October 4, 2009

‘Captain’ actor Coghlan dead at 93

Actor Frank Coghlan Jr., co-star of the Adventures of Captain Marvel, died in Saugus, Calif., at the age of 93, his son Patrick says.

The New York Times said Sunday that Coghlan's youthful looks at the age of 25 allowed him to portray Captain Marvel's alter-ego, a child named Billy Batson, in the 12-part serial from Republic Pictures released in 1941.

Bruce Goldstein, director of repertory programming at Film Forum, said Adventures was a dream come true for children nationwide as it showed Coghlan's Batson character transforming into Captain Marvel, played by actor Tom Tyler.

It's considered by many aficionados as the best cliffhanger serial of all time, Goldstein said. What a great fantasy for kids: a kid who turns into a superhero.

Another one of Coghlan's top roles was playing a hoodlum opposite actor James Cagney in the 1931 film The Public Enemy.

The Times said Coghlan, who died of natural causes on Sept. 7, is survived by his son, Patrick; three daughters, Cathy Farley, Judy Coghlan and Libbey Gagnon; and six grandchildren.