Jan 5, 2018
Jackie Coogan's Boyfriend
When I met Keith Coogan in 2013, nearly the first thing I asked was, "Whose idea was the underwear scene in Toy Soldiers? (1991).
You're making a movie about the boys at an elite boarding school being held hostage by terrorists. Whose idea was it to have the cast, composed entirely of teenage hunks, in their underwear all the time?
Not that I minded. I especially didn't mind getting an eyeful of Keith's bulge.
Keith insisted that there was no homoerotic intent. Those scenes took place at night, when they were stripped down for bed. They got to choose their own underwear, so he wore his regular "tighty whities."
Not that he minds the attention from gay fans: he's been a gay ally his whole life. He learned all about gay people a long time ago, from his grandfather, Jackie Coogan
He went on to play Peck's Bad Boy, Oliver Twist, Toby Tyler, and Huckleberry Finn before moving into a long career as an adult character actor, appearing in everything from College Swing (1938) to Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels (1977). He had four wives, including World War II pin-up girl Betty Grable. He struggled with heart and kidney disease through his life, and finally died of heart failure in 1984, at the age of 69.
Daughter Leslie Diane, born in 1953, left home at age 15, and married, had Keith, and divorced within the next year. Keith grew up in poverty, his mother working odd jobs and getting government assistance; for awhile they lived in a changing room on the tennis court outside the Malibu mansion where Leslie worked as a housekeeper.
Leslie wasn't happy about Keith's decision to become an actor, but she agreed to drive him around for auditions; he began doing commercials at age 5, got his first movie role at age 8, and landed a recurring spot on The Waltons at age 9.
Grandpa Jackie was a constant presence in his life, visiting every summer, advising him on his acting career ("always know exactly where your money is going"), telling him stories of Old Hollywood. Raunchy stories about men caught with their pants down in actresses' dressing rooms, all male parties where the guy with the biggest penis won a prize (Ramon Novarro always won.) One of his favorite stories was about his teenage boyfriend, Junior Durkin:
The rest of the story, with nude photos and sexual content, is on Gay Celebrity Dating Stories