Our Gang's Jackie Cooper Passes at Age 88

Here are links to some of the key obits and remembrances:






At the Blossom Room (site of the first Academy Awards ceremony), inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where Leonard Maltin and I brought Hal Roach on stage to surprise Jackie Cooper during a Q&A session following a screening. Besides their Our Gang connection, during his later years Jackie Cooper spent a lot of time at Santa Anita, which Hal Roach founded. And Cooper was once married to the daughter of Hal Roach Studios director James Horne. In 1984 Cooper participated in presenting Roach with his honorary Oscar, after which Roach reciprocated by helping the Friars Club "roast" Cooper. What a night THAT was!  Losing Jackie Cooper is a sad day. Look at the difference he made in so many films, so many TV shows, for so long, on both sides of the camera. Starting out with lines like this: "Well gee, fullahs, she didn't wear no sign. How did I know she was Miss Crabtree?" Thanks to him, we all know it now. -- Richard W. Bann
Posed between scenes of TEACHER'S PET (1930).       Miss Crabtree (June Marlowe) and happy students in a scene from TEACHER'S PET (1930).
Gag photo from SCHOOL'S OUT (1930) with Allen Hoskins, Chubby Chaney, Jackie Cooper, Mary Ann Jackson and June Marlowe as their teacher, Miss Crabtree.   Jackie and Wheezer at Hal Roach's Arnaz Ranch shooting a scene for TEACHER'S PET (1930).

Jackie Cooper and June Marlowe in what many believe to be the finest of all Our Gang comedies, TEACHER'S PET (1930).

  TEACHER'S PET (1930) -- Jackie, with June Marlowe as Miss Crabtree. In 1984 Cooper told Hal Roach, "Miss Crabtree, bless her soul, she was my ideal."
From LOVE BUSINESS (1931) -- waiting to go inside the schoolhouse, Farina and Jackie. He is holding a still photo signed, "To Jack Cooper From Miss Crabtree."   Jackie Cooper seems to disaprove Norman "Chubby" Chaney calling on Miss Crabtree in this heated scene from LOVE BUSINESS (1931).
HELPING GRANDMA (1931): Farina and Jack.   Posed still from a sadly unrealized project to team Buster Keaton with Our Gang's Jackie Cooper.  
Jackie Cooper and Mickey Rooney, shown turning the tables on the press corps. Cooper was taller, but Rooney was two years and one day older, so he could play younger, longer. This shot was taken after Cooper graduated from Our Gang, and Rooney was at last outgrowing the Mickey McGuire comedies, a competing, copy kid series based on a popular comic strip. Cooper was then the biggest juvenile star in Hollywood and the youngest actor ever to be nominated for an Oscar. Rooney was only a few years away from being voted the number one movie box-office attraction in the world. The two actors had lots in common. They both played the drums, both loved Judy Garland and Lana Turner, and much later both raised thoroughbred horses. They made a couple films together at M-G-M during the 1930s, and Cooper directed Rooney for a 1981 TV movie. In 1996 they got dressed up and made up as kid actors again, one last time, for an amazing Herb Ritts pictorial published in VANITY FAIR.
Also in 1996, Cooper signed a copy of his autobiography, PLEASE DON’T SHOOT MY DOG, to a mutual friend, Bill Shepard, a Disney casting director. Shepard already owned Cooper’s book, but purchased a duplicate. It happened to be the copy Cooper gifted and signed to Rooney in 1981! He either gave it away, or sold it. When I asked Cooper how he regarded what his old friend might have done, he said with a smile, “Hey, there’s nothing new in Hollywood. I didn’t get along with everyone, but Mick’s my friend my whole life; he’s always needed analysis more than I did.” Cooper’s daughter Cris actually burned her signed copy of the book, then regretted it and had to buy one later on Amazon. She did not care for what her father said about her in print, and, among other things, his negative characterization of frequent co-star Wallace Beery came as a shock to her: “Daddy always said that Mr. Beery was a very kind man with ‘simple’ problems.” In fact, “I really disliked him,” Cooper revealed in print. He didn’t wish to disillusion people, but finally told the real story in his book.

Richard W. Bann
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