Jackie Cooper passes
Jackie Cooper Dies
Jackie Cooper, who died on May 3 aged 88, was nominated for an Oscar at the age of nine and became one of Hollywood's brightest child stars,his fame rivalling that of Shirley Temple and Mickey Rooney in the 1930s.
He played young Jim Hawkins in the 1934 version of Treasure Island, and went on to a successful film and television career behind the camera,winning an Emmy award in 1974 for directing an episode of M*A*S*H.
Blond and blue-eyed, Jackie became a screen favourite in 15 of Hal Roach's Our Gang screen shorts, and by the time he was 12 Hollywood was hailing him the most gifted child star in film history.
But there were drawbacks: MGM banned him from roller-skating,
riding his bike or even crossing the street unescorted, in case he hurt himself.
The film business may have robbed him of a normal childhood and a formal education (he was taught by tutors during breaks in filming) but it did school him in the ways of the world.
When he was 13 he dated the teenage Judy Garland, and years later he revealed that at 17 he had enjoyed a six-month affair with the much older Joan Crawford.
Jackie Cooper was born John Cooperman Jr on September 15 1922 into a film family. His father was a studio production manager and his mother a stage pianist.
The director Norman Taurog was his mother's brother.
In 1931 Taurog secured his nephew a contract with MGM, casting him as the lead in Skippy,
based on a popular comic strip.
The film earned the nine-year-old Jackie enthusiastic reviews,
and an Oscar nomination as the youngest-ever actor in a lead role.
He next played Dink, the son of a washed-up boxer (Wallace Beery) in The Champ (1931). Dubbed "America's Boy" by audiences and directors alike,
he appeared alongside Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and Norma Shearer and became one of MGM's most bankable stars.
He played opposite Lois Wilson in Divorce in the Family (1931), and Mickey Rooney in Broadway to Hollywood (1933).
By 1939 he was starring in Streets of New York and What a Life!
He supported an all-star cast in Ziegfeld Girl (1941), and played Danny Cheston opposite Gale Storm and Patricia Morrison in Where Are Your Children? (1943).
Later that year Cooper left Hollywood to serve with the US Navy in the Second World War.
He was posted to the South Pacific, entertaining troops by playing drums in a band.
But by the time he returned he had lost his ranking as a juvenile lead.
Not as handsome as some of his contemporaries,
he was judged too short (at 5ft 6in) to be a serious leading man.
Cooper languished in B-films, including Time to Kill (1945), and Kilroy on Deck (1948) with Jackie Coogan, who had played the orphan in Chaplin's The Kid (1921).
In 1948 he moved to New York to reinvent himself as a stage actor.
Two years later he starred in the London production of the Broadway hit Mr Roberts with his second wife, Hildy Parks.
With his film career in decline Cooper seized the opportunities presented by the booming medium of television,working behind the camera as a producer and director.
He directed on series such as The Rockford Files and Quincy MD, as well as M*A*S*H.
In 1978 Cooper made a successful return to the big screen playing opposite Christopher Reeve as Superman. He reprised his role as Perry White, the irascible editor of the Daily Planet, in three follow-up Superman films in the 1980s.
He also surfaced in popular television shows, among them St Elsewhere, and Murder, She Wrote.
His farewell appearance was with Lloyd Bridges in the short-lived Capital News (1990),
and he retired as a director in 1995.
The title of Cooper's candid autobiography, Please Don't Shoot My Dog (1982), derived from Norman Taurog's threat to dispatch young Jackie's pet if he could not cry on cue while filming a scene in Skippy.
"Hollywood was pretty horrid from the outset," Cooper recalled.
"My uncle threatened to kill my dog, for Christ's sake! Hollywood was – and, I'm pretty sure, still is – no place for the faint-hearted."
He was thrice married, first to the actress June Horne, with whom he had a son, and secondly to the actress and writer Hildy Parks.
His third wife, Barbara Kraus, with whom he had a son and two daughters, died in 2009.
Jackie Cooper is survived by his two sons. Both daughters predeceased him.
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Wow did not know this...last movie I saw him in was one of the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve playing the part of Perry White...RIP Jackie
Tired of being a tackling dummy......