You can go through the history of the young cast members of The Little Rascals and come away from it either shaking your head with pity at the fates that befell many of them or wonder how they could have just disappeared from the business the way that they did. While there were, of course, happy endings among some of them, it\u2019s tough to think of anyone who flourished in the same way that Jackie Cooper did and why he\u2019s so favorably remembered. And this despite the fact, whether or not you realize it, many of his installments of the Our Gang film series are tough to come by. In an in-depth video interview from 1999, Jackie shared that he began appearing in the shorts as they were transitioning from silent to sound. \u201cIt was between 1928 and 1929 and sound was just coming in,\u201d he said. \u201cThat\u2019s why the ones I\u2019m in aren\u2019t played very much today. When they are on TV, you have to turn your TV way up when you watch, and if you do, you hear a lot of the off-stage noises. You know, traffic in the distance and so forth. And you hear the director saying things like, \u2018Turn around, Jack.\u2019 They couldn\u2019t get the directors used to sound; they were so used to directing these kids in silent films, so not many of those get played.\u201d RELATED: Here's What Happened to Spanky from 'The Little Rascals' as Told by a Close Friend Something else that allowed Jackie to stand out from anyone else, is that at age 9, he was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Actor for the 1931 film Skippy. For nearly half a century he remained the youngest person ever nominated. Becoming a \u2018Rascal\u2019 LOVE BUSINESS, from left, Jackie Cooper, Norman 'Chubby' Chaney, 1931 Jackie was born on September 15, 1922, in Los Angeles to a showbiz family. His mother was a stage pianist, his stepfather a studio production manager, and his maternal aunt and uncle respectively an actress (married to director Norman Taurog) and screenwriter. On top of that, his grandmother was an aspiring actress (and happy enough to be cast as an extra) who would sometimes take him with her on auditions. Jackie himself would be hired at age 3 in a series of Lloyd Hamilton comedies and came to be known as \u201cLeonard.\u201d Through recommendations, he was given an audition by Hal Roach and hired in 1929 to a three-year contract. Jackie Cooper, 1932 His first short was \u201cBoxing Gloves,\u201d which wrote out Joe Cobb and ushered in Norman \u201cChubby\u201d Chaney. Originally intended to be more of a background player, Jackie\u2019s personality and performances quickly moved him to center stage \u2014 most memorably in \u201cLove Business,\u201d in which he and Chubby compete for the affection of Miss Crabtree (June Marlowe). Louis B. Mayer, Jackie Cooper signing contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1931 In 1931, Hal Roach \u2014 who certainly knew how to make a deal \u2014 agreed to \u201cloan\u201d Jackie to Paramount Pictures to star in the film Skippy, which was going to be directed by his uncle Norman. At the time, Jackie was being paid $50 a week, but Roach was paid $25,000 for the young actor\u2019s services. Following Jackie\u2019s Academy Award nomination, his contract ended up getting sold to Louis B. Meyer of MGM and he was out of Our Gang after shooting only 15 episodes (though admittedly it feels like much more). The Next Stage SEVENTEEN, US lobbycard, from left: Betty Field, Jackie Cooper, 1940 Jackie worked steadily throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, but the quality of roles began to diminish and he decided not to push it, recognizing, as he relayed to film historian Leonard Maltin, that he\u2019d never really had the opportunity to test what kind of actor he was. \u201cKids didn\u2019t act in the movies when I was a kid,\u201d he explained. \u201cOne kid has a unique voice, another has a disarming smile, another has a pathetic kisser and looks underprivileged. Whenever they want a certain quality in a kid they hire one who has it. And if you\u2019re successful, nobody wants you to change. After a while you get conditioned, and it\u2019s a miracle if you ever amount to anything as an adult actor.\u201d HENNESEY, Jackie Cooper, 1959-62 Well, Jackie did. It began with him enlisting in the Navy in World War II, through which he really did grow up. By the time he got out, he\u2019d decided to treat his career far more seriously. One of the first things he did was star in a 1950 Boston production of Mister Roberts as Ensign Pulver. He also took on a pair of TV sitcoms, 1955\u2019s The People\u2019s Choice and 1959 to 1962\u2019s military comedy-drama Hennesey. But then he went in an unexpected direction by, after making a number of guest appearances on a variety of shows, becoming vice president of program development at Columbia Pictures\u2019 Screen Gems TV division, a position he held from 1964 to 1969. His job was to put TV series \u201cpackages\u201d together, the most memorable of which was Bewitched. SUPERMAN, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper, 1978 From there, he would star in TV movies, play Daily Planet Editor-in-Chief Perry White in the Christopher Reeve Superman films, and spend much of the late 1970s and 1980s working behind the camera as a director, earning a pair of Emmys for his work on M*A*S*H and The White Shadow. In his private life, he was married three times and was the father of four. He died on May 3, 2011, of natural causes at the age of 88. But looking back at it all, one has to imagine that it was very much a full and rich life.