Full Name: Merian Caldwell Cooper
Profession: Film Director and Producer
Why Famous: While Cooper is best known for his films, particularly 'King Kong' (1933), he started off as a journalist and then a pilot in the United States Air Force. He saw combat as a bomber pilot in World War I, during which time his plane was shot down and he ended up in a German prison hospital. He also participated in the Polish-Soviet War, in which he served in an American volunteer squadron. Here again Cooper was shot down and spent nine months in a Soviet prison of war camp, from which he escaped just prior to the war's end.
After returning to the United States, Cooper worked at the New York Times and wrote for Asia magazine. He continued to travel in these roles, becoming noted as an explorer for his extensive journeys. During this period he became involved in films, first 'Grass' (1925), then 'Chang' (1927), and 'The Four Feathers' (1929). Cooper came up with the idea for 'King Kong' (1933) after dreaming that a giant gorilla was attacking New York City. He woke and noted down his dream, which came to serve as the inspiration for this now-iconic film.
- 1933-03-02 "King Kong" film directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, starring Fay Wray premieres at Radio City Music Hall and RKO Roxy in NYC
- Merian C. Cooper - IMDB