Skip to main content

Cooper, Jackie

COOPER, Jackie



Nationality: American. Born: John Cooper, Jr. in Los Angeles, California, 15 September 1921; nephew of the director Norman Taurog. Education: Attended Notre Dame University, Indiana. Military Service: U.S. Navy during World War II. Family: Married


1) June Horne, son: John; 2) Hildy Parks; 3) Barbara Kraus, children: Russell, Julie, and Christina. Career: At age three acted in comedies with Bobby Clark and Lloyd Hamilton; 1929—in eight episodes of the Our Gang comedies; 1931—in series of successful films with Wallace Beery, beginning with The Champ; mid-1930s—contract with MGM; late-1940s—on Broadway in Magnolia Alley; then national tour as Ensign Pulver in Mister Roberts; 1954—star of Broadway play King of Hearts; 1955–58—in TV series The People's Choice, and in Hennesey, 1959–62; 1963–72—in charge of television production for Columbia Pictures Television; 1970s—regular appearances on TV series Columbo and Police Story, and host of The Dean Martin Comedy World, 1974, and in series Mobile One, 1975; also director of episodes of M*A*S*H, The Rockford Files, Kojak, and Quincy. Awards: Emmy Awards for direction, for M*A*S*H episode, "Carry on Hawkeye," 1973, and for the pilot of The White Shadow, 1978. Address: 9621 Royalton Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, U.S.A.



Films as Actor:

1929

8 Our Gang comedy shorts; Fox Movietone Follies of 1929 (Butler); Sunny Side Up (David Butler) (as tenement boy); Boxing Gloves (Mack and McGowan—short) (as Jackie)

1931

Skippy (Taurog) (title role); Donovan's Kid (Young Donovan's Kid) (Niblo) (as Midge Murray); The Champ (King Vidor) (as Dink); Sooky (Taurog) (as Skippy Skinner)

1932

When a Feller Needs a Friend (Pollard) (as Eddie Randall); Divorce in the Family (Reisner) (as Terry Parker)

1933

Broadway to Hollywood (Ring Up the Curtain) (Mack) (as Ted Hackett Jr. as child); The Bowery (Walsh) (as Swipes McGurk)

1934

Lone Cowboy (Sloane) (as Scooter O'Neal); Treasure Island (Fleming) (as Jim Hawkins); Peck's Bad Boy (Cline) (as Bill Peck)

1935

Dinky (Bretherton and Lederman) (title role); O'Shaughnessy's Boy (Boleslawski) (as Stubby); Tough Guy (Franklin) (as Freddie)

1936

The Devil Is a Sissy (The Devil Takes the Count) (Van Dyke) (as "Buck" Murphy)

1937

Boy of the Streets (Nigh) (as Chuck)

1938

White Banners (Goulding) (as Peter Trimble); Gangster's Boy (Nigh) (as Larry Kelly); That Certain Age (Ludwig) (as Ken); Newsboys' Home (Harold Young) (as "Rifle" Edwards)

1939

Scouts to the Rescue (Taylor and James—serial); The Spirit of Culver (Man's Heritage) (Taurog) (as Tom Allen); Streets of New York (The Abe Lincoln of Ninth Avenue) (Nigh) (as Jimmy); Two Bright Boys (Santley) (as Roy O'Donnell); The Big Guy (Lubin) (as Timmy Hutchins); What a Life! (Reed) (as Henry Aldrich)

1940

Gallant Sons (Seitz) (as Byron "By" Newbold); The Return of Frank James (Fritz Lang) (as Clem/Tom Grayson); Seventeen (Louis King) (as William Sylvanus Baxter)

1941

Ziegfeld Girl (Leonard) (as Jerry Regan); Her First Beau (Reed) (as Chuck Harris); Glamour Boy (Hearts in Spring-time) (Murphy) (as Tiny Barlow); Life with Henry (Reed) (as Henry Aldrich)

1942

Syncopation (Dieterle) (as Johnnie); Men of Texas (Men of Destiny) (Enright) (as Robert Houston Scott); The Navy Comes Through (A. Edward Sutherland) (as Babe)

