Although he eventually reconciled with his mother and stepfather after the lawsuit over his earnings, things were never the same, and his advice to future child stars was "stay away from mothers."
Always considered his proudest moment his 1972 reunion with Charles Chaplin. After two decades of exile from the U.S., Chaplin returned to the United States in March of that year to receive the Handel Medallion in New York City and a special lifetime achievement Oscar in Hollywood. Coogan was one of several people on hand to greet Chaplin when he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport. After greeting the other members of the party with perfunctory handshakes, Chaplin, immediately recognizing Coogan (whom he hadn't seen in decades), warmly embraced him, saying, "You know, I think I would rather see you than anybody else." Chaplin later told Coogan's wife, "You must never forget that your husband is a genius.".
Biography in "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives., Volume One, 1981-1985," pp. 174-176. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
Biography in "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pp. 116. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387.
During his service in the U.S. Army, in March, 1944, he served in the China-Burma-India Theater as the pilot of a CG-4A Waco (a wood-and-canvas transport glider).
Ex-stepfather of Don Stroud.
Grandfather of actor Keith Coogan.
He was engaged to stunning actress Toby Wing in 1935. When approached for autographs while dating her he would often write inscriptions backward to impress her, more or less confusing the autograph seeker. They eventually broke up over differences in their temperaments, just adding to 1935 being probably the single worst year of his life given his father's death and mother's refusal to pay out his childhood earnings.
His contract with Metro earned him $1 million per year. After money problems with his parents, he helped organize the Coogan Bill, which protected child actors from such abuse in the future.
In "The Addams Family" (1992), a hardware shop was named "Coogan's" in his honor.
In 1935, at age 21, he had the traumatic experience of losing his father, Jack Coogan Sr., and his best friend, actor Junior Durkin, when both were killed in an auto accident in the California mountains. Durkin died almost instantly at the scene, and Coogan Sr., who had been driving, a few hours later at a local hospital. Jackie, though badly injured, was the sole survivor of the accident. He would later call it the single saddest day of his life.
Interviewed in "Talking to the Piano Player: Silent Film Stars, Writers and Directors Remember" by Stuart Oderman (BearManor Media).
Jackie Coogan found great success as a television actor, most notably as as Uncle Fester in ABC's The Addams Family (1964-1966). He also had a regular role in a 1962-1963 NBC series, McKeever and the Colonel, and also appeared a number of times on the Perry Mason series, and once on Emergency! He also was featured in an episode of The Brady Bunch ("The Fender Benders"), I Dream of Jeannie (as Jeannie's uncle, Suleiman - Maharaja of Basenji), Family Affair, Here's Lucy and The Brian Keith Show, and he continued to guest star on television (including multiple appearances on The Partridge Family, The Wild Wild West and Hawaii Five-O) until his retirement in the mid-'70s.
Older brother of Robert Coogan.
The youngest self-made millionaire in history.
Uncle of Jonathan Coogan.
Was engaged to starlet Toby Wing during much of 1935. The two broke up when Coogan went into a depression complicated by alcohol abuse after discovering his mother and stepfather squandered his childhood fortune.
When he was cast as Uncle Fester on "The Addams Family" (1964), Coogan was fifty years old and nearly broke. After the show ended in 1966, he never lacked work again, with numerous TV and film appearances.