Actor Mickey Rooney hands affairs to conservator

Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:19pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles lawyer was given permanent control of 90-year-old actor Mickey Rooney's affairs on Friday after telling a judge that $400,000 of the Hollywood legend's money had gone from his bank accounts.

Rooney's stepson Christopher Aber also agreed to stay away from the actor and his home without the Los Angeles court extending a restraining order first obtained against him in February, Rooney's lawyer said after a hearing.

Aber, 52, the son of Rooney's eighth wife Jan, has denied any wrongdoing. Rooney had accused Aber and Aber's wife of bullying, intimidation and blocking information about his finances.

The former 1930 and 1940s child star, who performed in movies alongside Judy Garland and the late Elizabeth Taylor, also testified on elder abuse at a Washington Senate panel on aging earlier this month.

Attorney Michael Augustine said Rooney wanted the temporary conservatorship agreed in February to stay in place. In a sworn declaration to the court, Augustine said he went with Rooney to banks where the actor kept money, and found that $400,000 belonging to Rooney was missing.

Augustine said in court papers that Rooney is so financially strapped he frequently wears the same clothes and has only one pair of shoes. He stated that Rooney told him he was unable to buy his wife flowers on Valentine's Day because "I have no money."

Rooney's wife Jan supports the conservatorship. Her lawyer read from a document in which she described Rooney as "one of the remaining Hollywood legends" and said she hoped he would benefit by the conservatorship's "inherent checks and balances."

Rooney was the star of more than a dozen Andy Hardy movies during Hollywood's golden era and received a junior Oscar in 1938. He also appeared in the 2006 movie comedy "Night at the Museum."

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)