1943

Where Are Your Children? (Nigh) (as Danny)

1947

Stork Bites Man (Endfield) (as Ernie); Kilroy Was Here (Karlson) (as John J. Kilroy)

1948

French Leave (Kilroy on Deck) (McDonald) (as Skitch)

1961

Everything's Ducky (Don Taylor) (as Lt. Parnell)

1968

Shadow on the Land (Sarafian—for TV)

1971

The Love Machine (Haley) (as Danton Miller); Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring (Deadly Desire) (Sargent—for TV)

1972

The Astronaut (Robert Michael Lewis—for TV)

1974

Chosen Survivors (Roley) (as Raymond Couzins); The Day the Earth Moved (Robert Michael Lewis—for TV)

1975

The Invisible Man (Robert Michael Lewis—for TV)

1976

The Pink Panther Strikes Again (Edwards) (as service repairman)

1977

Operation Petticoat (Astin—for TV)

1978

Superman (Richard Donner) (as Perry White)

1980

Superman II (Lester) (as Perry White)

1983

Superman III (Lester) (as Perry White)

1987

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (Furie) (as Perry White); Surrender (Belson) (as Ace Morgan)

1990

Hollywood Chronicles (doc)



Films as Director:

1972

Stand Up and Be Counted

1978

Having Babies III (for TV); Perfect Gentlemen (for TV) (+ pr); Rainbow (for TV)

1979

Sex and the Single Parent (for TV)

1980

Marathon (for TV); Rodeo Girl (for TV); White Mama (for TV)

1981

Leave 'em Laughing (for TV)

1982

Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney Story (for TV)

1984

The Ladies (for TV); The Night They Saved Christmas (for TV)

1985

Izzy and Moe (for TV)



Publications


By COOPER: book—


Please Don't Shoot My Dog (autobiography), with Dick Kleiner, New York, 1981.

By COOPER: article—

"That Old 'Gang' of Theirs," interview with Frank Lovece, in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 19 August 1994.


On COOPER: articles—

De Roos, Robert, "When the Wise Guys Were Wrong," and "How Did Jackie Cooper Escape the Classic Child-Star Fate?," in TV Guide (New York), 6 and 13 October 1968.

Ciné Revue (Paris), 31 October 1979.

"And We Thought He Hated Cleo," in Los Angeles Magazine, March 1981.

Films in Review (New York), October 1981.

Screen International (London), 23 July 1983.


* * *

Child actors as stars and protagonists in features had become an important part of movie fare by the mid-1930s. Jackie Cooper, a boy who had gained audience approval in the "Our Gang" comedies when this series switched to sound in 1929, became a star in 1931 with the full-length films Skippy and The Champ, well before such moppet actors as Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney, and Judy Garland were cast in leading roles.

In Skippy Cooper plays an enterprising boy able to manipulate his middle-class parents, who do not always approve of his adventures with boys from the "wrong side of the tracks." Cooper's skills were even more evident in The Champ in which he portrays the son of a prizefighter on the skids. Although this work lapses into sentimentality, the combined talents of Wallace Beery ("The Champ") and Cooper helped to make this work an important film of the early 1930s. Because their names were similar, Cooper was sometimes confused with Jackie Coogan. In fact there was another connection: in 1934 Jackie Cooper played the lead in the film Peck's Bad Boy, a role that Coogan had created in a silent version 13 years earlier.

Cooper went on to play Jim Hawkins to Beery's Long John Silver in the screen adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. At the age of 17 he played opposite Deanna Durbin in That Certain Age, the kind of film that Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland were handling more successfully in the "Andy Hardy" series. As Cooper grew older, his acting became less fresh and natural.

After establishing himself as an actor and director in television, Cooper returned to the medium that had made him a star when he released his Stand Up and Be Counted in 1972, his debut as a film director. Still active today as both an actor and director, Cooper remains best known for the roles he created as a child star in the early 1930s.

—Donald McCaffrey

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Cooper, Jackie." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Cooper, Jackie." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cooper-jackie

"Cooper, Jackie." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved October 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cooper-jackie

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.