Academy Awards Acceptance Speeches | Margaret Herrick Library | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

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Year: 1982 (55th) Academy Awards

Category: Honorary Award

Winner: To Mickey Rooney, in recognition of his 60 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances.

Presenter: Bob Hope

Date & Venue: April 11, 1983; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the Academy, this is for sixty years of work, so they tell me. It's really only for six minutes of fun, of love and joy, of working with, playing with, like children, the people that we all are on the screen. I love every minute that God has given me to be an infinitesimal small part of this great business. Sixty years, gosh, I... Tonight for my being here, and the responsibility really belongs to somebody that I'd love to put my arms around, like Judy Garland, and Lewis Stone, Fay Holden, Spencer Tracy, Wallace Beery. Memories, I have a lot of memories, as we all do.

When I was nineteen years old I was the number one star of the world, for two years. When I was forty, nobody wanted me. I couldn't get a job. And then a professor from the University of Tennessee got a show together with Terry Allen Kramer and Harry Rigby called "Sugar Babies," and it resurrected my career. Last year God smiled upon me and I was given the Emmy for "Bill," and I won the Peabody Award and the Golden Globe, and tonight you honor me beyond anything that a man should be given. You honor me with the greatest and the highest tribute we can receive in our business.

My family all love you and they're all tingling inside because of this moment for me. I'd love to even kiss Louis B. Mayer. But it's, it's wonderful. The woman who put it all together was Ruth Webb, my agent, who picked up the pieces and put 'em back together. Mickey, Jr., Timmy, Teddy, Kelly, Kerry, Kyle, Kimmy Sue, Jimmy, Jonell, Chris and Mark, and my grandchildren, my grandchildren Shannon and Nika*. They're home tonight looking and saying, "That's Granddaddy up there, and he's got the Oscar." But the one that's responsible, outside of God, is my wife Jan, who kept saying to me for the last seven years, "I know you can do it, Mick. Get up off the canvas. You can do it." I want to thank you, one and all, for remembering me. Thank you for this glorious moment. God bless and good night.

[*Spelling not confirmed.]

© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]