Jackie Cooper
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jackie Cooper, the former child movie star who won a best actor Oscar nomination at the age of 9 for "Skippy" and grew up to play The Daily Planet editor in Christopher Reeves' four "Superman" movies, has died. He was 88.

Cooper died Tuesday of old age at a nursing facility in Santa Monica, Calif., said his son, John Cooper.

"He was a fascinating guy who really did everything, from all different aspects of the business," said his other son, Russell Cooper. "You can't really say that about many people."

Cooper reigned with Shirley Temple as one of the most popular child stars of the 1930s. Starting in comedy shorts, he rose to top ranks with "Skippy," a sentimental adaptation of a popular comic strip. He followed with such hits as "The Champ," ''The Bowery," ''Treasure Island" and "O'Shaughnessy's Boy," all co-starring Wallace Beery.

With his career fading after World War II, Cooper left Hollywood for the New York theater. He returned to Hollywood and starred in two successful situation comedies, "The People's Choice" (1955-58) and "Hennessey" (1959-62). He appeared as a Navy doctor in "Hennessey," which he also produced and directed.

"I think it's tough to direct and star in a feature," he commented in a 1971 interview. "Either the direction or the performance will suffer. But an actor can direct himself in television. I found it essential to relieve the crushing boredom of starring in a series."

He went on to direct more than 250 half-hour and hour-long series episodes, 16 two-hour movies and numerous pilots and commercials. At one point he vowed he would never act again. But he returned for an occasional role, most notably as gruff Daily Planet editor Perry White in the "Superman" films.

"He managed to change with the business," said his son, John. "Early in his life, he experienced the kind of success that many people do not have, if they have that kind of success at all, until much later."

A handsome kid with tousled blond hair and a winning smile, Jackie had a memorable bit in the 1929 musical "Sunny Side Up" and appeared in eight of the popular "Our Gang" comedies, including "Pups Is Pups" and "Teacher's Pet." Those credits led to a test that won him the title role of "Skippy."

The director of the 1931 film was his uncle, Norman Taurog. A crucial scene called for Jackie to cry. The tears wouldn't come, and Taurog became angry. He called the boy's beloved dog a nuisance and said he would send it to the pound. Jackie threw a tantrum, infuriating the director.

"If you don't do what I say, I'll have the policeman shoot the dog," Taurog threatened, pointing to the armed security guard.

The tears flowed, and the scene was filmed, and Taurog went on to win the Oscar for best director. Fifty years later, Cooper titled his autobiography "Please Don't Shoot My Dog." Cooper remained by far the youngest player to be nominated for an Academy Award as best actor. (There were no supporting actor-actress categories — where most child performers have been nominated — at that time.) At the ceremony, the boy fell asleep in the lap of another nominee, Marie Dressler.

He was born John Cooper Jr. on Sept. 15, 1922, in Los Angeles. His Jewish father, who ran a music store, had married an Italian musician, Mabel Leonard, but deserted her when their son was 2. Destitute, Mrs. Cooper found work at Fox studio as a secretary. Through her brother-in-law, Taurog, she was able to arrange extra work in movies for young Jackie.

MGM signed Cooper to a contract after "Skippy," and he attended the studio school with Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Freddie Bartholomew. Cooper proved an ideal combination with Beery, the rough, tough character whose heart is melted by the winsome kid.

Unlike some child actors, Cooper was able to sustain his stardom through adolescence. Among Cooper's other 1930s films: "Sooky" (a sequel to "Skippy"), "Broadway to Hollywood," ''Lone Cowboy," ''Dinky," ''The Devil Is a Sissy" (with Rooney and Bartholomew), "Peck's Bad Boy," ''White Banners," ''Gangster's Boy," ''That Certain Age" (opposite Deanna Durbin), "What a Life" (as Henry Aldrich), "Seventeen" and "The Return of Frank James."

After four years in the Navy, he returned to find his career had slumped.

