Merian C. Cooper

Aviator + Actor + Director and Producer
Born Oct 24, 1893

Merian Caldwell Cooper 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.

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Merian C. Cooper.


1893 Birth Born on October 24, 1893.


1911 17 Years Old 1 More Event
He was educated at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and graduated in 1911.


1916 22 Years Old In 1916, Cooper joined the Georgia National Guard to help chase Pancho Villa in Mexico.
1917 23 Years Old 1 More Event
He was called home in March 1917. … Read More
1918 24 Years Old On September 26, 1918, his plane was shot down. … Read More
1919 25 Years Old 1 More Event
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. … Read More
1921 27 Years Old After returning from overseas in 1921, Cooper got a job working the night shift at The New York Times. … Read More
1923 29 Years Old His three-part series for Asia was published in 1923.


1924 30 Years Old After returning home, Cooper researched for the American Geographical Society. In 1924, Cooper joined Schoedsack and Marguerite Harrison began a filmed expedition that would be turned into the film Grass (1925). … Read More
1925 31 Years Old Cooper became a member of the Explorers Club of New York in January 1925 and was asked to give lectures and attend events due to his extensive traveling. … Read More
1926 32 Years Old Between 1926 and 1927, Cooper discussed the plans for Pan American Airways with John Hambleton, which was formed during 1927. … Read More
1929 35 Years Old While he was on the board, Cooper did not devote his full attention to the organization; he took time in 1929 and 1930 to work on the script for King Kong.
By 1931, he was back in Hollywood.
1932 38 Years Old The screenplay was delivered to Cooper in January 1932. … Read More
In the 1933 version of King Kong, Cooper and co-director Ernest B. Schoedsack appear at the end, piloting the plane that finally finishes off Kong. … Read More


1934 40 Years Old He was named vice president in charge of production for Pioneer Pictures in 1934. … Read More
1935 41 Years Old He resigned from the board of directors in 1935, following health complications.
1937 43 Years Old 1 More Event
Cooper didn't stay long; he resigned in 1937 due to disagreements over the film Stagecoach.
1943 49 Years Old He served then from 1943 to 1945 in the Southwest Pacific as chief of staff for the Fifth Air Force's Bomber Command. … Read More


1946 52 Years Old Cooper and his friend and frequent collaborator, noted director John Ford, formed Argosy Productions in 1946 and produced such notable films as Wagon Master (1950), Ford's Fort Apache (1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. … Read More
1952 58 Years Old Cooper was awarded an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1952. … Read More


1973 80 Years Old Cooper died of cancer on April 21, 1973 in San Diego. … Read More
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