U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Mickey Rooney

2012 Special Courage Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Mickey Rooney | Special Courage Award
Alhambra, California

Mickey Rooney is a legendary Hollywood icon whose image is a nostalgic childhood memory for older Americans. His incomparable stamina and talent have contributed to one of the most extraordinary careers in cinema history. Over eight decades, Mr. Rooney received the Lifetime Achievement Award, a Golden Globe, an Emmy Award, and a Peabody Award, as well as four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Mr. Rooney also was awarded a Bronze Star for his service during World War II. 

On March 2, 2011, the esteemed actor summoned his strength and determination, and testified before the Justice For All: Ending Elder Abuse, Neglect and Financial Exploitation hearing in the United States Senate. He spoke about his own emotional, verbal, and financial abuse at the hands of a close relative. It took great courage for this proud 90-year-old man to admit what he had suffered. He testified that he felt “…trapped, scared, used, and frustrated.” His abusers made him go hungry, withheld his medications, and made him feel helpless. He suffered silently for years but knew he needed to speak out about his ordeal. 

Mr. Rooney’s courage in testifying before the Senate and the Nation’s television cameras brought a new level of public awareness to the issue of elder abuse. He said, “To those seniors and especially elderly veterans like myself . . . You are not alone and you have nothing to be ashamed of. If elder abuse happened to me, it can happen to anyone. I want you to know that you deserve better.”