Jackie Coogan- From the child star in Chaplin’s The Kid through WWII flight officer to Uncle Fester in Adams Familly

 
 
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After the war, Coogan returned to acting, taking mostly character roles and appearing on television. From 1952 to 1953, he played Stoney Crockett on the syndicated series Cowboy G-Men.

He guest-starred on NBC’s The Martha Raye Show. He appeared too, as Corbett, in two episodes of NBC’s The Outlaws with Barton MacLane, which aired from 1960–1962. In the 1960–1961 season, he guest-starred in the episode “The Damaged Dolls” of the syndicated crime drama The Brothers Brannagan.

In 1961, he guest-starred in an episode of The Americans, an NBC series about family divisions stemming from the Civil War. He also appeared in episode 37, titled “Barney on the Rebound”, of The Andy Griffith Show, which aired October 31, 1961.

He had a regular role in a 1962–63 NBC series, McKeever and the Colonel. He finally found his most famous television role as Uncle Fester in ABC’s The Addams Family (1964–1966). He appeared as a police officer in the Elvis Presley comedy Girl Happy in 1965.

Image of Jackie Coogan, cropped from a publicity photo of Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester) Source
Image of Jackie Coogan, cropped from a publicity photo of Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester) Source

The legal battle focused attention on child actors and resulted in the 1939 enactment of the California Child Actor’s Bill, often referred to as the ‘Coogan Law’ or the ‘Coogan Act.’ It required that a child actor’s employer set aside 15% of the earnings in a trust (called a Coogan account), and specified the actor’s schooling, work hours, and time-off.

He appeared four times on the Perry Mason series, including the role of political activist Gus Sawyer in the 1963 episode, “The Case of the Witless Witness”, and TV prop man Pete Desmond in the final episode, “The Case of the Final Fadeout”, in 1966.

He was a guest several times on The Red Skelton Show, appeared twice on the The Brady Bunch (“The Fender Benders” and “Double Parked”), I Dream of Jeannie (as Jeannie’s uncle, Suleiman – Maharaja of Basenji),Family Affair, Here’s Lucy and The Brian Keith Show, and continued to guest-star on television (including multiple appearances on The Partridge Family, The Wild Wild West, and Hawaii Five-O) until his retirement in the middle 1970s.

Coogan was married four times, and had four children. His first three marriages to actresses were short lived. He and Betty Grable were engaged in 1935 and married on November 20, 1937,  and they divorced less than two years later on October 11, 1939.

After suffering from heart and kidney ailments, Coogan succumbed to heart failure on March 1, 1984, at age 69 in Santa Monica, California. He had been undergoing kidney dialysis when his blood pressure dropped. Coogan was taken to Santa Monica Hospital, where he had a heart attack and expired