Former Child Star/Director Jackie Cooper Passes Away
05.05.11 by Chris
Jackie Cooper, a child star in the 1950s who later became an award-winning director, died Tuesday at the age of 88.
Cooper, who started acting at the age of three, was behind and in front of the screen for more than 60 years, retiring in 1989.
Though he appeared in dozens of movies throughout his career, audiences today probably best remember Cooper as the Daily Planet Editor Perry White from the Christopher Reeve Superman series.
Cooper earned Emmys for directing episodes of M*A*S*H* and The White Shadow. He became the first child actor to be nominated for an Oscar when he was nominated for his role in 1931's Skippy. Cooper's other notable movies include When a Feller Needs a Friend, Boy of the Streets, Gangster's Boys and Streets of New York.
But according to his 1981 autobiography Please Don't Shoot My Dog (the title came from a director who threatened to shoot a dog on a set because he was disappointed in Cooper's performance), Cooper resented being a child star. He later became and advocate for child actors, testifying in the "Twilight Zone" trials. The case involved the death of two child actors in 1982 on the set of Twilight Zone and brought about stricter safety measures and enforcement of child labor laws.
The Hollywood Reporter had some tidbits about Cooper, including the fact that at 14, he dated Judy Garland and when he was a teen he had a fling with Joan Crawford. Cooper later joined the Navy during World War II.
He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989. Cooper was survived by his sons.