He passed away peacefully on Sunday afternoon at the North Hollywood home he shared with son Mark Rooney and daughter-in-law Charlene.
Mickey spent almost his entire life in show business, and had more than 340 acting credits to his name. He was 18 months old when he started his career in the spotlight as part of his parents' vaudeville act, and was barely six years old when he had his first film role.
The pint-sized star was perhaps best known for playing all-American teen Andy Hardy. It was a role he started in 1937 when he was 17, and just two years later he was established as the film industry’s top box office draw.
He starred alongside Judy Garland in the 1939 musical Babes in Arms, and with Elizabeth Taylor in 1944’s National Velvet, the film which launched the actress’ career.
In a career spanning nine decades, Mickey was nominated for four Academy Awards and received two special Oscars. Sir Lawrence Olivier once referred to him as the greatest film actor America ever produced.
True to his motto to “never retire but inspire”, he continued to work in film, television and theatre well into his 80s. He had only recently returned from Vancouver, where he had worked on the upcoming comedy Night at the Museum 3.
Mickey was married eight times - the first and most famous of his wives was screen beauty Ava Gardner. Asked if he would marry all of his eight wives again, he replied, “Absolutely. I loved every one of them.” He is survived by his wife Jan and nine children.