John "Jackie" Cooper, Jr. was an actor, television director, producer, and executive. As a child star, he was the youngest performer to have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (at age 9 for the film Skippy in 1931). As an adult, Cooper transitioned from child actor into a figure that experienced a long and storied career in Hollywood. From 1964 to 1969, Cooper was vice president of program development at Columbia Pictures Screen Gems television division. He was responsible for developing shows (such as Bewitched) and selling them to the networks.
In April 1965, Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider received $225,000 from Cooper after forming Raybert Productions, the new company that had created the concept for what would become The Monkees television series. With that start-up money, Raybert was able to begin the audition process that eventually led to the selection of Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork.
In this 1989 interview with Paris Stachtiaris on the Headquarters radio program, Cooper recalls the triumphs and challenges of his years in Hollywood, and discusses his involvement with the Monkees project.
An Evening With The Monkees 2020