Herbert Arthur “Herb” Cooper was born on February 16, 1927, in Manhattan, New York, New York, according to his World War II draft card which had his full name. However, his obituary in the Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), April 24, 1991, said Brooklyn was his birthplace.
Cooper and his family have not yet been found in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
The 1940 census recorded Cooper as the third of four children born to Benjamin and Sarah, both Russian emigrants. His father was a clerk at a men’s clothing store.
Home News said Cooper attended the Mannes School of Music in New York City. At some point he studied lettering and calligraphy and joined the International Society of Scribes.
Cooper enlisted in the Army on December 19, 1945 at Greensboro, North Carolina. At the time his occupation was in the category of hotel and restaurant managers. His description was five feet five inches, 135 pounds, with green eyes and brown hair. Home News said Cooper was “an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, … served in Special Services Ernie Pyle Theatre and in cryptography services.” Cooper’s veteran’s file said he was discharged December 24, 1946. Cooper’s address was 601 Kosciusko Street in Brooklyn where his parents lived.
On April 7, 1951, Cooper and Marilyn Rapport obtained a marriage license in Queens, New York.
Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 estimates Cooper’s lettering career began in the 1950s at Marvel Comics. In 1968 Cooper’s name appeared on splash pages.
In Alter Ego #49, June 2005, Jim Amash interviewed Carl Burgos’ daughter, Susan, who said
… family and friends were invited over to the house. I remember Stan Starkman, George Kapitan, and Herbie Cooper from Timely Comics coming to visit. …In Alter Ego #134, July 2015, Richard J. Arndt interviewed Stan Goldberg who said
George Kapitan was a real sweetheart, as was his wife, Rose. Stan and Suzie Starkman, and Herbie and Marilyn Cooper would come over, too. I know George and Herbie aren’t with us any longer. I liked those guys, and they were a charming group, but my dad didn’t mix his kids with his friends. We’d come out and say, “Hi,” and then go back into our rooms. [laughs] …
… Socially we’d go out and do stuff together [in earlier years]. Stan and his wife, Carl Burgos and his wife, Stan Starkman—he was a letterer who went to DC, and Herbie Cooper, another letterer who formed his own printing company. These were all guys from the old bullpens. We’d go out every month, go to dinner or the theater. We’d meet in the city for a Sunday brunch. It was a whole group of people that we stayed close with. …Cooper passed away April 23, 1991, at his home in Fords, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. Below is his obituary.
Herbert Cooper, 64
Woodbridge—Herbert A. Cooper died yesterday at his home in the Fords section. He was 64. He was born in Brooklyn and lived in Fords for the past 31 years. Mr. Cooper was a self-employed calligrapher for 40 years before retiring in 1990. He attended the Mannes School of Music in New York City and was a member of the International Society of Scribes. He was an actor with the East Brunswick Community Theater, where he played many leading roles. Mr. Cooper also acted in many off-Broadway productions. An Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, he served in Special Services Ernie Pyle Theatre and in cryptography services.
Surviving are his wife, Marilyn Rapport Cooper, three daughters, Wendy Fitzgerald of Edison, Laurie Keller of Iselin and Cara Peterson of Fords; a son, David S. of Woodbridge; a brother, Abraham of East Brunswick; a sister, Ethel Cooper of Brooklyn, and a granddaughter.
Services will be today at 1:30 p.m. from Flynn & Son Funeral Home, 23 Ford Ave., Fords. Burial will be at Beth Israel Memorial Park in Woodbridge.
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