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The Eight Marriages of Mickey Rooney

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Mickey Rooney's Second Wife -- Betty Jane Rase Baker (1944-1949)
Mickey Rooney in 1944

Actor Mickey Rooney in his Army uniform with his mother on August 15, 1944, a month before he married Betty Jane Rase.

Photo: Pictorial Parade / Getty Images

Born:
Betty Jane Rase aka Betty Jane Phillips: May 6, 1927 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Died: 
Betty Jane: On April 2, 2002, at the age of 74, Betty Jane died of complications from a stroke in Rancho Mirage, California.

How Mickey and Betty Met:
When Mickey was stationed at Camp Sibert near Gadsden, Alabama, he met 17-year old Betty Jane, a beauty queen. They had a whirlwind courtship and a 7-day engagement.

Wedding Date:
Betty Jane and Mickey were married on September 30, 1944.

Mickey: "I'm a little hazy about the courtship. In fact, I was a little hazy during the courtship. I'd been drinking."
Source: Mickey Rooney. I.E.: An Autobiography. 1965. pg. 115.

Children:
Mickey and Betty Jane had two children together.

  • Mickey Rooney, Jr aka Joe Yule II: Born in 1945 in Birmingham, Alabama. More Info.
  • Timothy Hayes Yule aka Tim Rooney: Born in 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama. Tim died on September 23, 2006 in Hemet, California. More Info.

Divorce: 
Just four weeks after Timmy was born, Betty Jane announced in January 1947 that she was divorcing Mickey with charges of "mental cruelty." Their divorce became final in May 1949.

Alvin Marill: "Mickey came home from the war a sergeant ... [with] wartime memories. And a wife he almost didn't recognize. That's deadly. They really didn't have much more in common (except one kid, and later a second) than on the day they met back in Alabama in 1944."
Source: Alvin H. Marill. Mickey Rooney: His Films, Television Apparances, Radio Work, Stage Shows. and Recordings. 2005. pgs. 37-38.

Occupations:
Betty Jane: Actress, vocal contractor,  backup singer. Betty Jane was Miss Alabama in 1944 and was the 4th runner up in the 1944 Miss America Pageant.

Later Marriages:
Betty Jane later married composer Buddy Baker (1950-1957) and then jazz guitarist Barney Kessel (1961-1980). Both marriages ended in divorce.

Quotes About the Marriage of Betty Jane and Mickey Rooney:

Mickey: "... old-fashioned, male chauvinist pig solution: I kept Betty Jane home, barefoot and pregnant, literally."
Source: Mickey Rooney. Life is Too Short. 1992. pg. 201.

Mickey: Being an imperfect husband and knowing it, I decided we ought to have another child. I thought like so many (poor idiots) that children can help a bad marriage."
Source: Mickey Rooney. I.E.: An Autobiography 1965. pg. 159.

 

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