Acting Definition: Coogan Act

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Acting Definition: The Coogan Act

What is the Coogan Act?

This law, formally titled the California Child Actor’s Bill, came about when Jackie Coogan, a successful child actor, discovered his parents had spent most of his earnings when he became an adult. He would go on to sue his mother and recoup a portion of his money.

This law was designed to protect child actors from this type of theft and abuse. To do so, employers of the child talent are required to set a portion of the child’s earnings, usually 15%, in a blocked trust account, or “Coogan Account”, until the child reaches adulthood. In New York, these accounts are called UMTA or UGMA Compliant Trust Accounts.

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