×

Frank Cooper dies at 99

Talent agent discovered Sinatra

Talent agent Frank Cooper, who discovered Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore, put one of the first quizshows on radio and was a pioneer in TV packaging, died of natural causes on Jan. 19, four months short of his 100th birthday, in Encino, Calif.

The Sept. 11, 1943, issue of Billboard declared that the ‘forgotten man’ in the “big Sinatra-Dorsey-MCA-GAC deal is Frank Cooper, who is merely the swooner’s personal manager. Cooper is credited as being the first guy to see big money possibilities in Sinatra and swung his first theater dates which started the amazing success story.”

Cooper launched the Frank Cooper Associates Agency in 1945.

He also represented sports icon Joe DiMaggio and procured gigs for heavyweight boxing champ Joe Louis; sold “Strike It Rich” to CBS, thus getting one of the first quizshows on the radio; became a leader in television development and packaging with the first dramatic series, “Man Against Crime,” which starred Ralph Bellamy and began airing on CBS in 1949; worked closely with Ed Sullivan; was involved in the creation of “Dirty Harry”; with writer Dale Wasserman, put “Man of La Mancha” onto the Broadway stage; and represented writer-producer Beth Polson, author Leslie Waller, as well as Clifford Irving’s books and films.

Cooper was born in Harlem. At the age of 10, after losing his father, Cooper had to seek work to help his family. He knocked on doors in office buildings until he won a job as the messenger to Joseph Schenck, one of the founders of 20th Century Fox. Shortly thereafter, Cooper became the personal stenographer to William Paley. By 19 he was working as William Morris’ secretary at the William Morris Agency; soon he was an agent himself. Eventually, to further his career, he moved to Los Angeles.

Cooper was a substantial donor to organizations including the Cleveland Clinic, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Jewish Federation. His contributions also helped render the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles a reality.

Cooper is survived by his wife of nearly 75 years, Sylvia, a professional sculptor; two sons, Jeff and Martin; daughter Pamela, a theatrical talent manager and Broadway producer; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

More Scene

  • The Old Beverly Hills Post Office'Wallis

    The Wallis Cancels April and May Programming in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

    The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts has cancelled its upcoming programming for the months of April and May in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The performing arts center located in Beverly Hills had already wiped its calendar and closed its premises from public access for the remainder of March, but the center made [...]

  • Watch Rosie O'Donnell and Elton John

    Watch Rosie O'Donnell, Elton John Accept Their GLAAD Media Awards

    The GLAAD Media Awards were supposed to happen Thursday night in New York City, but the LGBTQ media watchdog group canceled the 31st annual festivities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, GLAAD doesn’t want the day to go unnoticed, so the organization has released exclusive video to Variety of Elton John accepting the [...]

  • Tyra Banks Postpones ModelLand Theme Park

    Tyra Banks Postpones ModelLand Theme Park Opening

    Tyra Banks has put smizing on hold. The “America’s Next Top Model” host is postponing the opening of ModelLand, a theme park opening in Santa Monica, Calif. A new launch date has not been announced. “In light of the recommendations of the CDC, WHO, and California Governor Gavin Newsom, we have decided to postpone the [...]

  • AIDS/LifeCycle Canceled Due to Coronavirus Concerns

    AIDS/LifeCycle Canceled Due to Coronavirus Concerns

    This year’s AIDS/LifeCycle has been canceled. The annual bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles is considered the largest single HIV/AIDS fundraising event in the world and benefits the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF). Last year’s ride raised more than $16 million. Past participants have included Rep. Adam [...]

  • Variety's Power of Women gift bag

    Variety's Power of Women Event Postponed

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Variety, the iconic entertainment business news media company, will postpone its high-profile Variety Power of Women: New York from April 3 to July 9. The accompanying magazine that includes the New York Women’s Impact Report will publish on July 7. Variety’s Power of Women events in Los Angeles and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content