"I managed to find work, but it was in low-budget pictures," he recalled in 1971. "I couldn't see myself continuing like that.

"About that time, I had become acquainted with some New York actors, like Keenan Wynn and John Garfield. Garfield kept telling me to 'get back to New York where you can learn your craft.' "

Cooper followed the advice and appeared as Ensign Pulver in Broadway and road companies of "Mister Roberts." He starred in two hit comedies: "Remains to Be Seen" and "King of Hearts." During the early 1950s, television was exploding in New York, and he acted in many live dramas. That led to his return to Hollywood and success with "The People's Choice" and "Hennessey."

Tiring of the weekly series grind, Cooper in 1964 accepted a five-year contract as production head of Screen Gems, the TV arm of Columbia Pictures.

"Like so many of those jobs, the honeymoon was over after the first two years," he remarked. "Then you find yourself spending all your time trying to sell your bosses on what you want to do. My last selling job was 'The Flying Nun.' They kept telling me that people wouldn't watch a show about Catholics." He persisted, and the series starring Sally Field became a hit.

After almost 50 years in the business, Cooper thought of retiring in the early 1970s. Then producer Mike Frankovich offered him a role in "The Love Machine," and a film to direct, "Stand Up and Be Counted." He continued with occasional acting roles and a heavy schedule of directing for television.

Cooper remained boyish-looking and slender, with a thick head of hair. He was married three times: to June Horne (with whom he had a son, John) and Hildy Parks, then to Barbara Kraus (with whom he had a son, Russell, and two daughters, Julie and Christina).

"There's not a child actor in the lot," he once remarked happily.

Cooper is survived by his two sons.


Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press
Published by New York Times on May 4, 2011.
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255 Entries
I am sorry regarding the loss of your loved one. I can remember some of the movies, he played in, as a child. May the God of Comfort, continue to comfort the family.
May 4, 2020
Russell
I will be forever grateful for both the kindness you showed me and the courtesy and consideration of your dad when I was trying to get my own career off the ground. He was a true gentleman and one of the last of the REAL Hollywood greats, a REAL Movie Star. Thank you and may God bless.

Ron Fischer Bullhead City, Az
March 8, 2019
Valenda Newell
October 11, 2016
Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

Fair winds and following seas sailor.

Thank you for your service to this nation.
Harry Simpson
May 3, 2016
From our family to yours, We offer our deepest Sympathy to Jackie Cooper and Family.

Bennie Jones and Joni Jones
Extreme Office and House Cleaning.
Joni Jones
March 1, 2015
To Jackie Copper one of the kindest people I have had the opportunity to meet. My prayers go out to your entire family,
You will be missed!


Adrianne Extreme Office and House Cleaning,
Adrianne Jones
March 1, 2015
As a young boy, my father played with Jackie who grew up in a home next to, or near his. I have a picture of my dad riding Jackie's bike which was give to him from the studio. Later, just by chance, I tutored Jackie's son,Russ, in there home in Beverly Hills for quite a while. I wonder if Russ can remember. I have a picture of me in front of the home on Crescent Dr. which they took of me. I had moved away and was not aware of the death of the Russ's sisters. Russ....my belated but sincere condolences. I remember working with your sister as well.
Tom Barbey
January 29, 2014
To Jackie Cooper,
You were a great actor. You were great in the comedy series the Little Rascals, and in Superman too, My prayers are with your family. Lisa Weiner
Lisa Weiner
December 17, 2012
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family especially Russell our friend from many years ago. God bless you....yvonne and mike murphy
April 7, 2012
My condolences to the family. I love watching Jackie Cooper. I saw him in many shows. May he rest in peace.
Gae Maidment
July 19, 2011
Thanks to Mr.Cooper I enJOYED my sick days home from school watching "The Little Rascals".
Mr. Cooper was a GREAT part of MY childhood memories.
To the Cooper family you have my deepest sympathy on your great loss.
Avay Lauger
July 12, 2011
I grew up with you as a "Little Rascal", then as you started to produce and later directed "MASH". You were always so very entertaining that nothing that you did ever was anything bad.

