John Cooper Jr.
September 15, 1922
|Died||May 3, 2011 88) (aged|
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
(m. 1944;div. 1949)
(m. 1950;div. 1951)
Barbara Rae Kraus
(m. 1954;died 2009)
John Cooper Jr. (September 15, 1922 – May 3, 2011) was an American actor, television director, producer, and executive, known universally as Jackie Cooper. He was a child actor who made the transition to an adult career. Cooper was the first child actor to receive an Oscar nomination.Aged nine, he remains the youngest performer ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, an honor that he received for the film Skippy (1931). For nearly 50 years, Cooper remained the youngest Oscar nominee in any category.
John Cooper Jr.was born in Los Angeles, California. Cooper's father, John Cooper, left the family when Jackie was two years old. His mother, Mabel Leonard Bigelow (née Polito), was a stage pianist. Cooper's maternal uncle, Jack Leonard, was a screenwriter and his maternal aunt, Julie Leonard, was an actress married to director Norman Taurog. Cooper's stepfather was C.J. Bigelow, a studio production manager. His mother was Italian American (her family's surname was changed from "Polito" to "Leonard"); Cooper was told by his family that his father was Jewish. The two never reunited after he had left the family.
Cooper first appeared in films as an extra with his grandmother, who took him to her auditions hoping it would help her get extra work. At age three, Jackie appeared in Lloyd Hamilton comedies under the name of "Leonard".
Cooper graduated to bit parts in feature films such as Fox Movietone Follies of 1929 and Sunny Side Up . His director in those films, David Butler, recommended Cooper to director Leo McCarey, who arranged an audition for the Our Gang comedy series produced by Hal Roach. In 1929, Cooper signed a three-year contract after joining the series in the short Boxing Gloves . He initially was to be a supporting character in the series, but by early 1930 his success in transitioning to sound films enabled him to become one of Our Gang 's major characters. He was the main character in the episodes The First Seven Years and When the Wind Blows . His most notable Our Gang shorts explore his crush on Miss Crabtree, the schoolteacher played by June Marlowe. His Our Gang shorts included Teacher's Pet , School's Out , and Love Business .
While under contract to Hal Roach Studios, in 1931 Cooper was loaned to Paramount to star in Skippy, directed by his uncle, Norman Taurog. At age nine, Cooper was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, the youngest actor to be nominated for an Oscar in that category. Although Paramount paid Roach $25,000 for Cooper's services, Roach paid Cooper a standard salary of $50 per week.
Our Gang producer Hal Roach sold Jackie's contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1931. Cooper acted with Wallace Beery in The Champ (1931—Beery's Oscar-winning role); a wittily comedic romp titled The Bowery (1933) with George Raft, Fay Wray and Pert Kelton; Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (1934) with Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone and Nigel Bruce; and a father-son circus story about a one-armed animal trainer titled O'Shaughnessy's Boy (1935). In his autobiography, Cooper wrote that Beery was a disappointment and accused Beery of upstaging him and attempting to undermine his performances out of jealousy.
Cooper played the title role in the first two Henry Aldrich films, What a Life (1939) and Life with Henry (1941).
Cooper served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, remaining in the reserves until 1982, retiring at the rank of captain and receiving the Legion of Merit.He starred in two television sitcoms, NBC's The People's Choice with Patricia Breslin and CBS's Hennesey with Abby Dalton. In 1954, he guest-starred on the NBC legal drama Justice . He appeared on ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom , guest-starred with Tennessee Ernie Ford on NBC's The Ford Show as America's Uranium King, and as Charles A. Steen in "I Found 60 Million Dollars" on the Armstrong Circle Theatre .
In 1950, Cooper was cast in a production of Mr. Roberts in Boston, Massachusetts in the role of Ensign Pulver. From 1964 to 1969, Cooper was vice president of program development at Columbia Pictures Screen Gems TV division. He was responsible for packaging series such as Bewitched and selling them to the networks. In 1964, Cooper appeared in Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone episode "Caesar and Me", and in 1968 a made-for-television film Shadow on the Land.
