Despite battling career setbacks and troubles in his personal and financial life, Rooney never seemed to lose the irrepressible spirit that made him famous. Though a small person physically, Rooney's talent loomed large. He sang and danced; took on both comedic and dramatic roles; and wrote memoirs, a novel, plays and movie scripts. One of the last survivors from the glamorous "old Hollywood" era, Rooney never lost his zest for life or his love of performing. In a 2008 interview with the Associated Press, in his late '80s, Rooney said, "Don't retire—inspire. There's a lot to be done."