Child Star, Actor/ Director Jackie Cooper Dies

By: From CBS News
By: From CBS News

LOS ANGELES (CBS) -- Jackie Cooper, the former child movie star who won a best actor Oscar nomination at the age of 9 for "Skippy" and grew up to play The Daily Planet editor in Christopher Reeves' four "Superman" movies, has died. He was 88.

Cooper died from an undisclosed illness Tuesday at a Los Angeles hospital, agent Ronnie Leif said.

A handsome kid with tousled blond hair and a winning smile, Cooper had a memorable bit in the 1929 musical "Sunny Side Up" and appeared in eight of the popular "Our Gang" comedies, including "Pups Is Pups" and "Teacher's Pet." Those credits led to a test that won him the title role of "Skippy."

Cooper became the youngest actor to ever be nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award, when he was nominated at the age of 9 for his work in the 1931 film "Skippy."

In later years, Cooper served as a VP of program development for Columbia Pictures' Screen Gems division. He also worked behind the screen as a director, and won two Emmy Awards for directing work on "M*A*S*H*" and "The White Shadow."

As an actor, Cooper experienced renewed fame as gruff newspaper editor Perry White in the "Superman" film series of the late '70s and early '80s. He announced his retirement in 1989.

Born John Cooper Jr. in Los Angeles in 1922, he was married three times, to June Horne from 1944 to 1949; to Hildy Parks from 1950 to 1951; and to Barbara Kraus from 1954 until her passing in 2009.

In all, Cooper had four children, though he outlived his two daughters, Julie and Cristina. Cooper is survived by sons John and Russell.

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