Child star Jackie Cooper dies aged 88

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The actor Jackie Cooper, who survived a tumultuous childhood as an Oscar-nominated star to enjoy a varied career as a television executive, director, and Superman sidekick, has died near Los Angeles. He was 88.

Cooper succumbed to complications of old age at a convalescent home in Santa Monica on Tuesday, his attorney, Roger Licht, said. He starred in more than 100 movies and television shows before retiring from Hollywood more than 20 years ago. Cooper's life outside Hollywood was just as interesting. He served in the US Navy during the Second World War, and retired with the rank of captain from the reserves in the 1980s.

He never really shed the pug nose and firm chin that endeared him to millions of Americans during the Depression, when he starred as a prominent cast member of Hal Roach's Our Gang short comedy films. At the twilight of his career, Cooper played grizzled Daily Planet editor Perry White in the 1978 Superman movie and its sequels.

Born John Cooper, Jnr in Los Angeles, he got his start in Hollywood when his much-loathed grandmother dragged him around studio lots for day work as an extra. His Our Gang work led to a starring role in the 1931 film Skippy, in which he made film history by becoming the youngest male performer to be nominated for Best Actor Oscar at the age of nine.