine said.
The actor was one of the last living links to Hollywood's
silent era, and did not earn residuals from early classics like
1944's "National Velvet."
"He gets more money from the 'Care Bears' than he does from
that," Augustine said, referring to the 1985 animated film in
which Rooney voiced the character of Mr. Cherrywood.
In 2011, Rooney sued stepson Christopher Aber and his wife,
alleging elder abuse and mismanagement of his funds. Augustine
said the couple agreed to a settlement worth millions with
Rooney, but the actor's estate has been unable to collect
because of Aber's financial troubles.
Rooney is survived by eight children and two stepsons. His
son Timothy Rooney died in 2006.
Augustine said Rooney's funeral is expected to be small and
attended by family with a larger public tribute planned later.
Rooney starred in the "Andy Hardy" movies as a teen during
the Great Depression and acted alongside Judy Garland and later
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Prudence Crowther)