Classic Hollywood #75 – Child Star Jackie Cooper

Young Jackie Cooper Signs A Big Contract With MGM – 1931

Jackie Cooper child star signs contract with MGM Louis B MayerYoungest Long-Termer

Hollywood, Calif – Jack Cooper, seven-year-old hero of “Skippy” and the most promising youngster in Hollywood is earning the distinction of being the youngest star to have a long term contract as he prepares to put his “John Hancock” on the important looking document being held by Luis B. Mayer, vice-president of a leading motion picture company. While the salary was not disclosed it is believed there was an unprecedented number of naughts after the first figure to make him the highest paid youngster in the United States. His first thought after walking around the movie lot following the signing was to organize a football team. – (credit: International Newsreel Photo,  June 9, 1931

Being a minor Jackie Cooper could not legally sign his contract, his parents were the real signers. While Jackie Cooper was not the first child star, he was one of the few who was able to transcend child stardom and have a full career in the motion picture business. We covered Jackie Cooper’s life previously, here.  Like our previous Classic Hollywood #74 featuring Elizabeth Taylor, Cooper had immediate success including a best actor Oscar nomination in 1931 for The Champ.

Cooper’s big contract was soon eclipsed by Shirley Temple. But he was almost as busy as Temple, making over a dozen films over the next five years for MGM. After Cooper’s contract expired, Louis B. Mayer let it be known that he thought Cooper was bland as a juvenile actor.

One note, Cooper was actually eight-years-old, when signing the contract, not seven as the press photo claims.

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