We lost two great comedians this past weekend.
Mickey Rooney (1920-2014) worked in the entertainment industry for nearly 90 years! I’ll always remember him as the kind-hearted lighthouse owner who, along with his daughter, takes in a runaway orphan who just happens to have an invisible green dragon in the 1977 Disney film Pete’s Dragon. Rooney’s character, Lampie, was one of the few people in the film who saw the dragon, but no one would believe him because he was a fall-down drunk. Rooney brought genuine warmth to his character and sang in many of the film’s musical numbers. He was a versatile actor who had a long, full life.
John Pinette (1964 – 2014), unfortunately, died young at the age of 50 this weekend from a pulmonary embolism. Like fellow clean comedian Jim Gaffigan, John Pinette’s routine focused on his love of food, his struggles with dieting, and his aversion to exercise. His self-deprecating humor, talented singing voice, and tendency to “lose his cherub-like demeanor” on stage was a staple in his stand-up. He was one of the funniest comedians I have ever had the pleasure of seeing and will be sorely missed.
Check out some of Mickey Rooney’s movies (Night at the Museum) and John Pinette’s comedy routines (Still Hungry, I’m Starvin!) at the Gabriele Library today.