Jackie Coogan


Actor
Jackie Coogan

About

Also Known As
John Leslie Coogan Jr.
Birth Place
Los Angeles, California, USA
Born
October 26, 1914
Died
March 01, 1984
Cause of Death
Kidney Failure And Heart Attack

Biography

Child star who charmed audiences in Charlie Chaplin's 1921 classic "The Kid." By the mid-1930s, his career had slowed considerably and in 1938 he attempted to win back his $4 million childhood earnings from his mother and stepfather. By the time the case was settled the amount had dropped to approximately $250,000, of which Coogan received only a portion. The case resulted in the Coogan ...

Photos & Videos

Family & Companions

Betty Grable
Wife
Actor. Married 1937; divorced 1939.
Flower Parry
Wife
Actor. Married 1941; divorced 1943.
Ann McCormick
Wife
Actor. Married 1946; divorced 1951.
Dorothea Lamphere
Wife
Dancer. Survived him.

Biography

Child star who charmed audiences in Charlie Chaplin's 1921 classic "The Kid." By the mid-1930s, his career had slowed considerably and in 1938 he attempted to win back his $4 million childhood earnings from his mother and stepfather. By the time the case was settled the amount had dropped to approximately $250,000, of which Coogan received only a portion. The case resulted in the Coogan Act, or Child Actors Bill, set up to protect the assets of child stars. Coogan became, in many ways, the patron saint -- of sorts -- of child actors because of the law, although the legislation only covers actors working in California and, in reality, applies to income from TV series and motion pictures and not TV commercials. After WWII, most of his work came from TV where he gained success as Uncle Fester on "The Addams Family," which ran on ABC from 1964-66. Coogan began his career at 18 months, in "Skinner's Baby" (1917). He played the title role in a silent version of "Oliver Twist" in 1922. He switched studios from First National to Metro for a contract which guaranteed him $1 over two years, although his personal allowance remained at $6.25 per week. By 1927, Coogan's popularity had begun to wane, and his bob hair was cut in a much-publicized ceremony, which was filmed for theatrical release. MGM decided to capitalize on the event by producing the film, "Johnny Get Your Hair Cut." But, his career was still dwindling. He made a comeback in the title role of "Tom Sawyer" (1930), also his first talkie, and repeated that role in "Huckleberry Finn" (1931), but Jackie Cooper was now the kid star of the MGM lot and in America's heart. It was in 1935 when returning from a fishing trip that the car, driven by Coogan's father, went off the road, killing all (including child actor Junior Curkin) except Coogan, who had been in the rumple seat. Coogan was off the screen until 1938, trying to make another come-back in young adult roles in "College Swing." By this time he had married Starlet Betty Grable, but with his earnings lost by his mother and stepfather and few film roles available, the stress over financial matters contributed to the couple divorcing in 1939. Coogan did not appear in a film from 1939 until after World War II service. His first film after the war was "Kilroy was Here" (1947), which also starred, perhaps ironically, Jackie Cooper, also struggling after child stardom. But feature film roles were few and far between, and by the late 40s, Coogan was mostly working on TV. He was a regular on Benny Rubin's 1949 NBC series, and a panelist on Mike Storey's "Pantomime Quiz" from 1950-55. He was a third banana -- aide the colonel on his sitcom debut, "McKeever and