Saturday, September 17, 2011

Uncle Fester was The Kid!?

Recently I found out Netflix has a bunch of old TV shows available for instant view, Macgyver, The Hulk, The Munsters, and one of my favorites, The Addams Family.

Being the movie nerd that I am, I often go through and look up the whole cast, especially on older movies/shows, just to see where they came from and what they've done.  I learned Grandmama (Blossom Rock) was in vaudeville, Carolyn Jones was married to Aaron Spelling for a while, and then came across a name that sounded familiar although I didn't know why.  Jackie Coogan.

Coogan, born in 1914, Started in silent movies at the age of 3 in 1917's Skinner's Baby.  Charlie Chaplin discovered him goofing around in the Orpheum Theater and immediately cast him as his sidekick for 1921's The Kid. ( Hell with 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, we should have a 6 degrees of Chaplin, the man is related to everything in some way, seems like).

He was one of the first actors promoted through merchandising, the first child actor to sue their parents/ guardians for blowing their earnings (they squandered over 3 million dollars and Chaplin had to help Coogan financially in the 1940's)  and was married to Betty Grable.

I never in a million years would've connected Uncle Fester to such an amazing career.  Unfortunately many of his earlier films have been lost, although TCM released some in the past few years, such as The Rag Man.

Coogan died of a heart attack in 1984 in Santa Monica at the age of 69.

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