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Cooper, Merian C.



  • Existence: 1893-1973

Biographical History

Merian C. Cooper (1893-1973) was an aviator, air force officer, screenwriter, film director, and producer in the United States. He is best known for writing and directing King Kong.

Merian Caldwell Cooper was an American aviator, United States Air Force and Polish Air Force officer, adventurer, screenwriter, film director, and producer. He was a notable movie producer, and got his start with film traveling the world and working on documentaries, most famously Grass and Chang, together with Ernest B. Schoedsack. He was a member of the board of directors of Pan American Airways, but focused on film. During his film career, he worked for several Hollywood studios. He is considered co-inventor of the Cinerama film projection process. Cooper's most famous film was the 1933 movie King Kong. He was awarded an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1952 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.


Wikipedia, Nov. 16, 2010 (Merian C. Cooper; Merian Caldwell Cooper; b. Oct. 24, 1893 in Jacksonville, Fla.; d. Apr. 21, 1973 in San Diego, Calif.; director of King Kong). Mar. 21, 2017 (aviator, United States Air Force and Polish Air Force officer, adventurer, screenwriter, film director; notable movie producer; got his start with film traveling the world and working on documentaries Grass and Chang together with Ernest B. Schoedsack; member of the board of directors of Pan American Airways; co-inventor of Cinerama; most famous film King Kong (1933); honorary lifetime achievement Oscar in 1952, Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 1960.)

Kozlinski, Marcin, "Biography of Merian C. Cooper", International Movie Database, accessed March 21, 2012,

Found in 135 Collections and/or Records:

Advanced Projects Corporation records, 1966-1972

Identifier: MSS 2008 Series 12
Scope and Contents note Contains records of the Advanced Projects Corporation. Includes correspondence and financial records documenting work on the development of three-dimensional television and other technologies. Materials date from 1966 to 1972.

Claire Lee Chennault writings, 1935-1958

Identifier: MSS 2008 Series 6 Sub-Series B Sub-Series 5
Scope and Contents Subseries contains articles and other works written by Chennault, and associated materials. Items date from between 1935 and 1958.

Merian C. Cooper papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2008
Overview The Merian C. Cooper papers cover virtually every aspect of Cooper's life and his varied careers. The papers provide valuable information on documentary and feature motion picture production in the United States from the mid-1920s through the early 1950s, as well as information on world exploration, the United States Air Force (particularly during World War II), and early television. Several Cooper projects that never came to fruition are also documented, especially his unproduced film...

Merian C. Cooper advertising for King Kong, 1933-1968

Identifier: MSS 2008 Series 5 Sub-Series F Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents Subseries contains a broadside, poster, and lobby cards from original and re-release of King Kong (1933). Materials date from between 1933 and 1968.

Merian C. Cooper art, undated

Identifier: MSS 2008 Series 16
Scope and Contents note Contains pieces of art owned by Cooper.

Merian C. Cooper book and script papers for A Thousand Springs, undated

Identifier: MSS 2008 Series 6 Sub-Series I Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents Subseries contains correspondence, scripts, and other material related to book and script treatments for A Thousand Springs. Materials date from between 1958 and 1964.

Merian C. Cooper certificates, passports, and other material, undated

Identifier: MSS 2008 Series 1 Sub-Series E
Scope and Contents Contains certificates, passports, photographs, and other materials related to Cooper dating from 1921 to 1980. Includes original documents and photocopies.

Merian C. Cooper correspondence, 1915-1973

Identifier: MSS 2008 Series 13
Scope and Contents note Contains correspondence between Cooper and his father and brother, John C. Cooper Senior and Junior, mostly between the years 1915 and 1933; from Cooper to wife Dorothy and son Richard and daughter Theresa during World War II. The other seven boxes include letter to, from, or regarding: Ray Bradbury, Kevin Brownlow, Douglas Burden, Anna Chennault, Walt Disney, Ira C. Eaker, John Farrow, Anthony Fokker, James Forrestal, Senator Barry Goldwater, Ron Haver, Katherine Hepburn, Richard Hincha,...

Merian C. Cooper correspondence, 1922-1985

Identifier: MSS 2008 Series 13 Sub-Series B
Scope and Contents Contains correspondence with individuals and organizations from the film industry, military, politics, and other areas. Also includes some audio recordings of Cooper. Materials date from between 1922 and 1985.

Merian C. Cooper correspondence, undated

Identifier: MSS 2008 Series 3 Sub-Series B Sub-Series 1
Scope and Contents Subseries contains correspondence documenting Cooper's activities during the First World War, including training, combat, capture, and repatriation. Also includes letters from related veteran associations. Materials date from 1917 to 1973.