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Ralph Cooper

Ralph Cooper

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Also Known As: Ralph Cooper Died: August 4, 1992
Born: January 16, 1908 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, screenwriter, master of ceremonies, dancer, choreographer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Best known for founding (in 1934) and emceeing the Amateur Night at the historic Apollo Theater, where talents such as Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday received early exposure. Cooper also played supporting roles in Hollywood features such as Josef von Sternberg's "Blonde Venus" (1932), Henry King's "Lloyd's of London" (1936) and Irving Cummings' "White Hunter" (1936), and choreographed Cummings' Shirley Temple vehicle, "Poor Little Rich Girl" (1936). The star of several films produced for segregated black audiences in the 1930s, Cooper appropriately served as special consultant to "The Cotton Club" (1984), Francis Ford Coppola's ode to 1930s Harlem night life.

Best known for founding (in 1934) and emceeing the Amateur Night at the historic Apollo Theater, where talents such as Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday received early exposure. Cooper also played supporting roles in Hollywood features such as Josef von Sternberg's "Blonde Venus" (1932), Henry King's "Lloyd's of London" (1936) and Irving Cummings' "White Hunter" (1936), and choreographed Cummings' Shirley Temple vehicle, "Poor Little Rich Girl" (1936).

The star of several films produced for segregated black audiences in the 1930s, Cooper appropriately served as special consultant to "The Cotton Club" (1984), Francis Ford Coppola's ode to 1930s Harlem night life.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Malcolm X (1992) Radio Announcer
2.
 Gang War (1940) Bob "Killer" Meade
3.
 Am I Guilty? (1940) Dr. James Dunbar
4.
 The Duke Is Tops (1938) Duke Davis
5.
 Dark Manhattan (1937) [James A.] Curly Thorpe
6.
 Bargain with Bullets (1937) Ed "Mugsy" Moore
7.
 White Hunter (1936) Ali
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Started as a dancer in New York clubs
:
Worked for the Lafayette Theater in Harlem in the 1920s
:
Went to Hollywood and appeared in films with Lena Horne and Duke Ellington in the 1930s
1932:
Played supporting role in Josef von Sternberg's "Blonde Venus" starring Marlene Dietrich
1934:
Founded and emceed the Apollo Theater Amateur Night contest that introduced such talents as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Billie Holiday
:
Starred in independent, all-black films for segregated audiences
:
Wrote ten screenplays
1936:
Choreographed dance numbers for "Poor Little Rich Girl" starring Shirley Temple
:
Ceased emcee duties when the Apollo Theater closed in the 1970s
1984:
Served as special consultant to production of Francis Coppola's "The Cotton Club"
1984:
Resumed emcee duties for Amateur Night when the Apollo reopened under the sponsorship of Coca Cola
:
Took ill; son, Ralph Cooper Jr, became new master of ceremonies
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Elizabeth Cooper. Survived him.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Ralph Cooper Jr. Master of ceremonies for Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater. Replaced father as emcee; survived him.
daughter:
Lisa Cooper-Turner. Survived him.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Amateur Night at the Apollo"

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