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Merian C. Cooper DIRECTOR


Merian Coldwell Cooper was born October 24, 1893 in Jacksonville, Florida. During World War I he served as a bomber pilot for the United States Army Air Service, but was shot down and spent the remainder of the war in a prisoner of war camp. After the war ended, he became a volunteer for the Kościuszko Squadron, which supported Poland during the Polish-Soviet War. Here he met best friend and producing partner Ernest B. Schoedsack. On July 26, 1920, his plane was shot down and he spent nine months in a Soviet POW camp. He finally escaped from the camp just before the draw of the war, and was showered with multiple military awards.

He then decided to begin creating movies with Schoedsck. They made a couple documentaries for Paramount Pictures first: "Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life" (1925) and "Chang: A Drama of the West" (1927). Cooper went on his own following the release of his two first pictures, but continued to frequently collaborate with his wartime friend.

He filmed, directed, produced, or helped write a number of pictures like "The Four Feathers" (1929), "Roar of the Dragon" (1932), "The Phantom of Crestwood" (1932), and "The Monkey's Paw" (1933) before once again working with Schoedsack on their incredibly successful "King Kong" (1933). The horror classic showed Cooper's technical innovation, which he would continue to improve on. In fact, he helped pave the way to such inventions as Technicolor and the widescreen showing process called Cinerama.

After "King Kong", Cooper gave up directing to focus solely on producing, as he had succeeded friend David O. Selznick as president of production for RKO. He remained as so until 1936, turning out such features as "Aggie Appleby Maker of Men" (1933), "Success at Any Price" (1934), "She" (1935), and "Dancing Pirate" (1936). Selznick then gave Cooper the title of vice-president at his own production company, Selznick International Pictures.

When World War II broke out, the filmmaker enlisted and became chief of staff to General Claire Chennault in China. When he finally retired from the military after the war, he was named a brigadier general in the US Air Force. Cooper returned to making films in 1947, teaming up with western director John Ford to form Argosy Productions. Together they produced such hits as "The Fugitive" (1947), "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1949), "Wagon Master" (1950), "Rio Grande" (1950), Best Picture Oscar nominated "The Quiet Man" (1952), and "The Searchers" (1956). As well, Cooper produced Schoedsack's King Kong-esque adventure film "Mighty Joe Young" (1949).

His final production efforts were the documentaries "Seven Wonders of the World" (1956) and "Best of Cinerama" (1963), although his writings and storylines for "King Kong" have been interpreted and redone multiple times in films like "King Kong Lives" (1986), "Mighty Joe Young" (1998), and "King Kong" (2005). Cooper died on April 21, 1973 in San Diego, California due to cancer. For his great work in the motion picture industry, he was awarded with both an Honorary Award from the Academy Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

2005       King Kong 

2005       Kong: King of Atlantis 

2000       Kong: The Animated Series

2000       Kong 

1998       Mighty Joe Young 

1998       The Mighty Kong

1986       King Kong Lives 

1976       King Kong 

1963       Best of Cinerama

1956       Seven Wonders of the World

1956       The Searchers

1953       The Sun Shines Bright 

1952       This Is Cinerama 

1952       The Quiet Man

1950       Rio Grande 

1950       Wagon Master 

1949       She Wore a Yellow Ribbon 

1949       Mighty Joe Young 

1948       3 Godfathers 

1948       Fort Apache 

1947       The Fugitive

1940       Dr. Cyclops 

1938       The Toy Wife

1936       Dancing Pirate

1935       The Last Days of Pompeii 

1935       She 

1934       Kentucky Kernels 

1934       Finishing School 

1934       Sing and Like It 

1934       This Man Is Mine  

1934       Success at Any Price

1934       Spitfire

1934       Keep 'Em Rolling 

1934       The Lost Patrol 

1934       Hips, Hips, Hooray! 

1934       Two Alone 

1934       Long Lost Father  

1934       The Meanest Gal in Town

1934       Stingaree 

1933       Flying Down to Rio 

1933       The Son of Kong 

1933       If I Were Free 

1933       The Right to Romance 

1933       Little Women 

1933       Chance at Heaven 

1933       After Tonight 

1933       Ace of Aces 

1933       Headline Shooter 

1933       Aggie Appleby Maker of Men 

1933       Flaming Gold 

1933       Ann Vickers

1933       Midshipman Jack

1933       Rafter Romance 

1933       One Man's Journey 

1933       Blind Adventure

1933       Morning Glory 

1933       No Marriage Ties 

1933       Before Dawn 

1933       Double Harness

1933       Flying Devils 

1933       Bed of Roses 

1933       Emergency Call 

1933       Melody Cruise 

1933       Professional Sweetheart

1933       Cross Fire 

1933       Diplomaniacs

1933       The Silver Cord 

1933       King Kong 

1933       Lucky Devils

1933       The Monkey's Paw

1932       Roar of the Dragon

1932       The Phantom of Crestwood

1932       The Most Dangerous Game    

1931       Gow the Killer 

1929       Captain Salisbury's Ra-Mu 

1929       The Four Feathers 

1928       Gow the Head Hunter

1927       Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness 

1925       Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life   

Matinee Classics - Fort Apache
Matinee Classics - King Kong starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher, Sam Hardy and Noble Johnson
Matinee Classics - Merian C. Cooper
Matinee Classics - Mighty Joe Young starring Terry Moore, Ben Johnson, Robert Armstrong, Frank McHugh, Douglas Fowley, Denis Green, Paul Guilfoyle, Nestor Paiva, Regis Toomey, Lora Lee Michel and Paul Stader

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