Thank you Jackie Cooper, for so many hors and moments of great television. I will indeed miss you so much.
Paul Wolfe
June 20, 2011
My deepest sympathy Jack. Would love to get in touch with you for old times sake. Hope your well! Best wishes, Cynthia Beutel
June 12, 2011
always loved him especially in "The People's Choice" from 1955 to 1959. always wished I could have met him in this life.RIP dear friend in the Peace and Eternal Life that only the Lord through Jesus Christ provides as a free gift. Thomas Hendricks Chicago Illinois
Thomas Hendricks
June 5, 2011
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Matthew McGuire
May 26, 2011
There's so much fans like myself enjoyed watching the little rascals. The show brought laughter to many. May the family of Mr. Jackie Cooper, find joy in knowing that the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort, will comfort you in all your tribulations.(1 Corinthians 1:3,4).
L. T.
May 16, 2011
Jackie Cooper you will be missed. I fell in love with you when you were on the Our Gang serials and refell in Love with you in the Superman Movies. You never lost your spark.
Lucy Pfundt
May 14, 2011
Jackie always looked like he would be a fun person to hang with. And he will always be Perry White to me. RIP Mr. Cooper.
Kevin Bradley
May 11, 2011
JACKIE, YOU WILL BE WITH THE ANGELS AND THE BIGGEST ONE IS WALLACE BEERY WHO WAS BETTER THAN AIRY ANGEL.
AND YOU SHOW TREASURE ISLAND WILL BE ON SOON
CONDOLENCES TO YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR
MANY FANS
HAROLD SCHUMANN
May 9, 2011
A tribute to his memory-from a little devil to a wonderful actor
Barbara Sexton
May 9, 2011
One of your moments I remember best is when Officer Kennedy told you the way to win a girl's heart was to be a "Caveman". You staked your claim on Mary Ann and she kicked your butt. I imagine you took some hard knocks for our entertainment. Thanks! Now you are back in class with Miss Crabtree at her desk and you sitting there at your desk with that big smile on your face and among all your friends. You are in great company!
Larry Mayes
May 9, 2011
I didnt know you personally...But I LOVE ME SOME Little Rascals. My prayer's go out to the family....R.I.P. Jackie Cooper

