Hollywood icon Mickey Rooney, long identified with the movie Boys Town that made him a hometown favorite, died on Sunday at the age of 93.
The impact of the actor’s work is still being felt in Omaha decades later.
Rooney won a special Oscar for his role in the 1939 film that almost never made it to the screen.
Boy’s Town’s Thomas Lynch said, “Louis B. Mayer, who owned the movie studio, felt there was no love interest so he said no one will want to see the movie."
But two major stars in the film, Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, felt so personally connected to the work that they begged for its release.
Lynch said, “His impact was that a lot of people here felt he was one of the boys. Even though he was just an actor that came to film the movie here, he became part of the Boys Town family."
In a 1991 return visit hosted by Boys Town alumni, Rooney was named Mayor for Life.
The public is welcome to view the exhibit dedicated to both Boy Town and the men of Boys Town films, inside the Hall of History on the Boys Town campus.