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Junior Coghlan

Date of Birth: 15th March 1916
Details of Death: 7th September 2009
Country of Birth: USA



The son of a physician father and an actress mother, Frank Coghlan Jr. began his acting career at the age of 3, earning $3 a day. John Holmstrom rightly describes him as "just about the most likeable boy actor of the late silent screen" ("The Moving Picture Boy", p. 71). One of his most moving performances was in the superlative "Square Shoulders" (1929), where he played a young boy who idolises his absent father, not realising that his father is a derelict and a thief. Coghlan continued his career as a highly personable youth in talking pictures. Then, just as his career was beginning to fade, he was cast in the lead role of Billy Batson in the 1941 serial "The Adventures of Captain Marvel" (a role remembered for the wonder-working invocation 'Shazam!'). The serial was to become one of the most popular big-screen serials ever. In World War II Coghlan joined the US Navy as a Naval Aviator, and stayed with the Navy for the next 23 years. After retiring in 1965, he returned to acting, appearing in dozens of films, television programmes and commercials. But he will undoubtedly be best remembered as the gentle, doe-eyed, freckle-faced boy who was one of the truly great boy actors of the early period of Hollywood cinema.


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Page Last Modified: 28th April 2022
Page Added: 26th February 2018

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