Cynthia Wright ( Grand Rapids, Mi )
Cynthia Wright
May 9, 2011
I was a big fan of Jackie while growing up. I was thinking he was the leading star in the "Serial" EAGLE SCOUTS. My condolences to his family.
Chafer Honea
Chafer Honea
May 8, 2011
Thank you Jackie..
May 8, 2011
Wow, am sad. Feel like I lost my own dad. Best wishes n prayers to his family.
Elizabeth Graham
May 8, 2011
Thank you Jackie Cooper. You provided hours upon hours of joy to so many of us over the years. I still get a big kick out of the Our Gang scene where Miss Crabtree has you stand at your school desk and asks "Who was the Hunchback of Notre Dame?" And your emphatic reply was "Lon Cheney!" What a great moment in film that was! Perfectly delivered. Thank you!
Dan Carter
May 8, 2011
Gwen & Mark Smith
May 8, 2011
I was, and am still a loving fan of the Little Rascals. They brought me such joy in my childhood and now as an adult. He will be missed by all who knew him. Thanks Mr. Cooper for the memories and the laughter.
Linda Morelli
May 8, 2011
RIP
Velma Duenas
May 8, 2011
I am a 68 year old who was brought up with the 'Our Gang" stars...Mr Cooper was one of those that will never be forgotten...I lived in Santa Monica off 3rd and Montana and saw him many times at, Zuckeys Deli, with Mel Blanc and many other favorites, what a treat to remember the greatest era. prayers to you and family
S Miller, El Cajon, Ca
May 8, 2011
To the Cooper Families,
Your father has always been one of my favoriate Actor-stars. He will be missed by myself and many many more prople. I fell in love with him in :The Little Rascals" and I have loved his acting ever since. I am now 58 years young. May the Lord bring "Peace" to your family.
Linda D. Holmes
May 8, 2011
Jackie you will be missed by all of your fans around the world, You are with god now Your Friend Bob Reffitt!
Bobby Reffitt
May 8, 2011
May fond memories flood your heart and give you peace and joy throughout this time, and forever!
C. Polk
May 8, 2011
I always watch Mr Cooper growing up in the Our Gang movies. We are loosing all our great Actors and Actress. May God bless his family and us his fans.
Cathy Davis
May 8, 2011
I am sorry to hear of your loss. I remember watching Jackie on re-runs of "The Little Rascals" and other shows, then to see him play Mr. White in the Superman movies. Thank you for sharing him with us. May he rest in peace.
Steven Liebherr
May 8, 2011
Floyd Seaborn & Family Joliet Platte, Nebraska
May 7, 2011
Jackie Cooper made acting look easy. His role as a politician who killed his girlfriend on "Columbo" was very good. My condolence to his family and friends. May he be in peace.
Eraina Woodworth
May 7, 2011
God bless you Mr Cooper you were truly one of the greatest child actors of your time. God bless you.
cynthia mitchell
May 7, 2011
thank you for bringing joy to our life through your films, especially the Our Gang comedy. You will forever be remembered and our condolences to the family and friends...the Williams' who love the movies..God Bless Jackie Cooper.
May 7, 2011
I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the 50's, seeing you on TV, knowing who you were. Rest in peace; Jackie
Bonnie Dumont
May 7, 2011
Mr.Cooper was a great actor and entertained us all. He will be missed
Michael & Allene Sandoval
May 7, 2011
I met Jackie Cooper on a sad day: the ASC memorial service for his friend and collaborating cinematographer Howard Schwartz, ASC. Jackie gave a wonderful eulogy of Howard, recounting their many struggles together to do great work while suffering the vicissitudes of the movie business with good humor. He was a remarkably talented artist, a kind, generous and modest person.
James Chressanthis, ASC
May 7, 2011
We're going to miss you Jackie. God Blessed you with a gift at an early age and you ran with it your entire life, doing a great job every time. May God Bless you forever.
A & J Guerrero
May 7, 2011
We lost an amazing man.Memories of you will last forever.Forever in our hearts.You will be so very missed.
Judie Ziegler-Alliano
May 7, 2011
WE ARE SENDING OUR LOVE,PRAYERS,&CONDOLENCES TO THE COOPER FAMILY,FRIENDS,FANS,&ALL WHO KNEW MR. COOPER.
KEN&MARY O'DANIEL
May 7, 2011
What a wonderful life! Thankfully, some of it is captured on film for us to enjoy. Thank you for all the laughs and the tears.
Stephen Raulston
May 7, 2011
i watched little rascals as a child funny child you will be missed
regina conley
May 7, 2011
Great actor. May it be a comfort to your family to know that God, as well as others, care about your feelings at this time.
May 7, 2011
I remember you playing the drums at Notre Dame University at noon time. I was in the same Navy Company in the V-l2 Navy Program.
Paul Bandelier
May 7, 2011
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Teresa Wilson
May 7, 2011
I will always remember him, I was very young. I always thought he was a heart throb. My condolences to his family and may he rest in peace.
May 6, 2011
Watched your movies as a kid growing up. RIP Jackie
Anthony Rodgers
May 6, 2011
What a loss to the
hollywood industry,you were a great actor.I enjoyed watching you on TV. RIP
LISA JOHNSON
May 6, 2011

