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Overview (3)

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (homicide)
Birth NameBarbara Ann Thomason

Mini Bio (1)

Carolyn Mitchell was born Barbara Ann Thomason on January 25, 1937 in Phoenix, Arizona, to Don and Helen Thomason. While attending Emerson Elementary School in Phoenix, she became known as the prettiest girl in Phoenix. Her family moved to Inglewood, California in 1951, a part of Los Angeles, a mecca for beautiful and ambitious young woman desiring to be spotted.

While attending Inglewood's Morningside High School, she began entering beauty pageants, and in October 1953, her dreams came true when she was crowned "Miss Venus." In 1954, she began attending the Hollywood Professional School, where she started using weights to tone her figure to better compete in beauty pageants. In 1954, she was crowned "Queen of the Championships of Southern California." Later that year, she won the "Miss Muscle Beach" and "Miss Surf Festival" titles.

In 1955, she had the honor of being named "Miss Huntington Beach," followed by the "Miss Van Ness," "Miss Bay Beach," "Miss Southwest Los Angeles," "Miss Pacific Coast," and "Queen of Southern California" titles. After graduating from school, she became a dance instructor for Arthur Murray. As "Tara Thomas," she became a model, appearing in "Modern Man" in December 1957.

Early in 1958, Fate intervened in the guise of car salesman Bill Gardner, who introduced her to Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney at a nightclub. The smitten Rooney, hot again after winning the third of his four Oscar nominations the year before (for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for "The Bold and the Brave") and appearing in a box office hit as the eponymous lead in 'Don Siegel's "Baby Face Nelson" (1957), bought her a $4,500 fur coat. On April 12th, 1958, she reportedly took an overdose of sleeping pills. The day after the incident, she told the press that the Mick tried to resuscitate her by pushing her into his swimming pool. The incident later was revealed to be a publicity stunt. By June, Mickey had separated from his fourth wife, actress Elaine Devry, and bought a new house in Sherman Oaks which she moved into to play house with the diminutive movie star.

Before becoming the fifth Mrs. Mickey Rooney, Thomason made two low-budget, indie features, including "Cry Baby Killer" (1958) with future superstar Jack Nicholson. Thomason and Mickey were secretly married in Mexico on December 1, 1958. In March of 1959, the three-months-pregnant Thomason threatened to commit suicide if Rooney didn't get a divorce and marry her, though Mickey tried to convince here that they were already married. On September 13, 1959, Barbara Ann Thomason Rooney gave birth to a daughter, Kelly Ann, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica. Rooney announced he had wed Thomason in a Mexican ceremony. Later that year, she appeared in the November 1959 issue of "Gala" magazine.

Due to the dubious nature of their Mexican marriage, Mickey remarried Thomason in 1960, with the Reverend Douglas Smith presiding at his Los Angeles church, making their marriage legal. Their second daughter, Kerry Yule, was born on December 30, 1960. They would have two more children, a son Michael Joseph, born on April 2, 1962, and a third daughter, Kimmy Sue, born four years to the day after their first, on September 13, 1963 by cesarean section.

In August 1963, the heavily pregnant Barbara accompanied Mickey to Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, for the filming of "The Secret Invasion." According to his second autobiography, Mickey had been cheating on her, and on July 4th, 1964, Mickey had met a stripper and movie extra in Atlantic City. In late August, his new girlfriend created a row when Barbara Ann accompanied Mickey to the set for the filming of his television series, "Mickey." After the incident, Barbara had a massive fight with Mickey, and in September '64, they both were in contact with divorce attorneys. However, they didn't divorce but decided to move out of Beverly Hills. They sold their Beverly Hills home and moved into a Brentwood house they bought relatively cheap for only $65,000 as both of the previous two occupants had died at the house in freak accidents. It would prove equally unlucky for Barbara.

After becoming friendly with French actor Alain Delon, who was in Los Angeles in the Fall of 1964 to try to make a go at Hollywood. It was Delon who introduced Mickey and Barbara to his stand-in Milos Milosevics, a 24-year-old Yugoslavian actor Delon has brought with him from Paris. Mickey had to go on location to the Philippines to film a picture, and he made the fatal mistake of asking his new friend Milosevics to look after his his wife. Milosevics agreed. With the cat away, the mice did play. Barbara reportedly took Milosevics as a lover to get back at Mickey for his philandering.

While Mickey was in the Philippines, Barbara Ann accompanied her new lover Milosevics to northern California, to the location shoot of "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming," in which he has a bit part. They were still having an affair when Mickey returned and moved out of the Brentwood house after finding out. The couple filed for an official separation on December 1965, after which Milosevics moved into the Brentwood house to live with Barbara and her four children by Mickey.

After learning she was planning to file a lawsuit for separate maintenance, Mickey filed for divorce on January 19, 1966, citing mental cruelty. In his suit, Mickey asked the court for a restraining order to keep Milosevics out of the Brentwood house. Barabra began to panic when she learned that she might lose her children in a custody battle due to her adultery. On his part, Milosevics became jealous when he realized she was considering returning to Mickey. He was even more incensed when he heard a tape recording of a conversation between Barbara and Mickey, discussing the divorce suit. On the tape, made by a private detective on January 20, 1966 with the help of Barbara and Milosevics, she tells Mickey that she will not see Milosevics again, even as a friend. Afterwards, Mickey checked in to the hospital for treatment of an exotic blood disease he has picked up on location.

That night, she went out with Milosevics and her friend Margie Lane for dinner at the Daisy on Rodeo Drive. They returned to Brentwood and bid her friend goodnight at 8:30 p.m. Three of the children were at home; three-year-old Kimmy Sue was visiting her grandparents in Inglewood. The following day, her friend Wilma Catania and the maid forced open the locked door of the master bedroom with a screwdriver. In the bathroom, they found the bodies of Barbara and Milosevics. She was lying on her back, shot through the jaw, Milosevics beside her, face down, a bullet hole in his temple. Milosevic had shot Barbara with Mickey's chrome-plated .38 caliber revolver, then turned the weapon on himself. When Mickey learned about the murder-suicide, he went into shock and is forced to stay another day in the hospital.

Barabra Ann Thomason's funeral services and interment were held at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale on February 5, 1966, with Reverend Douglas Smith, the minister who had married her and Mickey in 1960, presiding. Barbara's four children were put into the custody of their grandparents in Inglewood.

In his autobiography, Mickey said of the murder-suicide,"I died when she did. I am furious at what happened to her." On the rebound, Mickey married Barbara's close friend Marge Lane. That marriage failed after 100 days.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (1)

Mickey Rooney (1 December 1958 - 31 January 1966) ( her death) ( 4 children)

Trivia (1)

Mother of Kimmy Sue Rooney, Kerry Yule Rooney, Kelly Ann Rooney and Michael Joseph Kyle Rooney, from her marriage to Mickey Rooney.

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