Jackie Cooper - Personal Life

Personal Life

Cooper served in the United States Navy during World War II and remained active in the reserves for the next several decades, reaching the rank of Captain. He was married three times: first to June Horne from 1944 until 1949, with whom he had one son, John "Jack" Cooper III (born 1946). He was married to Hildy Parks from 1950 until 1951 and to Barbara Kraus from 1954 until her death in 2009. Cooper and Kraus had three children—Russell (born 1956), Julie (1957–1997) and Cristina (1959–2009).

Cooper participated in several automobile racing events, including the record-breaking class D cars at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. He also drove in several SCCA road racing competitions. Cooper was named the honorary starter for the 1976 Winston 500 at the Alabama International Motor Speedway, which is now known as Talladega Superspeedway, in Talladega, Alabama.

Cooper's autobiography, Please Don't Shoot My Dog, was published in 1982. The title refers to an incident during the filming of Skippy. Norman Taurog, while directing Jackie Cooper in a crying scene, ordered a security guard to take away his dog and pretend to shoot him backstage. This resulted in genuine tears, however even after Cooper found out that his dog was fine, he was left with ill feelings towards his uncle. Cooper has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 1501 Vine Street.

Cooper announced his retirement in 1989, although he was still directing episodes of the syndicated series Superboy. He began spending more time training and racing horses at Hollywood Park and outside San Diego during the Del Mar racing season. He lived in Beverly Hills from 1955 to his death. He occasionally returned to the soundstage for retrospective and documentary programs about Hollywood in which he had toiled for the entire sound period to-date, and even some silent films.

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