The Pitfalls of Being a Child Star & a Troubled Marriage

Sep 23, 2020, 11:30 AM
Jackie Coogan landed his first movie role when he was just an infant. A few years later, when he was performing the shimmy on stage, Charlie Chaplin was taken by his performance. He cast little Jackie in a couple of his films, and with that, Jackie’s career took off. Jackie became one of the industry’s biggest stars. By the time he was 12, he’d earned a million dollars. By the time he was 21, he’d earned four million. He was set for life. The money had all been set aside -- just waiting for him to hit adulthood. At least, that’s what he’d been told.

Then Brandi tells us about a troubled marriage. Jennifer and Frederick Trayers had been married for nearly two decades. They’d been through ups and downs together. Frederick’s career in the navy took them all over the place, but they always had each other. But in 2002, Frederick began an affair. Suspicious, Jennifer installed spyware on Frederick’s computer. She began reading every emotionally-charged email between the two. She read and read and read, and eventually, she took action.

And now for a note about our process. For each episode, Kristin reads a bunch of articles, then spits them back out in her very limited vocabulary. Brandi copies and pastes from the best sources on the web. And sometimes Wikipedia. (No shade, Wikipedia. We love you.) We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the real experts who covered these cases.

In this episode, Kristin pulled from:
“Coogan Case Spurs Move to Safeguard Wealth of Minors” by Martha Martin, The Daily News, 1938
“California Child Actors Bill,” entry on Wikipedia
“Jackie Coogan,” entry on Wikipedia
“Jackie Coogan wins fortune fight decision,” Los Angeles Times, 1938
“Mother of Jackie Coogan reweds,” The Pomona Progress Bulletin, 1936
“In life, as on screen, pathos marks career of the kid,” Frederick Othman, The Oklahoman, 1938

In this episode, Brandi pulled from:
“The Love Triangle Murder of Lt. Commander Fred Trayers” by Bryan Lavietes, The Crime Library
“Jennifer Trayers”
“Trayers v. Johnson”