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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 185 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.
Dates: Other: 1966-1972

Argosy Pictures Corporation business records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 1849
Scope and Contents The records provide insight into legal and tax aspects of film production, as well as documenting the search for suitable story material and researching aspects of a film before production. Includes correspondence; legal, financial, and personnel records; story ideas; a scrapbook; photographs; and other documentation.
Dates: 1939-1958

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.
Dates: Other: 1935-1958

Merian C. Cooper address

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 3255
Scope and Contents Cd of an address by Merian C. Cooper about his film "King Kong."
Dates: 1964

Merian C. Cooper correspondence and interview

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2024
Scope and Contents Includes photocopies of correspondence between Behlmer, Merian C. Cooper, and others. Also includes recording and transcript of interview recorded by Behlmer with Cooper in 1965 concerning Cooper's service in World War I and the Russo-Polish War (1919-1920); and his films with Ernest B. Schoedsack: "Grass" and "Chang." Some correspondence relates to David O. Selznick and the film, "King Kong."
Dates: 1929-1972

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...
Dates: 1921-1977

Collection of Merian C. Cooper scripts

 File — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 5790
Scope and Contents Collection includes photocopies of cutting continuity scripts from six films produced by Merian C. Cooper.
Dates: 1933-1938

Doug Fabrizio interview with James D'Arc and Mark Cotta Vaz

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 3666
Scope and Contents Interview on compact disc about the 1933 film King Kong and its director and co-producer Merian C. Cooper. Released during the Great Depression and in the year of Franklin D. Roosevelt's election, this film explored the theme of civilization vs. nature. D'Arc and Vaz accredit Cooper for much of the motion industries success and for building the bridge between the 19th and 20th centuries. They discuss parallels between Cooper and the film's star Carl Denham. They point out the influences in...
Dates: 2006 April 7

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.
Dates: Other: 1933-1968