the Colonel" (NBC, 1962-63). He was the first choice of the executive producer to play Uncle Fester on "The Addams Family" for ABC in 1964, but not of the network. Maurice Gosfield played the role in the original pilot, but died soon after production and Coogan stepped into the role which would give him lasting visibility as an adult. After the series' demise, Coogan did the voice of Fester for the 1973-74 animated version of "The Addams Family," and appeared often in episodic dramas. He made his TV movie debut with "Cool Million" (NBC, 1972). His last TV appearance was in an episode of "Sweepstake$" on NBC in 1979. It is said he appeared in 1400 TV shows and episodes combined. Coogan's grandson, Keith Coogan, born in 1970, appeared in "Tin Soldiers," "Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead" and numerous other films in the 80s and 90s. Keith was born Keith Mitchell, but took the last name "Coogan" as his professional name after his grandfather's 1984 death as an homage.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Escape from Terror (1960)
Director
Sex Kittens Go to College (1960)
Dialogue Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Unknown Chaplin (1986)
The Escape Artist (1982)
The Prey (1980)
Lester Tile
Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype (1980)
Human Experiments (1980)
Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976)
Hotel Haymarket Proprietor
The Specialists (1975)
Roger
The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery (1975)
The Phantom of Hollywood (1974)
Jonathan
Cahill, U.S. Marshal (1973)
Cool Million (1972)
Merrill Cossack
Marlowe (1969)
Grant W. Hicks
The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968)
Matthew Basch
A Fine Madness (1966)
Mr. Fitzgerald
Girl Happy (1965)
Sergeant Benson
John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! (1965)
Father Ryan
When the Girls Take Over (1962)
Captain Toussaint
Escape from Terror (1960)
Petrov
Sex Kittens Go to College (1960)
Wildcat MacPherson
Night of the Quarter Moon (1959)
Sergeant Bragan
The Beat Generation (1959)
Jake Baron
The Big Operator (1959)
Editor Brannell
The Space Children (1958)
Hank Johnson
Lonelyhearts (1958)
Ned Gates
High School Confidential! (1958)
Mr. A. [also known as Mr. August]
No Place to Land (1958)
Swede
The Buster Keaton Story (1957)
Elmer Case
The Joker Is Wild (1957)
Swifty Morgan
Eighteen and Anxious (1957)
Harold "Eager" Beaver
The Proud Ones (1956)
Man on the make
The Mesa Of Lost Women (1956)
The Actress (1953)
Heckler
Mesa of Lost Women (1953)
Doctor Aranya
Outlaw Women (1952)
Piute Bill
Varieties on Parade (1951)
Skipalong Rosenbloom (1951)
Buck James
French Leave (1948)
Pappy
Kilroy Was Here (1947)
Pappy Collins
Sky Patrol (1939)
Carter Meade
Million Dollar Legs (1939)
Russ Simpson
College Swing (1938)
Jackie
One in a Million (1937)
Home on the Range (1934)
Jack Hatfield
Huckleberry Finn (1931)
Tom Saywer
Tom Sawyer (1930)
Tom Sawyer
Free and Easy (1930)
Johnny Get Your Hair Cut (1927)
Johnny O'Day
Buttons (1927)
Buttons
The Bugle Call (1927)
Billy Randolph
Old Clothes (1925)
Tim Kelly
The Rag Man (1925)
Timothy [Patrick Aloysius Michael] Kelly
Little Robinson Crusoe (1924)
Mickey Hogan
A Boy of Flanders (1924)
Nello
Long Live the King (1923)
Crown Prince Otto
Circus Days (1923)
Toby Tyler
Daddy (1923)
Jackie Savelli/Jackie Holden
Trouble (1922)
Danny, the kid
Oliver Twist (1922)
Oliver Twist
My Boy (1922)
Jackie Blair
Nice and Friendly (1922)
Peck's Bad Boy (1921)
Peck's Bad Boy
The Kid (1921)
The Kid
A Day's Pleasure (1919)

