Jackie Coogan

Foto: Jack Freulich (1878-1936)

1914 - 1984


The actor Jackie Coogan was the first child star in film history. Within few years he earned more than four million dollars, an this in the 20's.

He made his film debut at the age of three in "Skinner's Baby" (17) and appeared together with his father at different variety theaters. When he worked in a revue with star swimmer Annette Kellerman he was spotted by Charlie Chaplin, who got him a role in the film "A Day's Pleasure" (19). Inspired by the lively Jackie Coogan, Chaplin shot one of his biggest with "The Kid" (21). With this movie Chaplin became established as a great artist and Jackie Coogan became a star overnight.

Coogan acted absolute natural in front of the camera and was engaged in the following years for successful movies like "Peck's Bad Boy" (21), "Oliver Twist" (22), "Daddy" (23), "Little Robinson Crusoe" (24), "Hello Frisco" (24), "Old Clothes" (25) and "Buttons" (27).

When he reached the puberty his career came to a sudden standstill. Only three years later he was able to continue his career in talkies as a leading actor. He played among others in "Tom Sawyer" (30) and "Huckleberry Finn" (31), but he wasn't able to gain back the favour of the audience. Younger child stars were demanded and Coogan had only few more appearances in movies of the 30's like "Love in September" (36), "College Swing" (38) and "Sky Patrol" (39).

In private Jackie Coogan went through a very difficult time in the 30's. When his father died in 1935, his mother got married with Jackie's business manager Arthur Bernstein. His mother and his stepfather nearly squandered the whole fortune of Coogan and he was forced to file an action against his parents to save the small rest of his fortune. The process finally led to the so-called Coogan law which protected the future earnings of children. In a revised version from January 1st, 2000 it is recorded among others:
The income of a child remains the ownership of the child. 15 % of the gross income, resulting from the professional occupation in sport and entertainment, have to be credited to a trust account of the minor till his full legal age. The person who is responsible for the money of the child have to treat the money with an adequate care.

Jackie Coogan was emotionally crushed by this family conflict, moreover the professional chance didn't look rosy. His marriage with the actress Betty Grable was divorced after two years in 1939. He escaped from the private stress and served in the army during World War II.

He only appeared again as an actor in 1947 in the movie "Kilroy Was Here", it followed the movie "French Leave" (48). But the cinema did no longer uffer him satisfactory roles and he turned to the television. He took part in countless serials but also the cinema went up to him now and then for movies like "Outlaw Women" (52), "The Proud Ones" (56), "The Buster Keaton Story" (57), "High School Confidential!" (58) and "John Goldfarb, Please Come Home" (64). 
Jackie Coogan even directed - evenif not very successful - two movies with the titles"Flugtentil Danmark" (55) and "Escape From Terror" (60), where he also appeared as an actor.

His long for a comeback came with the very popular TV serial "The Addams Family" (64-66), in which hi impersonated uncle Festus.

Jackie Coogan played in his last years of his life in the movies "The Phantom of Hollywood" (74), "The Specialists" (75), "Sherlock Holmes in New York" (76) "The Kids Who Knew Too Much" (80) and "The Escape Artist" (82).

