Merian Caldwell Cooper was an American aviator, United States Air Force and Polish Air Force officer, adventurer, screenwriter, and film director and producer. His most famous film was the 1933 movie King Kong.
Cooper was the father of Polish translator and writer Maciej S?omczy?ski, and later married film actress Dorothy Jordan.
Born to John C. Cooper, of distant English descent, and the former Mary Caldwell in Jacksonville, Florida, Cooper was educated at The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, New Jersey and entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1912 but was forced to resign in 1915. In 1916 he joined the Georgia National Guard to help chase Pancho Villa in Mexico.
Cooper was a founding member of the Board of Directors of Pan American Airways, serving on the board for decades. He was a pioneer in the use of aircraft, military and civilian. During his tenure at Pan Am, the company established the first regularly scheduled transatlantic service.