Thursday, May 05, 2011

Jackie Cooper, RIP

Jackie Cooper began acting at 3 years old, was nominated for an Academy Award at 8, and worked steadily through his adult years, but he's most well-known to me, and I'm guessing most of my readers, for his tenure as irascible Daily Planet editor Perry White in the four Christopher Reeve-era Superman movies spanning 1978 to 1987. The same way that those of my generation imprinted on Reeve as "our" Superman, I think Cooper will remain the definitive White for a pretty substantial demographic as well, with his blustery proclamation in the first film that any reporter to score a sit-down with Metroplis' new hero will get the biggest exclusive since "God talked to Moses" a nice summation of Cooper's gruff-but-lovable take.

Although he'd been retired from the business for more than two decades now, Cooper's long Hollywood career included time as a network executive, a producer, and a director (even helming some episodes of the syndicated Superboy TV show, produced by the same folks behind the movie series, in the late '80s). Cooper passing away at 88 this past Tuesday marks the loss of yet another icon who lived through some of Tinseltown's most memorable eras. It also marks the second Perry White whose death I've noted on this site, with the first being Lois & Clark's Lane Smith back in '05 (also the very first RIP piece I did here).

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