You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones'On the

    Why Armie Hammer Cooked for the Cast of 'On the Basis of Sex'

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to her hometown on Sunday for the New York premiere of “On the Basis of Sex,” a biopic starring Felicity Jones tells the Supreme Court justice’s origin story. The 85-year-old Brooklynite received a standing ovation when she entered the Walter Reade Theater — a testament to the Notorious RBG’s rock-star status. Ginsburg [...]

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, Magic [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content