Born Joseph Yule, Jr., in Brooklyn, N.Y., Rooney began performing as a baby in his parents' vaudeville act and moved to Hollywood with his mother in 1925 after his parents divorced.
Rooney served in the military in World War II and received a Bronze Star Medal for entertaining troops in combat zones.
Some of Rooney's more notable film credits include It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Black Stallion and Breakfast at Tiffany's, in which he played stereotypical Asian character I.Y. Yunioshi. His more recent credits include The Muppets and Night at the Museum.
At the time of his death, Rooney was working on the film The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and had completed scenes for Night at the Museum 3 last month, according to director Shawn Levy. "Had the honor of shooting w MickeyRooney on NATM3 just last month. A legend, obviously, but something more: grateful, gracious,vital &warm," Levy tweeted Sunday.
A four-time Oscar nominee, Rooney remains the second and third youngest Best Actor nominee at 19 and 23 for his respective performances in Babes in Arms (1939) and The Human Comedy (1943). He was also nominated for his supporting turns in The Bold and the Brave (1956) and The Black Stallion (1979). He was awarded a Juvenile Oscar in 1939 for his performance opposite Spencer Tracy in Boys Town and an Honorary Oscar in 1983. Other awards include two Golden Globes and an Emmy for playing a mentally handicapped man in 1981's Bill.
Rooney was married eight times, including to Ava Gardner in the early 1940s. He is survived by his estranged wife Jan, as well as nine children, 19 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.