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Last Updated: Friday, 15 June 2007, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Actor Rooney to make panto debut
Mickey Rooney and wife Jan
Rooney and his wife Jan will appear in the pantomime
Legendary Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney is to make his pantomime debut at a theatre on Wearside later this year.

The 86-year-old veteran performer will play Baron Hardup in the Sunderland Empire's production of Cinderella.

Mr Rooney, who has worked with many of Hollywood's greats, including Judy Garland, will be joined by comedian Les Dennis and pop star Michelle Heaton.

Mr Rooney's wife Jan will also be among the cast of the pantomime, which is due to run from 8 December until 6 January.

Theatre general manager Paul Ryan, said: "As we return to our traditional pantomime roots for our 100th birthday, we are thrilled to be bringing a Hollywood legend to the North East.

'Amazing career'

At the age of 86, I think he is definitely our oldest pantomime debutante
Keith Wood, First Family Entertainment

"To secure a global superstar such as Mickey Rooney is a magnificent accolade for both the theatre and the region and upholds our reputation for bringing the best Christmas shows to the North East."

Kevin Wood, chief executive of production company First Family Entertainment, added: "We are absolutely delighted to have signed such a legendary star.

"Mickey has had an amazing career and has achieved more than most actors we have ever worked with and yet he has still managed to add another string to his bow.

"At the age of 86, I think he is definitely our oldest pantomime debutante."

Mr Rooney made his name in more than 200 films including Babes In Arms, Boys Town, the hit Andy Hardy series and most recently A Night At The Museum with Ben Stiller, Robin Williams and Ricky Gervais.

He earned an honorary Oscar in 1982 for lifetime achievement and a special juvenile Oscar shared with Deana Durbin in 1939.




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