Who is Jackie Cooper? I don't care. I'll tell you a better story, about Jackie Coogan. Why? Because I made a small mistake, and found a great story.
Coogan, you may not have known, married Betty Grable, flew gliders for the Air Force in WW2 in Burma, and was Uncle Fester.
As a child star, Coogan earned an estimated $3 to $4 million, but the money was taken by his mother, Lilian, and stepfather, Arthur Bernstein, for extravagances such as fur coats, diamonds, and cars. Coogan sued them in 1938 (aged 23), but after legal expenses, he only received $126,000 of the approximately $250,000 remaining. When Coogan fell on hard times, Charlie Chaplin gave him some financial support.
The legal battle brought attention to child actors and resulted in the state of California enacting the California Child Actor's Bill, sometimes known as the Coogan Bill or the Coogan Act. This requires that the child's employer set aside 15% of the child's earnings in a trust, and codifies such issues as schooling, work hours and time-off. Coogan's mother and stepfather claimed the child was having fun and thought he was playing. However, virtually every child star from Baby Peggy on has stated that they were keenly aware that what they were doing was work.
Coogan took up the cause of the Armenians, Greeks, and others made destitute during the horrors of the First World War, working along with Near East Relief. He toured across the United States and Europe in 1924 on a "Children's Crusade" as part of a fundraising drive, which ended up providing more than $1,000,000 in clothing, food, and other contributions (worth more than $13 million adjusted for 2010 dollars). Coogan was honored by officials in the US, Greece, and Rome, where he met with the Pope. info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Coogan
Photo from http://caughtatthecurb.blogspot.com/2011/04/movie-stars-and-their-cars.html#more