Sunday, March 1, 2015

Laws that protect child actors from unscrupulous parents. WHAT A BRIGHT IDEA!

  Jackie Coogan is best remembered as Charlie Chaplin's sidekick in The Kid (1921) and Uncle Fester in 1960s sitcom The Addams Family. As a child actor, Coogan earned an estimated $3 to $4 million.  However the nearly all of the money he earned was spent by his mother and stepfather. Coogan’s mother stated, "No promises were ever made to give Jackie anything. Every dollar a kid earns before he is 21 belongs to his parents. Jackie will not get a cent of his earnings" and she also claimed that "Jackie was a bad boy’. In 1938 Coogan sued his mother and step-father and received $125,000, a mere faction of what he had earned. The suit resulted in the enactment of the California Child Actor's Bill, often referred to as the Coogan Law or the Coogan Act. This law requires that a child actor's employer but 15% of the earnings into a trust, called a Coogan Account.

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