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

The Beat Generation (1959)
Dial coach
The Big Operator (1959)
Dial coach

Cast (Special)

When the West Was Fun: A Western Reunion (1979)
The Addams Family (1977)
Morticia'S Uncle Fester
A Lucille Ball Special Starring Lucille Ball and Dean Martin (1975)
Gus Mitchell
Love and the Happy Days (1972)

Cast (Short)

Sunkist Stars at Palm Springs (1936)
Himself
Character Studies (1923)

Life Events

1917

Feature acting debut at 18 months in "Skinner's Baby"

1921

Became superstar at age 7 in Chaplin's silent "The Kid"

1928

Had "hair-cutting" ceremony; publicity stunt turned into film "Johnny Get Your Hair Cut"

1938

Returned to films in teen-age roles, "College Swing"

1938

Filed suit against parents for assets from Jackie Coogan Productions Inc; led to passage of the California's Child Actors Bill (the "Coogan Act") protecting child actors

1949

TV regular on "The Benny Rubin Show"

1950

Was regular on "Pantomime Quiz"

1972

Made TV movie debut in "Cool Million" (NBC)

1982

Acted in last feature, "The Escape Artist"

Photo Collections

High School Confidential! - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Albert Zugsmith's High School Confidential! (1958). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Mesa of Lost Women - Lobby Card
Here is a Lobby Card from Mesa of Lost Women (1953). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

Fine Madness, A (1966) - Poems Taking Shape Having just evaded another pack of bill collectors, struggling New York poet Samson Shillitoe (Sean Connery) flees to the apartment where, he discovers, his wife Rhoda (Joanne Woodward), isn't ready to join his escape, in A Fine Madness, 1966.
College Swing (1938) - Title Song (Betty Grable) Just the third scene and not essential to the narrative, at what must be the dining hall, an original tune for Paramount by Frank Loesser and Hoagy Carmichael finds Skinnay Ennis launching a duet with Betty Grable, who switches to Jackie Coogan for the dance, choreography by LeRoy Prinz, Raoul Walsh directing, in College Swing, 1938, starring George Burns, Gracie Allen and Bob Hope.
Kid, The (1921) - -- All's Well The Tramp (Charles Chaplin) blunders into a romantic conflict with a policeman (Tom Wilson) then escapes with the kid (Jackie Coogan) in The Kid, 1921.
Cahill, United States Marshal (1973) - It Was A Friendly Fight John Wayne (title character) returns to Valentine, Texas where Hank Worden is the station master, not knowing jailed Fraser (George Kennedy) and Strother (Morgan Paull) have involved his own son (Gary Grimes) in robbery and murder, Jackie Coogan the drunk, early in Cahill, United States Marshal, 1973.
Joker Is Wild, The (1957) - Heinz And The Tomato At a Miami engagement, hottie Martha (Mitzi Gaynor) emerges as a competitor to Letty (Jeanne Crain), who that moment gets an on-stage proposal from comic Joe E. Brown (Frank Sinatra), pal Austin (Eddie Albert) on piano, in Charles Vidor's flattering bio-pic, The Joker Is Wild, 1957.
Beat Generation, The (1959) - Bass Fiddle Without Strings No one using the word rape, though it was all-but shown on screen, investigating cop Culloran (Steve Cochran) revealing an ugly cynicism, Jackie Coogan (a.k.a. "Uncle Fester") his partner, Margaret Hayes the victim, in The Beat Generation, 1959.
Free And Easy (1930) - I Broke My Autograph Bumbling manager Elmer (Buster Keaton) has got "Miss Gopher City" (Anita Page) and her "Ma" (Trixie Friganza) to their Hollywood premiere, cameos from MGM's Jackie Coogan and William Haines ensuing, in Keaton's first talkie, Free And Easy, 1930.
Oliver Twist (1922) - Old Shrivelled Scoundrel Escaped orphan Oliver (Jackie Coogan) has wandered to the outskirts of London and met the Artful Dodger (Edouard Trebaol), who brings him to the wicked Fagin (Lon Chaney), in Frank Lloyd's version of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, 1922.
Rag Man, The (1925) - An Honest Boy Impoverished inventor Max Ginsberg (Max Davidson) meets cheeky street urchin Tim (Jackie Coogan) for the first time, early in MGM's The Rag Man, 1925, shot on location in New York.
Rag Man, The (1925) - All But One Opening scene introducing Linda Martinez's original score for TCM, plus hero Jackie Coogan, as escaping orphan Tim, in MGM's silent hit The Rag Man, 1925.
Rag Man, The (1925) - Plenty Raincoats Running out of excuses to stick around, escaped orphan Tim (Jackie Coogan) gets out-of-luck inventor Max (Max Davidson) to open up about his misfortune, in The Rag Man, 1925.
Kid, The (1921) - Five Years Later Leap forward in time and the introduction of Jackie Coogan (title character), and one of the occupations he shares with his de-facto parent, "A Tramp," star and director Charles Chaplin, in The Kid, 1921.

Trailer

Family

Robert Coogan
Brother
Actor. Born December 13, 1925; died 1978.
Leslie Mitchell
Daughter
Manager, comic.
Keith Coogan
Grandson
Actor. Born January 13, 1970.

Companions

Betty Grable
Wife
Actor. Married 1937; divorced 1939.
Flower Parry
Wife
Actor. Married 1941; divorced 1943.
Ann McCormick
Wife
Actor. Married 1946; divorced 1951.
Dorothea Lamphere
Wife
Dancer. Survived him.

Bibliography