My jaw dropped when I read this Esquire piece about the Mickey Rooney, who recently died, on April 6, 2014. I had no idea about the Mortimer Mouse story.
This interview, never before published, took place on December 13, 2006.
It’s true. As a kid, I was shooting Mickey McGuire — from the cartoon that used to be in the newspapers. One day, we broke for lunch. My mother had given me 10 cents to buy a sandwich. As I was walking past some offices in the studio, I passed an open door. A man inside called me in and asked who I was. I explained that I was working on Mickey McGuire. He said: “Nice to meet you. I’m Walt Disney. Let me show you something.” He pointed to a picture of a mouse. I said: “That’s wonderful. What do you call him?”
He said: “Mortimer Mouse.” I looked over a lot of illustrations, and Walt said: “I’m glad you liked them, Mickey — ” Then he stopped. You could see a thought flash through his mind, and he said: “Would you mind if I named this mouse after you?” I said: “That’s fine, but right now I have to go get a cheese sandwich.”
Oh, you want to name the most famous cartoon character in the history of mankind after me? Sure, but I gotta go get a cheese sandwich. Incredible.