April 07, 2014 6:53am PT by Ashley Lee
Billy Crystal on Mickey Rooney: 'Five Feet Tall, and Everybody Looked Up to Him' (Video)
While Billy Crystal was on Today on Monday morning to chat about his one-man Broadway show, 700 Sundays, he took a moment to pay tribute to legendary actor Mickey Rooney, whose death was confirmed on Sunday. He was 93.
"I did one of his last personal appearances at the 50th anniversary of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I hosted an evening at the Academy with the surviving members of the cast. The late Jonathan Winters was there too. It was, I think, John's last appearance."
Crystal told Today that he was a big fan of Rooney, who starred as Andy Hardy, America's boy next door, in 16 films for MGM, among his many roles throughout his nine-decade career.
"Mickey, first of all, was one of the most talented actors ever in the history of movies. He was the number one box office champ, I believe, seven years in a row. He could sing great, tap dance great, he did Shakespeare, he was a phenomenal talent. We brought him out onstage -- he was in a wheelchair -- and he got out of the chair and did a time-step for about a minute. Brought the house down. And Jonathan said to him, 'Don't do that again or you'll die!' "
Crystal concluded, "He was a tremendous talent -- someone who was five feet tall, and everybody looked up to him."
Watch the clip below: