John Leslie Coogan, also known as Jackie Coogan was born on 26th October 1914, in Los Angeles, California. He comes from a show business family and his father, John H. Coogan was a dancer, whereas his mother Lillian Dolliver a child star. The Coogan family decided to move from Los Angeles, and they went to New York. When he was only four, Jackie appeared in a theater for the first time, and one year later, he started touring with his family in vaudeville shows.
Charlie Chaplin needed a perfect child companion for his movie “The Kid,” and he found one in Coogan. He immediately recognized Jackie’s talents. In March 1941, Coogan enlisted in the US Army, and after the Pearl Harbor attack, he was transferred to United States Army Air Forces upon his request. He graduated from glider school, and he volunteered for a dangerous task with the 1st Air Commando Group. By the end of 1943, the unit was sent to India.
Jackie flew with the Brits under General Orde Charles Wingate, and they landed at night in a small jungle clearing just about 100 meters behind the Japanese lines. Wingate was a highly devout man, and he became a supporter of Zionism because he wanted to help the Jewish community as he felt that to be his call. He was training members of the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary organization that would become the Israel Defense Forces in 1948. One man who separated himself from the others was General Moshe Dayan, who was a member of the Haganah. He created Chindits, airborne deep-penetration troops that work best when behind the enemy lines. Meanwhile, Wingate died in a plane crash in 1944.
Jackie Coogan survived the war, and he passed away in 1984 of cardiac arrest, aged 69. He is buried on Culver City’s Holy Cross Cemetery.