Discovered by Charlie Chaplin in 1919, four-year-old Jackie Coogan soared to overnight stardom for his title role in the silent masterpiece, The Kid. A string of successes followed, including Peck's Bad Boy, Oliver Twist, and A Boy of Flanders, earning Coogan a fortune of four million dollars. Dubbed "The Millionaire Kid" by the press, he later had to sue his parents in a futile attempt to recover his squandered fortune. His later years were marked with penury and the cruel diminishment of his childhood fame. As an adult, he found work in character roles and gained unexpected but fleeting fame as "Uncle Fester" in the series The Addams Family. He continued to make guest appearances on television until his death in 1984. In Jackie Coogan: The World's Boy King, Diana Serra Cary reveals the little-known and even less understood private life of this famous child star and his dysfunctional family. She looks at the highs and lows of an actor who reached the height of fame before ten and whose subsequent career took an inevitable fall. Cary also examines the conduct of Coogan's parents, whose behavior served as an unfortunate model for countless others who sought fame and fortune through their children's success. The author, a major child star (the former Baby Peggy), employs her own hard-won insight to explore the career and family woes of another in this fascinating account about one of the greatest child stars of all time. Includes more than 30 photos.
About the Author
Diana Serra Cary is the former child star known as Peggy-Jean Montgomery. She is currently a full-time writer and professional speaker. In 2002 she received The Hubbard Award by the Niles Essanay Museum Association for her contributions to film history. In 1996 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Cinecon. She is the author of numerous books including Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy?
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Acknowledgments Chapter 3 Chapter 1 "Baby Lillian" Chapter 4 Chapter 2 On the Road Chapter 5 Chapter 3 The Man in the Front Row Seat Chapter 6 Chapter 4 The Genius Chapter 7 Chapter 5 Inside the Cathedral Chapter 8 Chapter 6 "Owning the Store" Chapter 9 Chapter 7 Fame, Friends, and Family Chapter 10 Chapter 8 The Boy King Chapter 11 Chapter 9 The Regency Chapter 12 Chapter 10 In the Limelight Chapter 13 Chapter 11 "Introducing Dad" Chapter 14 Chapter 12 Death and Drama in the Real World Chapter 15 Chapter 13 Fatal Turn Chapter 16 Chapter 14 Aftershocks Chapter 17 Chapter 15 The Great Betrayal Chapter 18 Chapter 16 Picking Up the Pieces Chapter 19 Chapter 17 Behind Enemy Lines Chapter 20 Chapter 18 Second Honeymoon Chapter 21 Chapter 19 Uncle Fester, Big Daddy, and King Lear Chapter 22 Chapter 20 The "Coogan Legend": An Assessment Chapter 23 Filmography Chapter 24 Bibliography Chapter 25 Index Chapter 26 About the Author
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A constant surprise and a compulsive read. Highly recommended.