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Jackie Coogan was born in 1914. His is one of the saddest Hollywood stories, but amazingly he mostly overcame his great tragedies. A child actor from a family of actors (both parents and younger brother, Robert), Coogan was spotted by Charlie Chaplin and given the title role in The Kid in 1921 when Coogan was just 6. The movie was a huge success, and throughout the 1920s Coogan was one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. His career wound down in his teen years, and as he approached his 21st birthday, tragedy struck. He was in a car with his father and best friend (actor Junior Durkin) and they crashed, and his father and Durkin were killed. Coogan's mother married his business manager, and when Coogan turned 21 he requested the millions he had earned, and he discovered his mother had no legal obligation to give it to him! Years later California would create the Child Actors Bill (known as the Coogan Act), which protects the earnings of child actors. Amazingly, Coogan bounced back. Two years later he married Betty Grable, and made a few movies. But then he divorced Grable and served in World War II and when he returned from the war, he discovered his career in movies was mostly over. A decade later he started playing minor roles as villains in movies, and in 1964 he landed the role of Uncle Fester on TV's "The Addams Family", and that not only made him financially secure, but is likely the role he is best remembered for, in spite of his many major successes as a child and as a teen! Some of his movies include: The Kid (in the title role), The Joker Is Wild, and Oliver Twist. He passed away in 1984 at the age of 69.
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