Fight over Mickey Rooney’s remains averted

Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney

LOS ANGELES — Mickey Rooney’s wife has agreed to drop a legal claim over her husband’s remains, according to Rooney conservator Michael Augustine.

Rooney will be buried at Hollywood Forever cemetery following a private family service, Augustine said, instead of another cemetery plot he bought years ago before splitting with his wife. Hollywood Forever is the final resting place of Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille and a long list of show biz A-listers.

A date for the funeral will be decided next week, Augustine said. Augustine said he’ll approach studio leaders about holding another memorial service the public can attend.

The agreement between Jan Rooney and Augustine, reached just before a court hearing on the dispute Friday, also bans Rooney’s estranged stepson Chris Aber from attending the service.

Rooney died Sunday of natural causes at age 93.

While Rooney disinherited his children, his wife and all but one of her children in a will he signed just weeks before his death, court papers suggest there is not much in his estate to fight over. His personal property is valued at just $18,000 despite an unmatched 90-year film career.

Augustine had said in a court filing that he believed Rooney’s estranged wife, Jan Rooney, and her son, Christopher Aber, would attempt to remove Rooney’s body from Forest Lawn Memorial Park’s mortuary.

A Los Angeles judge signed a handwritten order Tuesday preventing anyone from removing Rooney’s remains until Friday’s hearing. Augustine, who is named as estate executor in the will, asked for that authority.

Jan Rooney signed an agreement waiving all claims to her husband’s estate after the couple separated in June 2012 after 34 years of marriage, according to a court filing. She will benefit from Rooney’s Social Security and other pensions totaling $8,400 a month, Augustine said.

The will signed by Rooney on March 11, 2014, left the entire estate to stepson Mark Rooney, one of Jan Rooney’s sons, who was the actor’s caretaker the last two years of his life.

Rooney had no negative feelings toward his surviving children, but they were all financially better off than he was, Augustine said. He believed what little he had to leave should go to Mark Rooney and his wife, because they had been taking good care of him in the final two years, Augustine said.

Augustine acknowledged hearing “grumbling” from Rooney’s family members about being left out of the estate but said none of the others “ever changed one of Mickey’s Depends (adult undergarments).”

A probate hearing is scheduled for May 12 to start the process of probating the actor’s will.