Norman Lear almost cast Mickey Rooney as Archie Bunker in ‘All in the Family’

To read more Untold Stories, pick up the new issue of   Entertainment Weekly on stands or right here, right now. They’re gonna shoot you dead in the streets.’ Can never forget this speech. Mickey Rooney’s would-be role as Archie Bunker   is one of those famous “castings that almost happened,”   and   All in the Family creator Norman Lear will never forget the actor’s speech that made both parties   think twice. I called his manager and he said, ‘Well, Mickey’s in the office, he happens to be in the office. When Lear described the Archie character as a bigot, Rooney responded with an   unforgettable speech:   “‘Norm, they’re gonna kill you. I never met Mickey Rooney. Watch the interview above and head to PEOPLE.com/PEN for more from the   People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). You can also download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS, and Android devices. “In New York, I thought before I came out here and met Carroll [O’Connor], I thought about Mickey Rooney playing the role,” Lear tells   Black-ish creator Kenya Barris in the PEN interview above. ‘You wanna do something with the Mick, listen to this: Vietnam vet, short, blind, large dog… private eye.’”
Clearly, that didn’t work out, and Lear ended up casting Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker in   All in the Family. “I knew his manager. Why don’t you talk to him?’”
Lear continues to recall how Rooney spoke of himself “in the third person” over the phone and declared, “If you got something for the Mick, just tell ’em.”
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