In the fifth installment of Famous Brooklynites, we take a look at six different iconic celebrities: Mickey Rooney, RZA, Rita Hayworth, Steve Guttenberg, Rosie Perez, and Omar Epps. They were all born in Brooklyn and all went on to achieve stardom. (And one of these celebrities still calls Brooklyn home.)
Mickey Rooney was born as Joe Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920, in Greenpoint. He made his first stage appearance as a toddler in his parents’ vaudeville act. From 1927 to 1934, young Joe played Mickey McGuire in a popular series of comedy shorts, a role that would eventually give him the first name of his stage name. (His mother wanted him to call himself Mickey Looney.) Then, in 1937, Rooney played Andy Hardy in the first of 15 films featuring the character that would make him a superstar and pair him with a young Judy Garland. Mickey Rooney’s film career lasted for over 87 years, up to his death in April 2014.