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Friday, 26 November, 1999, 10:57 GMT
Rooney has emergency surgery
Mickey Rooney pictured earlier this year

Veteran entertainer Mickey Rooney has cancelled the remaining dates of his Australian tour, after undergoing emergency surgery in Sydney.

A spokeswoman for the 79-year-old told Australia's ABC radio he was being treated for a minor colon perforation.

He had planned to perform in Sydney on Friday and at a show in Queensland on Saturday. The spokeswoman added Rooney was expected to be in hospital for just a short time.

Pint-sized Rooney is one of Hollywood's most enduring stars.

Born into an acting family in 1920, he made his stage debut aged just 15 months.

He went on to star in more than 50 silent comedies playing a comic-strip character, before signing to MGM in 1934. By 1939 he was America's most popular star.

However, his career went into decline from the late 1940s and in 1962 he filed for bankruptcy.

Acting honours

He kept performing, though, and in 1979 he was nominated for an Oscar for his role in The Black Stallion.

The following year he won a Tony for Sugar Babies and in 1982 he received an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Bill - a US TV drama in which he played a retarded man.

Having won a special miniature Oscar in 1940, he was finally handed the full-sized version in 1983, for lifetime achievement.

Married eight times - most famously to Ava Gardner from 1942-3 - he has been with current spouse January Chamberlin since 1978.

He once said of his ex-wives: "I played the hand dealt me the way I was supposed to. I was friendly with most of my ex-wives. My God, there's a Mickey Rooney's Former Wives Marching Band!"
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25 Aug 99 |  Entertainment
Rooney backs 'crush' video ban

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