Great performance, you were wonderful!
Jackie Rushton
May 6, 2011
Thanks for the life tools.
Jeff Probst
May 6, 2011
THANKS FOR ALL THE WONDERFUL MEMORIES!
LINDA LEAZER
May 6, 2011
Another Great lost. We grew up with Jackie Cooper in our livingrooms and came to know him almost as well as our own relatives. We are so terribly sorry for the families loss.
May 6, 2011
Loved to watch your movies......................RIP Mr. Cooper.
Rose Gruber
May 6, 2011
You were a joy to watch..Now GOD is your Director...
Earlene Montero
May 6, 2011
I just hope that his childhood movies that I loved, will be shown. He will always be remembered by his contemporaries, but those who didn't have the pleasure of knowing him should be able to see the unusual talent that he possessed. There was no one like Jackie Cooper!A. Pollack, Scranton, Pa.
May 6, 2011
Another very talented man, owes that talent to God. I am so sorry for your loss, I know he will be missed by many. May the God of all comfort and tender mercies be with you in your time of grief.
C. Syd.
May 6, 2011
You always gave us a good laugh , does the body good..Thanks ,RIP Jackie..
Dennis Ryan
May 6, 2011
Rest in Peace Jackie! I too loved watching you and sharing your name since 1957.
Jack Cooper
May 6, 2011
I loved watching his tv shows when I was a child. I even named my dog Cleo after the one in "The People's Choice." He seemed like someone who would be great to know. I always liked to see him perform or his name as a director. Genuine people in Hollywood seem rare and we were lucky to have had him. The peace of the Lord be with you and your family.
L B Ellison
May 6, 2011
May God Bless you Jackie . Rest in peace with Spanky, Alfalfa,Buckwheat and the rest of the Gang.
Kathy Baptista
May 6, 2011
Sandra L. Gordy
May 6, 2011
We grow up watching you as one of the little Rascals,but just saw you on Murder SHE wROTE on this passed Sunday.You are still the best.
Lonzie and Wilda Linkous
May 6, 2011
Thanks for the memories
May 6, 2011
I was so saddened to hear the news. I am a senior, & remember him well. We lost one of the greatest child actors there ever was
doreen Panzica
May 6, 2011
Well Now Mr Cooper, it seems that you have gone on to a greater reward than even you could or would imagine. Now you do not have to think of the next production or which movie you might like to direct or the boring weekly TV series, yeah that is all gone, except for the memories you will have and the sharing of these memories with all the friends family and yes neighbors you will be reunited with in this great realm. Incidentally, there aren't many of us folk left that even remotely remember the Our Gang Series, and all its characters, but I do.

Here in this life, you will be sadly missed by all, especially those closest.

May God Bless the Cooper Family, and God Bless Jackie Cooper
Noel Ballatin
May 6, 2011
I grew up as a big fan of the little rascals thanks for all those great memories, your memory will live on in my 10 and 11 year old children who are also big fans of the our gang series, thank you and RIP.
Janice
May 6, 2011
to the family of Jackie cooper, you have my deepest sympathy for the loss of your beloved one. Our heavenly Father is with you, and He will revive your spirit and crush heart-Isaiah 57:15. (Erma L. Davis, Park Forest, IL.
May 6, 2011
My condolences to the family and friends of Jackie Cooper. I am a fan of many of his movies and his talent. The industry has suffered a great loss.
Becky Shaw
May 6, 2011
What a loss. He was a cute kid and never lost that boyish look. Loved his work. They don't make them like that anymore.
Susan Witsaman
May 6, 2011
jackie remained the youngest actor to be nominted for academy award,, born 9-15-1922. he always looked boyish-looking, slender with a thick head of hair, hats off to jackie, thanks,peace&blessings,God speed, bertie&jerry
Bertie Waddell Rutter
May 6, 2011
great memories....will be missed
May 6, 2011
He was a great actor and will be missed.May you find comfort in the scriptures. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends around the world.
May 6, 2011
Rest in Peace "SKIPPY"
LINDA MERKISON
May 6, 2011
I am deeply sadden by your loss. He will forever represent the lollipop kid and chief at the Daily planet. He was a great man and a devoted father. Your in our prayers from NM.
Dawn Lewis
May 6, 2011
I was introduced to Jackie Cooper at a very young age. I grew up watching The Rascals, but it was when I saw his performance in "Teacher's Pet" that I realized how special he really was. That performance touched my life and I always wanted to tell him so. I recently found his address and was going to write him a letter, but I never got to. And now he will never know how much I truly loved him. He was a great actor and his performances have left a mark not only on my life, but on the lives of other people in the business. Thank you Jackie. Though you're gone and though I regret not being able to tell you how much I loved you, you will still live on in my heart. I would love to hear from his family so I could personally tell them how much he meant to me. My email is [email protected] Thank you, Jackie. Rest in peace, my friend. God Bless You.
May 6, 2011
Wonderful Life/Job Well Done!!!
Have always been a fan of all your works.
REST IN PEACE, JACKIE COOPER!!!

