Merian C. Cooper is a Actor, Director, Scriptwriter, Associate Producer, Director of Photography and Presenter American born on 24 october 1893 at Jacksonville (USA)
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Birth name Merian Caldwell CooperNationality USABirth 24 october 1893
at Jacksonville (USA
)Death 21 april 1973
(at 79 years) at San Diego (USA
)Creator of Argosy Pictures
Merian Caldwell Cooper (October 24, 1893 – April 21, 1973) was an American aviator, United States Air Force and Polish Air Force officer, adventurer, screenwriter, film director and producer. His most famous film was the 1933 movie King Kong.
Merian Caldwell Cooper was born to John C. Cooper, an American of English descent, and the former Mary Caldwell, in Jacksonville, Florida. He was educated at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1912 but resigned in 1915 (his senior year) in a dispute over his belief in air power which the Navy did not share. In 1916, he joined the Georgia National Guard to help chase Pancho Villa in Mexico.
World War I
Cooper served as a DH-4 bomber pilot with the United States Army Air Service during World War I. He was shot down and captured by the Germans, serving out the remainder of the war in a POW camp. Captain Cooper remained in the Air Service after the war, despite serious burns to his arms incurred in the crash of his DH-4. In January 1919, while on special duty with the American Red Cross in France, he located the grave of Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr., America's second-highest-scoring ace of World War I, near the village of Murvaux.
From late 1919 until the 1921 Treaty of Riga, Cooper was a member of a volunteer American flight squadron, the Kościuszko Squadron, which supported the Polish Army in the Polish-Soviet War. On July 26, 1920, his plane was shot down, and he spent nearly 9 months in a Soviet prisoner of war camp, where he was interviewed by the writer Isaac Babel. He escaped just before the war was over and made it to Latvia. For valor he was decorated by Polish commander-in-chief Józef Piłsudski with the highest Polish military decoration, the Virtuti Militari.
During his time as a POW, Cooper wrote an autobiography: Things Men Die For by "C". He turned the manuscript over to Dagmar Matson to type for publisher submission. It was submitted to G. P. Putnam's Sons in New York (the Knickerbocker Press) in 1927 and published that same year. Just after the book's release, he changed his mind about releasing the personal details about "Nina" (Małgorzata Słomczyńska, his out of wedlock relation in Poland) and asked Dagmar to buy up every copy that she could find. She managed to acquire most of the 5,000 copies that had been released. Cooper and Dagmar each kept a copy, while the rest were eventually destroyed. Dagmar sent Nina money every month, on behalf of Cooper, until his death.
Pan American Airways
Cooper was a founding member of the board of directors of Pan American Airways, serving on the board for decades. He was a pioneer in the use of aircraft, military and civilian. During his tenure at Pan Am, the company established the first regularly scheduled transatlantic service.
World War II
He re-enlisted and was commissioned a colonel in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He served with Col. Robert L. Scott in India as a logistics liaison for the Doolittle Raid. They then went to Dinjan Airfield, Assam, and with Col. Caleb V. Haynes, a bomber pilot, set up the Assam-Burma-China Ferrying Command, which was the origin of The Hump Airlift. He later served in China as chief of staff for General Claire Chennault of the China Air Task Force – precursor of the Fourteenth Air Force – then from 1943 to 1945 in the Southwest Pacific as chief of staff for the Fifth Air Force's Bomber Command.
Leading many missions and carefully planning them to minimize loss of life, he was known for his hard work and relentless planning. At the end of the war, he was promoted to brigadier general. For his contributions, he was also aboard the USS Missouri to witness Japan's surrender.
In the 1950s he supported Joseph McCarthy in his crusade to root out Communists in Hollywood and Washington, D.C. Cooper died of cancer in San Diego.
Cooper was the father of Polish translator and writer Maciej Słomczyński. He later married film actress Dorothy Jordan.