It seems like Hollywood was good at hiding the salacious details for years but it has finally surfaced.
Despite his reputation as Hollywood’s golden boy, a new book alleges that the late Mickey Rooney was anything but. According to True Confessions of a Shameless Gossip, a tell-all book from Australian journalist Craig Bennett, Rooney was incredibly “nasty” to his colleagues, particularly to women. Bennett’s book alleges that Rooney used to schedule “auditions” for young, aspiring actresses “for roles that didn’t exist” so often that he “almost wore out the casting couch,” a sexist practice in which actors, primarily women, are awarded parts in exchange for sexual favors. True Confessions goes on to reiterate a claim that the Breakfast at Tiffany’s star had an illicit affair with legend Elizabeth Taylor when she was just 14 and reveals that Rooney was unhappy with what he perceived to be her “lack of talent.”
According to the Daily Mail, which obtained a copy of True Confessions of a Shameless Gossip, Bennett’s book claims that Rooney’s “nice guy” reputation was a farce. Bennett reportedly spoke to multiple people close to the legendary actor, many of whom didn’t speak highly of Rooney. “In person, Mickey could be blisteringly bombastic. A former Hollywood PR friend of mine labeled Mickey as abrasive, nasty, curt, and rude,” writes Bennett. He goes on to recount multiple stories of Rooney setting up “auditions” with aspiring actresses “for roles that didn’t exist,” unbeknownst to the young women. “Mickey almost wore out the casting couch,” Bennett writes.
In 2015, Richard A. Lertzman and William J. Birnes’ biography The Life and Times of Mickey Rooney revealed that a then 24-year-old Rooney had an affair with Taylor when she was just 14. Bennett’s new book reiterates and expands upon that claim. According to the Daily Mail, Bennett writes that Rooney “was scathing about, as he put it, Elizabeth’s grand sense of entitlement and ‘lack of talent.'”
Before Rooney’s death in April 2014, he toured the United States as part of a one-man show. The veteran actor battled drug addiction all his life, and True Confessions claims that the tour was financially-driven. “Certainly it was clear he was doing the tell-all shows for money,” says Bennett.