Sadly,


GG Bigrigg
Fan
Ms "GG" Bigrigg
May 6, 2011
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
May 6, 2011
To the family of Jackie Cooper,

I remember your Father in the little rascals, (he was my favorite), please accept my deepest sympathies, may he rest in peace, he will be missed.
Kathy Penelli
May 6, 2011
I grew up 'on' the Coop---RL///
Robert Long
May 5, 2011
I'm sorry he was a very good actor I remember him in The Wizard of Oz as one o f the lollypop kids
Maureen Leduc
May 5, 2011
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
janice taylor
May 5, 2011
To Jackie Cooper,
I've watched you on the little rascals and Superman the movie. I thought you were just a very talented actor. God bless you Mr. Cooper. Lisa Weiner
Lisa Weiner
May 5, 2011
I am sorry your loss of jackie...I thought he was a very good actor and a
good person.
steve vail
May 5, 2011
I met Jackie Cooper when I was very young. He was having dinner at the City Club in Cleveland Ohio. He was so gracious when this little girl ran up and acted like he should know her, after all I knew him from TV. He tried to introduce me to the mayor of Cleveland, but I was insistant that this wasn't THE mayor, a character on People's Choice. Trust me, they all had a good laugh. God Bless you Jackie, rest in peace. S.A Rohr
May 5, 2011
what a great loss. I remember him in the
Wizard of Oz as one of the Lollypop kids...he had that same handsome face even then.
Judy Krauss
May 5, 2011
what a great man and woderful actor, who paved the wat for so many..god bless...from tacoma wa.
steveseabrook
May 5, 2011
May the God of all comfort grant your family peace at this time. (Psalms 23:4)
C Williams
May 5, 2011
A very talented actor and director has left the stage, but he will always be remembered by his fans. At this sorrowful time, may his family be surrounded by God's peace. JM, Austerlitz, New York
May 5, 2011
R.I.P.
SHERRY HILER
May 5, 2011
The Book Dinky I still have it My Family name was Daniels I was boren in 1935 now you know why they called me Dinky. The book Dinky Jackie Cooper.
Tony Piscataway, N.J.
May 5, 2011
With sadness I read of Jackie Cooper's passing, but was happy to see his sons telling his story. This shows me that not only was he a famous movie star but most importantly a DAD!
Kitty LaFountain
May 5, 2011
To the Cooper Family, I offer my deepest condolences. Jackie was an exceptional entertainer and honorable man. RIP Jackie

AJ Douffet (Cooper City FL)
Alicia Douffet
May 5, 2011
R.I.P.
Vetta
May 5, 2011
Another Great has left us, never to be replaced. Thank you for sharing all your talents with the rest of us. Thank you for creating such wonderful memories. Actors like you are truly special people.
Chuck Shea
May 5, 2011
jackie cooper was most definately one of the best ever, loved him in our gang, and everything else he wrote and directed, he will be without a doubt truly missed.
thomas bush
May 5, 2011
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