Cooper left Columbia in 1969. He appeared in the fourth season of Hawaii Five-O in an episode called The Burning Ice . Cooper appeared in Candidate for Crime starring Peter Falk as Columbo in 1973, and in the 1975 ABC series Mobile One, a Jack Webb/Mark VII Limited production. He guest-starred in a 1978 two-part episode of The Rockford Files: The House on Willis Avenue . Cooper's work as director on episodes of M*A*S*H and The White Shadow earned him Emmy awards.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Cooper appeared as Daily Planet editor Perry White in the Superman film series, a role he got after Keenan Wynn, who was originally cast as White, became unavailable after suffering a heart attack.
Cooper's final film role was as Ace Morgan in the 1987 film Surrender , starring Sally Field, Michael Caine, and Steve Guttenberg.
Cooper served in the United States Navy during World War II and remained active in the Naval Reserve for the next several decades, reaching the rank of captain.He was married to June Horne from 1944 until 1949, with whom he had a son, John "Jack" Cooper, III, who was born in 1946. June was the daughter of director James W. Horne and actress Cleo Ridgely. Cooper was married to Hildy Parks from 1950 until 1951, and to Barbara Rae Kraus from 1954 until her death in 2009. Cooper and Kraus had three children, Russell, born in 1956, Julie, born in 1957, and Cristina, born in 1959. Julie and Cristina died in 1997 and 2009, respectively.
Cooper participated in several automobile racing events, including the record-breaking class D cars at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. He drove in several SCCA road racing competitions. Cooper was named the honorary starter for the 1976 Winston 500 at the Alabama International Motor Speedway, which is now known as Talladega Superspeedway, in Talladega, Alabama.
Cooper's autobiography, Please Don't Shoot My Dog, was published in 1982. The title refers to an incident during the filming of Skippy, when Norman Taurog, who was the director, needed Cooper to cry a number of times on camera. To accomplish that, Taurog used various tricks intended to upset Cooper. For example, one time Taurog ordered a security guard to go backstage and pretend to shoot Cooper's dog. The stunt resulted in genuine tears; Cooper afterwards discovered his dog was in fact fine. Later that same day, his mother came to the set, and showed Cooper a better way for an actor to experience emotions in the scene–by studying the script, and empathizing with the character he was portraying.
Cooper announced his retirement in 1989, although he continued directing episodes of the syndicated series Superboy . He began spending more time training and racing horses at Hollywood Park and outside San Diego during the Del Mar racing season. Cooper lived in Beverly Hills from 1955 until his death.
For his contributions to the motion picture industry, Cooper was honored with a Hollywood Walk of Fame star located at 1507 Vine Street.
Cooper died on May 3, 2011, of natural causes, in Santa Monica, California. He was survived by his two sons. He outlived both his daughters and wife, Barbara Rae Kraus.He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, in honor of his naval service.
|1929||Fox Movietone Follies of 1929||Little Boy||Uncredited|
|1929||Sunny Side Up||Jerry McGinnis||Uncredited|
|1931||Skippy||Skippy||Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor|
|1931||Young Donovan's Kid||Midge Murray|
|1931||The Champ||Dink Purcell|
|1932||When a Feller Needs a Friend||Edward Haverford 'Eddie' Randall|
|1932||Divorce in the Family||Terry Parker|
|1933||Broadway to Hollywood||Ted Hackett Jr.|
|1933||The Bowery||Swipes McGurk|
|1933||Lone Cowboy||Scooter O'Neal|
|1934||Treasure Island||Jim Hawkins|
|1934||Peck's Bad Boy||Bill Peck|
|1935||O'Shaughnessy's Boy||Joseph 'Stubby' O'Shaughnessy|
|1936||Tough Guy||Frederick Martindale 'Freddie' Vincent, III|
|1936||The Devil Is a Sissy||'Buck' Murphy|
|1937||Boy of the Streets||Chuck Brennan|
|1938||White Banners||Peter Trimble|
|1938||That Certain Age||Kenneth 'Ken' Warren|
|1938||Gangster's Boy||Larry Kelly|
|1938||Newsboys' Home||Rifle Edwards|
