Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Actor-Director Jackie Cooper Dies at 88

Jackie Cooper, whose lengthy career included being an Oscar-nominated child actor and an Emmy-winning TV director, has passed away at the age of 88.

Cooper was nominated as Best Actor for SKIPPY (1931).

Cooper's roles included starring with Wallace Beery in the classics THE CHAMP (1931) and TREASURE ISLAND (1934). Thanks to Moira Finnie for the tip that TREASURE ISLAND airs on Turner Classic Movies this Saturday, May 7th.

As Cooper moved through adolescence he continued to star in films such as THAT CERTAIN AGE (1938) opposite Deanna Durbin. His later career included starring in the TV series HENNESEY, working on Broadway and in London's West End, serving as a vice president of the TV production company Screen Gems, and directing many popular TV series. He won Emmy awards for directing episodes of M*A*S*H and THE WHITE SHADOW.

For those of us who were teens in the late '70s, Cooper is also inextricably linked with the SUPERMAN franchise, where Cooper played editor Perry White opposite Christopher Reeve's Clark Kent.

Cooper was a veteran who had served in the U.S. Navy during WWII and later served in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Here's the TCM Remembers tribute which will be airing in between movies this week:

Thursday Update: TCM is changing its daytime schedule on Friday, May 13th, to honor Cooper. Films shown will include DINKY (1935) and THE CHAMP (1931).


Blogger Kevin Deany said...

Very sad to read this. I think among male stars of the 1930s the only ones left are Mickey Rooney and Tony Martin. Any others?

7:29 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Thanks very much for posting this tribute - the TCM montage is great. I recently saw Jackie Cooper in Fritz Lang's 'The Return of Frank James', where he was 18 and his character really comes of age during the film - he's pretty good in it, so I'm quite surprised he didn't do more films as an adult, though he had a good career anyway. Also love him in 'The Champ', though it's a shame to know the director got him to cry by threatening to shoot his dog! I saw an interview with him where he said that Wallace Beery was horrible to him and always trying to make sure he didn't steal the scene, but he used to say in interviews that he was a great guy because that was what people wanted to hear.

I can't think of any male stars of the 1930s who are still alive apart from Mickey Rooney either, but I expect there are some child actors still alive.

12:21 PM  

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