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Silent Era Home Page  >  Books  >  Jackie Coogan, The World’s Boy King: A Biography of Hollywood’s Legendary Child Star
 

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Jackie Coogan
The World’s Boy King:
A Biography of
Hollywood’s Legendary
Child Star

By Diana Serra Cary

 

BOOK REVIEW

Jackie Coogan, The World’s Boy King: A Biography of Hollywood’s Legendary Child Star
By Diana Serra Cary

The Scarecrow Press Inc. : Lanham, Maryland, and Oxford, England : 2003
ISBN 0-8108-4650-0 : 269 pages : hardcover : $39.95

The Scarecrow Press Inc. : Lanham, Maryland, and Oxford, England : 2003
ISBN 0-8108-5911-4 : 216 pages : trade paperback : $22.95

Reviewed by Carl Bennett
This well-written biography of Jackie Coogan, the well-known child star who rocketed to fame in his third film appearance, Charles Chaplin’s The Kid (1921), covers in detail Coogan’s early success, his troubled adult years, and his later years as a character actor on film and in television. Tragically detailed are the circumstances of the power struggles between Coogan’s parents culminating in later laws that intended to protect the future of child actors from mismanaged assets controlled by managers and their own parents.

Well-known is the story of the millionaire boy who came of age, only to discover that his parents and investment managers had frittered away his fortune leaving virtually nothing. Not so well-known are the details that Cary has uncovered and documented in this compelling account of Jackie Coogan’s ultimately star-crossed life. Near-poverty living conditions and alcoholism are intriguingly juxopposed with flush times in latter-day club acts, self-confident military service as a WWII glider pilot, and brief moments of senior serenity. Cary’s prose is engaging and her research respectable in this highly-recommended book that includes a Coogan filmography compiled by Richard E. Braff.

 
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