|1939||Scouts to the Rescue||Bruce Scott|
|1939||The Spirit of Culver||Tom Allen|
|1939||Streets of New York||James Michael 'Jimmy' Keenan|
|1939||Two Bright Boys||Rory O'Donnell|
|1939||What a Life||Henry Aldrich|
|1939||The Big Guy||Jimmy Hutchins|
|1940||Seventeen||William Sylvanus Baxter|
|1940||The Return of Frank James||Clem|
|1940||Life with Henry||Henry Aldrich|
|1940||Gallant Sons||Byron 'By' Newbold|
|1941||Ziegfeld Girl||Jerry Regan|
|1941||Her First Beau||Chuck Harris|
|1941||Glamour Boy||Tiny Barlow|
|1942||Men of Texas||Robert Houston Scott|
|1942||The Navy Comes Through||Joe 'Babe' Duttson|
|1943||Where Are Your Children?||Danny Cheston|
|1947||Stork Bites Man||Ernest (Ernie) C. Brown|
|1947||Kilroy Was Here||John J. Kilroy|
|1948||French Leave||Skitch Kilroy|
|1959||Hennesey||Lt. Charles 'Chick' Hennesey, MD||Television Series 1959 to 1962|
|1961||Everything's Ducky||Lt. J.S. Parmell|
|1964||Calhoun: County Agent||Everett Calhoun||Television film|
|1968||Shadow on the Land||Lt. Col. Andy Davis||Television film|
|1971||The Love Machine||Danton Miller|
|1971||Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring||Ed Miller||Television film|
|1972||The Astronaut||Kurt Anderson||Television film|
|1972||Stand Up and Be Counted||Doctor||Uncredited, Also director|
|1973||Columbo , ('Candidate for Crime', episode)||Nelson Hayward||Television series|
|1973||The F.B.I.(S9E3)||Harlan Slade||Television series|
|1973||Of Men and Women||Ted||Television film|
|1974||Chosen Survivors||Raymond Couzins|
|1974||The Day the Earth Moved||Steve Barker||Television film|
|1975||Journey into Fear||Eric Hurst|
|1978||Having Babies III||Director|
|1979||Sex and the Single Parent||Director|
|1980||Superman II||Perry White|
|1981||Leave 'em Laughing||Director|
|1982||Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney Story||Director|
|1983||Superman III||Perry White|
|1984||The Night They Saved Christmas||Director|
|1985||Izzy & Moe||Director|
|1986||Murder, She Wrote||Carl Schulman / Neil Fletcher|
|1987||Superman IV: The Quest for Peace||Perry White|
|1987||Surrender||Ace Morgan||(final film role)|
Skippy is a 1931 American pre-Code comedy film about the scrappy boy portrayed in the popular comic strip and novel Skippy by Percy Crosby. The screenplay was by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Don Marquis, Norman Z. McLeod, and Sam Mintz.
The Champ is a 1931 American pre-Code film starring Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper and directed by King Vidor from a screenplay by Frances Marion, Leonard Praskins and Wanda Tuchock. The picture tells the story of a washed-up alcoholic boxer (Beery) attempting to put his life back together for the sake of his young son (Cooper).
George McFarland was an American actor most famous for his appearances as a child as Spanky in the Our Gang series of short-subject comedies of the 1930s and 1940s. The Our Gang shorts were later syndicated to television as The Little Rascals.
Wallace Fitzgerald Beery was an American film and stage actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Bill in Min and Bill (1930) opposite Marie Dressler, as General Director Preysing in Grand Hotel (1932), as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1934), as Pancho Villa in Viva Villa! (1934), and his titular role in The Champ (1931), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Beery appeared in some 250 films during a 36-year career. His contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer stipulated in 1932 that he would be paid $1 more than any other contract player at the studio. This made Beery the highest-paid film actor in the world during the early 1930s. He was the brother of actor Noah Beery and uncle of actor Noah Beery Jr.
The following is an overview of 1931 in film, including significant events, a list of films released and notable births and deaths.
John Leslie Coogan was an American actor and comedian who began his film career as a child actor in silent films.
Harry Eugene "Hal" Roach Sr. was an American film and television producer, director, and screenwriter, who was the founder of the namesake Hal Roach Studios.
