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Thu, 01.16.1908

Ralph Cooper, the Voice of the Apollo

Ralph Cooper

*Ralph Cooper was born on this date in 1908. He was a Black actor and entertainment administrator.

From New York City, he is best known for starting and emceeing the Amateur Night at the historic Apollo Theater in 1934. Cooper also played supporting roles in Hollywood features such as Blonde Venus 1932, Lloyd's of London 1936 and White Hunter 1936. Cooper choreographed Shirley Temple’s Poor Little Rich Girl 1936. The star of several films produced for segregated Black audiences in the 1930s, Cooper served as special consultant to the Francis Ford Coppola's film The Cotton Club 1984. The Apollo closed in the 1970s, but the contest was restarted in 1985 after the renovations were completed. He was again the master of ceremonies.

His son, Ralph Cooper 2nd, took over the show after his father was hospitalized with cancer.  Ralph Cooper died on August 4, 1992. Other Cooper cinema credits include: The Duke Is Tops, Leprechaun in the Hood 1984, and Malcolm X 1992.

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