Jackie Cooper, who has died aged 88, was the first child star of the talkies, paving the way for Freddie Bartholomew, Shirley Temple and Mickey Rooney. While they could turn on the waterworks when called for, Cooper beat them all easily at the crying game. Little Jackie, from the age of eight until his early teens, blubbed his way effectively through a number of tearjerkers. Sometimes he would try to suppress his tears, pouting and saying, "Ah, shucks! Ah, shucks!" As a critic wrote in 1934: "Jackie Cooper's tear ducts, having been more or less in abeyance for the past few months, have been opened up to provide an autumn freshet in Peck's Bad Boy."
Cooper had started off in the movies billed as "the little tough guy" in eight of Hal Roach's Our Gang comedy shorts.