Coogan’s performances in The Kid and in Oliver Twist the following year made him the first real child star of the movie industry. Moreover, audiences couldn’t get enough of him, and a huge amount of merchandise bearing his name and face made its way into stores.
Unfortunately, as subsequent stories right up to the present day have shown, the life of a child star is rarely pleasant. The pressures of the lifestyle can lead to difficulties and mental health issues. These are only made worse if the parents of the child don’t have their best interests at heart.
And Coogan’s parents, or his mother at least, weren’t looking out for him at all. They had signed contracts which entitled them to vast sums of money, but it was money that Coogan himself was not getting to spend. And as their famous child grew older, his life took a turn for the worse.