Robert Dean Stockwell was an American film, television and stage actor with a career spanning seven decades. As a child actor under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he first came to the public's attention in films including Anchors Aweigh (1945), The Green Years (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), The Boy with Green Hair (1948), and Kim (1950). As a young adult, he had a lead role in the 1957 Broadway and 1959 screen adaptation of Compulsion; and in 1962 he played Edmund Tyrone in the film version of Long Day's Journey into Night, for which he won two Best Actor Awards at the Cannes Film Festival. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for his starring role in the 1960 film version of D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers.
Allen Clayton Hoskins was an American child actor, who portrayed the character of Farina in 105 Our Gang short films from 1922 to 1931.
John Michael Condon credited as Jackie Condon was an American child actor who was a regular in the Our Gang short series as an original cast member from 1922 until 1929, during the Hal Roach produced Pathé silent era.
Joe Frank Cobb was an American child actor, most notable for appearing as the original "fat boy" in the Our Gang comedies from 1922 to 1929.
Robert E. Hutchins was an American child actor who was a regular in the Our Gang short subjects series from 1927 to 1933. A native of Tacoma, Washington, he was given the nickname of Wheezer after running around the studios on his first day so much that he began to wheeze.
Donald Haines was an American child actor who had recurring appearances in the Our Gang short subjects series from 1930 to 1933. He appeared in Our Gang during the early sound days along with Norman "Chubby" Chaney, Allen "Farina" Hoskins, Jackie Cooper, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins, and Dorothy DeBorba.
The following is a complete list of the 220 Our Gang short films produced by Hal Roach Studios and/or Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer between 1922 and 1944, numbered by order of release along with production order.
Teacher's Pet is a 1930 two-reel comedy short, part of the Our Gang series. It was produced by Hal Roach, directed by Robert F. McGowan, and originally released to theatres by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on October 11, 1930. It was the 101st Our Gang short to be released.
Noah Lindsey Beery was an American actor often specializing in warm, friendly character roles similar to many portrayed by his Oscar-winning uncle, Wallace Beery. Unlike his more famous uncle, however, Beery Jr. seldom broke away from playing supporting roles. Active as an actor in films or television for well over half a century, he was best known for playing James Garner's character's father, Joseph "Rocky" Rockford, in the NBC television series The Rockford Files (1974–1980). His father, Noah Nicholas Beery enjoyed a similarly lengthy film career as an extremely prominent supporting actor in major films, although the elder Beery was also frequently a leading man during the silent film era.
Norman Rae Taurog was an American film director and screenwriter. From 1920 to 1968, Taurog directed 180 films. At the age of 32, he received the Academy Award for Best Director for Skippy (1931). He is the second youngest person ever to win the award after Damien Chazelle, who won for La La Land in 2017. He was later nominated for Best Director for the film Boys Town (1938). He directed some of the best-known actors of the twentieth century, including his nephew Jackie Cooper, Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Deanna Durbin, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Deborah Kerr, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Elvis Presley. Taurog directed six Martin and Lewis films, and nine Elvis Presley films, more than any other director.
Darryl Gerard Hickman is an American former film and television actor, voice artist, screenwriter, television executive, and acting coach. He started his career as a child actor in the Golden Age of Hollywood and appeared in numerous TV serials as an adult. He appeared in films such as The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and Leave Her to Heaven (1945).
Our Gang is an American series of comedy short films chronicling a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures. Created by film producer Hal Roach, also the producer of the Laurel and Hardy films, Our Gang shorts were produced from 1922 to 1944, spanning the silent film and early sound film periods of American cinema. Our Gang is noted for showing children behaving in a relatively natural way; Roach and original director Robert F. McGowan worked to film the unaffected, raw nuances apparent in regular children, rather than have them imitate adult acting styles. The series also broke new ground by portraying white and black children interacting as equals during the Jim Crow era of racial segregation in the United States.
Sooky is a 1931 American pre-Code adventure film directed by Norman Taurog and written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Norman Z. McLeod and Sam Mintz. It is a sequel to the 1931 film Skippy. The film stars Jackie Cooper, Robert Coogan, Jackie Searl, Willard Robertson, Enid Bennett and Helen Jerome Eddy. It was released on December 26, 1931, by Paramount Pictures.