by Fred T. Beeman
Jackie Cooper, the former Emmy®-winning director who survived childhood stardom in the 1930s, died Tuesday, May 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, at 88.
Mr. Cooper was a veteran of the Hal Roach "Our Gang" comedies and a few Wallace Beery movies, such as "Treasure Island." He set a record which still stands to this day, when he became the youngest-ever Oscar® nominee (at age 9) for his appearance in "Skippy" (1931).
He entered television during the Golden Age, starring in "The People's Choice" (1955-58), and "Hennesey," (1959-62), both comedies. He also did a turn as a TV news reporter in a short-lived dramatic series, “Mobile One” (1975).
When the late actor Keenan Wynn was unable (due to illness) to play the role of Daily Planet Editor-in-Chief Perry White, Jackie Cooper easily filled the role in all four of the Christopher Reeve “Superman” films.
His best-selling memoir about his exploits as a kid actor was titled, "Please Don't Shoot My Dog" (1981, written with Dick Kleiner), because his real-life uncle, director Norman Taurog, got him to cry on cue by pretending to have his dog "shot," offstage.
His long career also included a stint in the US Navy during World War II in the Pacific Theater, which would later serve him well when he portrayed a Naval doctor in the “Hennesey“ TV series.
We’ll truly miss this “success story,” and extend our deepest sympathies to everyone who knew him intimately, and those who benefited most from the immeasurable impact he had on our profession.