Jackie Cooper Dead at 88: 'Skippy' and 'Little Rascals' Child Actor

jackie cooper child star and adult legend 1922 2011

Jackie Cooper 1922-2011

Jackie Cooper died Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 88.  He was the first child star of the talkie era to transition into adult roles.

The Hollywood legend was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role for Skippy in 1931.  Baby boomers will remember him fondly for his appearances in the Little Rascals and Our Gang films, circa 1930-1931, that were aired regularly on television in the 1950's.

After a stint in the Navy during WWII, he began to appear in adult screen roles.  He broke into television in the 50's, staring in the NBC sitcom The People's Choice, and Hennesey.

In the 60's, Cooper was hired by Columbia Pictures as VP of program development, packaging shows to sell to the networks.  One such show was the iconic Bewitched.

He made guest appearances in the 70's on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Rockford Files, Quincy, M.E., Hawaii Five-O.  He won a comedy Emmy for one of the 13 Mash episodes that he directed between 73-74.

In 1978 he appeared as newsman Perry White in the film Superman.  He went on to appear in Superman II, III, and IV.

The 80's had him making guest television appearances on Magnum P.I., Cagney and Lacey, Simon and Simon, and Jake and the Fatman.

Cooper, who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, announced his retirement in 1989.

He is preceded in death by his third wife Barbara Kraus.  They were married from 1954 until her death in 2009.  He is also preceded in death by two daughters, and is survived by two sons.

Check out the iconic photo of Cooper from his early days in film and watch a film clip of the youngster in The Champ, circa 1931:

little rascal

Photos:  WENN