Fast Facts

  • Was abandoned by his father at age 2. His mother relied on the young boy's acting salary to provide for the family.
  • At age 9, became the first child actor ever to be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Skippy (1931).
  • Managed to have a second career as a director and producer after serving with the Navy during World War II.
  • Played the crusty newspaper editor Perry White in all four of the Superman films with Christopher Reeve. 
  • Released his autobiography, Please Don't Shoot My Dog, in 1981. The title was inspired by a threat from the Skippy director, who happened to be his uncle, that he would shoot the boy's dog if he couldn't cry during his scenes in the film.


  • 1974, Emmy — Best Directing in Comedy: Winner
  • 1979, Emmy — Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series: Winner
  • 1962, Emmy — Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Series: Nominee
  • 1931, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1961, Emmy — Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Series (Lead): Nominee


  • Barbara Kraus — Wife (deceased)
  • John Cooper — Father
  • Julie Leonard — Aunt
  • Cristina — Daughter
  • Russell — Son
  • Norman Taurog — Uncle
  • Mabel Leonard Bigelow — Mother
  • June Horne — Ex-wife
  • John "Jack" Cooper III — Son
  • Hildy Parks — Ex-wife
  • Julie — Daughter


  • Attended University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN


  • Birth Name: John Cooper, Jr.
  • Birth Place: Los Angeles, CA
  • Birthday: September 15, 1922,
  • Died: May 3, 2011
  • Profession: Actor, Director, Producer
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