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“From Sugar Bread to Stardom: This Boy’s Journey to Acting Success and Surprising Wealth Will Amaze You”

 Jackie Coogan, born on October 26, 1914, in Los Angeles, California, and passing on March 1, 1984, in Santa Monica, California, was Hollywood’s first major child star and a beloved figure of the silent-film era. He captured hearts worldwide as the sad-eyed waif in Charlie Chaplin’s iconic film, The Kid (1921).

Born into a showbiz family, with a vaudevillian father and an actress mother, Coogan’s destiny seemed set from the start. His screen debut came at a mere 18 months in Skinner’s Baby (1916).Charlie Chaplin spotted him in a stage act and cast him in The Kid at age six, launching him into stardom. Coogan’s career skyrocketed with roles in hits like Peck’s Bad Boy , My Boy (1921), Oliver Twist , Daddy , and Tom Sawyer . By 1923, he was raking in $22,000 a week, a fortune for the time, and earning 60 percent of the profits from his films.

Tragedy struck in 1935 when Coogan survived a car crash that killed his father and three others. The aftermath revealed that his mother and stepfather had squandered his multi-million-dollar earnings. This led to the California Child Actors Bill, or “Coogan Law,” ensuring child actors’ earnings were protected by law.

During Ww II, Coogan served bravely in the U.S. Army Air Force. In his later years, he found new fans as Uncle Fester in the classic TV series The Addams Family (1964–66). Coogan’s legacy endures, not just for his memorable roles, but for the legal protections his misfortunes helped establish for child actors.

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