Though he was known mostly to younger movie audiences as Perry White in the Superman" series, Roddy McDowall called him the most gifted child star in movie history. In fact, he is the only actor ever to have been nominated for a Best Actor or Actress Academy Award before his 18th birthday. Jackie Cooper was born John Cooperman, Jr. on September 15, 1921 (although the year has also been reported as 1922). He definitely came from a movie family, as his father was a studio production manager and his mother a stage pianist. His grandmother took him with her to auditions for bit parts. He got his first part in a movie directed by his uncle, Norman Taurog (Oscar-nominated director of "Boys Town").
He later appeared as "Jackie" in 15 "Our Gang" features. His first big role was in "Skippy," also directed by his uncle. Taurog won the Best Director Oscar for the film, and Jackie won that famous Oscar nomination for his acting, making him one of MGM's top stars. Jackie appeared opposite Wallace Beery in "The Champ" (1931), "The Bowery" (1933), "Treasure Island" (1934), and "O'Shaughnessy's Boy" (1935). Other films included "Sooky" (1931), "When a Feller Needs a Friend" (1932), "Peck's Bad Boy" (1934), "The Devil Is a Sissy" (1936), "Boy of the Streets" (1937), "Gangster's Boy" (1938), "Streets of New York" (1939), "The Return of Frank James" (1940), and "Ziegfeld Girl" (1941). He was the first to play Henry Aldrich, in "What a Life!" (1939). Like many child stars, his popularity ebbed when he reached adolescence, and in 1943, Jackie joined the war effort, rising to the rank of captain in the Navy. After the war, he found it tough going in Hollywood, and moved to TV, where he found success as not only an actor, but also a producer and director. He directed episodes of "M*A*S*H" and "The White Shadow" and at one time was Screen Gems' executive in charge of production.
Before he retired, he appeared as Perry White in the "Superman" films. Jackie has four children, including three by his current wife, Barbara. He is retired and living in California