The Oscar-nominated former child star leaves a storied Hollywood legacy

Jackie Cooper, 88, the Oscar-nominated former child actor who starred in 1931’s The Champ and as a Little Rascal in the Our Gang shorts, died May 3 at a Los Angeles hospital. In addition to playing Perry White in all four Christopher Reeve Superman films, Cooper wrote one of Hollywood’s most memorable autobiographies, 1981’s Please Don’t Shoot My Dog, in which he chronicled his (sometimes wild) life as a child star. Here, he recalls a May-December encounter with Mommie Dearest herself, Joan Crawford.

”I was seventeen, and I began to go over to Joan Crawford’s house to play badminton…. I was brash, fresh from some romantic triumph, I suppose, and I made some remark which I assumed was sophisticated, witty, and very sexually provocative. ‘You had better get out of here, young man,’ she said. But I didn’t go. Instead, I made a move toward her, and she stood up, looked at me appraisingly, and then closed all the drapes. And I made love to Joan Crawford. Or, rather, she made love to me.”