"He seemed terrific," says Dick Van Patten, who spent the day with Rooney and Mel Brooks

Credit: Benoit Photo

An acting thoroughbred himself through a career spanning more than 150 films, Mickey Rooney loved to hit the racetrack at Santa Anita Park to bet on the horses.

It was there that he posed for one of his last photographs, with fellow entertainment icons Dick Van Patten, 85, and Mel Brooks, 87, for a snapshot taken March 30.

It’s classic Mickey – he’s grinning broadly, clearly thrilled to be soaking up another spring Sunday in California with old friends who, as octogenarians, could have been his younger brothers.

“Mickey was fine. He seemed terrific. But I guess when you’re 93 ” Van Patten told PEOPLE of Rooney, who died Sunday.

Van Patten also reflected on Rooney’s marvelous career and his broad array of talents. “He was my idol,” said the Eight Is Enough star. “He could do everything. He was a wonderful actor. He could sing. He could dance. He could play instruments. Unbelievable.”

A Tribute to Mickey Rooney