Post-Holiday Pick-Up: Miss December 1972, Mercy Rooney (yee haw)

Miss November 1972 was “Lenna,” whose cropped centerfold, as you may recall, is just about one of the most famous pictures in the graphics design world. So you’d think Miss December would have a tough act to follow, and she might pale in comparison, right?

Here to prove you wrong is the lovely and talented Mercy Rooney (aka Merci Montello, aka Mercy Mee), a B-movie actress and rodeo queen who at 22 had already roped and released Mickey Rooney, Jr., the oldest son of Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney.


Photographed by Alexas Urba.

“Most people think of rodeo as man conquering beast — men riding bulls, roping calves, that kind of thing. That’s not it at all. Rodeo is actually man conquering his own body, being able to control it and make it work the way he wants it to. The real pros are very disciplined people; with discipline comes skill, and that’s what makes the whole thing a treat for fans. Riding rodeo is a beautiful, graceful art when a person’s really good at it.” (“Mercy, Mercy!” Playboy, December 1972)


“I liked being right down there with the dirt kicked in the air, flying in your face, and the animals lunging so close that you have to jump for a fence to get out of their way.”


Asked about the reaction when she appeared on the scene, Mahan says, “I recollect hearing quite a few ‘Good God A’mightys!’ And one of my friends said to me, ‘We gotta get her out of here. I can’t concentrate on my horse.'”

When she isn’t distracting rodeo performers, Mercy lives a busy life in Los Angeles, following a schedule that divides time between Bunnying at the L.A. Club and returning to an acting career that she had pursued after high school, then capriciously dropped for a couple of years. “I’m back in acting school and working hard at it. I guess I quit before because I just had too many things going.”

One of those “things” she “had going” was a marriage to Mickey Rooney, Jr. I cannot for the life of me find out the dates on that (I do not feel like doing a public records search for the sake of one simple blog entry), but I know that by 1986 he had married his second wife, Laura, with whom he now travels the country as a born-again Christian preacher. He gives lectures on the dangers of “Life in the Fast Lane.”

That is one ride I am glad she was not down to take, or we would never have this nature-themed, awesome Playboy spread. God made us naked and Jesus preached tolerance, Mr. Rooney. Duh. These days, Ms. Montello/Mee/Rooney has faded in to almost total obscurity which my cursory search of the internet cannot seem to uncloud. If you have info, shoot it my way, cause I love me some crazy eyes!

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3 Responses to “Post-Holiday Pick-Up: Miss December 1972, Mercy Rooney (yee haw)”

  1. PostHoliday-PickUp-Miss-December-1972-Mercy-Rooney-yee-haw : Sysmaya Says:

    […] https://thethoughtexperiment.wordpress.com/…-miss-december-1972-mercy-rooney-yee-haw/ […]

  2. Annette Says:

    Good points, I think I will definitely subscribe!🙂. I’ll go and read some more!

  3. Aitch Cee S Says:

    Where is she now?! A favorite of Peter Gowland tho. He did not shoot her centerfold.

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