Other movies with Jackie Coogan: 
My Boy (21) Trouble (22) Circus Days (23) Long Live the King (23) A Boy of Flanders (24) The Rag Man (25) Johnny Get Your Hair Cut (27) The Bugle Call (27) Home on the Range (35) Million Dollar Legs (39) SSkipalong Rosenbloom (51) Serie "Cowboy G-Men" (52) Mesa of Lost Women (53) Serie "Matinee Theater: The Old Payola" (56) Serie "Playhouse 90: Forbidden Area" (56) Serie "Playhouse 90: The Star Wagon" (57) Serie "Playhouse 90: Charley's Aunt" (57) Serie "Playhouse 90: The Troublemakers" (57) Eighteen and Anxious (57) The Joker Is Wild (57) No Place to Land (58) The Space Children (58) Serie "The Red Skelton Show: George Appleby's Garage" (58) Serie "Peter Gunn: Keep Smiling" (59) Serie "Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Anniversary Gift" (59) Serie "Hawaiian Eye: Dangerous Eden" (59) Lonelyhearts (59) The Beat Generation (59) Night of the Quarter Moon (59) The Big Operator (59) Sex Kittens Go to College (60) Serie "The Ann Sothern Show: Suprise, Surprise" (60) Serie "The Ann Sothern Show: Wedding March" (60) Serie "Mr. Lucky: Dangerous Lady" (60) Serie "Outlaws: The Rape of Red Sky" (60) Serie "The Tab Hunter Show: I Love a Marine" (60) Serie "Klondike: Halliday's Club" (60) Serie "The Brothers Brannagan: The Damaged Dolls" (60) Serie "The Americans: The Coward" (61) Serie "Perry Mason: The Case of the Crying Comedian" (61) Serie "The Andy Griffith Show: Barney on the Rebound" (61) Serie "Outlaws: The Sisters" (62) When the Girls Take Over (62) Serie "McKeever & the Colonel" (62) Serie "The Dick Powell Show: Thunder is a Forgotten Town" (63) Serie "Perry Mason: The Case of the Witless Witness" (63) Serie "Perry Mason: The Case of the Fifty-Millionth Frenchman" (64) Serie "Burke's Law: Who Killed Annie Foran?" (64) Girl Happy (65) Serie "The Munsters: A Man for Marilyn" (65) Serie "Perry Mason: The Case of the Final Fadeout" (66) Serie "The Virginian: Trail to Ashley Mountain" (66) A Fine Madness (66) Serie "Family Affair: Fat, Fat, the Water Rat" (67) Serie "The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Cutthroats" (67) Serie "The Lucille Ball Show: Lucy Gets Involved" (68) The Shakiest Gun in the West (68) Silent Treatment (68) Marlowe (69) Serie "The Outsider: Tell It Like It Is...And You're Dead" (69) Serie "The Wild Wild West: Night of the Winged Terror" (69) Serie "Seie "Hawaii Five-O: Face of the Dragon" (69) Serie "I Dream of Jeannie: Guess Who's Going to Be a Bride?" (69) Serie "Hawaii FiveO: Which Way Did They Go?" (69) Serie "Julia: Essay Can You See" (70) Seie "The Name of the Game: Man of the People" (70) Serie "Barefoot in the Park. Disorder in the Court" (70) Serie "The Partridge Family: Did You Hear the One About Danny Partridge?" (70) Serie "The Name of the Game: The Glory Shouter" (70) Serie "The Brady Bunch: Double Parked" (71) Serie "Alias Smith and Jones: Dreadful Sorry Clementine" (71) Serie "Adam-12: The Adoption" (72) Serie "Alias Smith and Jones: Which Way to the O.K. Corral?" (72) Serie "Love, American Style: Love and Happy Days" (72) Serie "The Brady Bunch: The Fender Benders" (72) Serie "Emergency!: Trainee" (72) Serie "Alias Smith and Jones: McGuffin" (72) Cool Million (72) Cahill U.S. Marshal (73) Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery (73) Serie "Marcus Welby, M.D.: The Problem With Charlie" (73) Serie "Barnaby Jones: Sing a Song of Murder" (73) Serie "Here's Lucy: Lucy's Tenant" (73) Serie "The Partridge Family: Made in San Bueblo" (73) Serie "Dirty Sally: The Hanging of Cyrus Pike" (74) Serie "Gunsmoke: The Guns of Cibola Blanca" (74) Serie "Police Story: The Witness" (75) Serie "McCoy: Double Take" (75) Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (76) Halloween with the New Addams Family (77) Double Take (79) Human Experiments (80) The Prey (80) Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype (80)