Elizabeth Cooper (born Isabel Rosario Cooper; January 15, 1914 –
June 29, 1960) was a Filipina film actress, vaudeville dancer, and
singer. In addition to her brief movie career, Cooper was also known
for being the mistress of
General Douglas MacArthur.
Born in Manila, she was infamous for the first on-screen kiss in a
Ang Tatlong Hambog (1926). In 1930, she met US General
Douglas MacArthur and became his mistress. He arranged for her to
follow him to Washington, D.C.
While serving as Army Chief of Staff in the 1930s, MacArthur filed a
libel action against a journalist at The Washington Post, Drew
Pearson. When Pearson added Cooper to his list of witnesses to be
deposed, MacArthur dropped the suit. MacArthur subsequently paid
Cooper $15,000 to leave Washington, the money allegedly delivered by
his aide, Dwight Eisenhower. However, she did not return to the
Philippines, and after a few failed attempts in
Hollywood and a hair
dressing shop in the Midwest, committed suicide in 1960.
1 Personal life
3 Relationship with
8 External links
Elizabeth was born Isabel Rosario Cooper to a Scottish father and
Chinese-Filipina mother, who was a haciendera (farm worker) from
Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental. She was nicknamed "Dimples". As a
teenager she traveled Southeast Asia as a torch singer / entertainer.
Isabel appeared in a few B-grade Filipino films starting in 1925,
under the screen name "Chabing". Two of her films were Miracles of
Love (1925) and
Ang Tatlong Hambog (1926). In the latter film, Cooper
made Philippine film history with Luis Tuason when they performed the
very first kissing scene in a Philippine film. She was 12 years old at
She did not act in any Filipino films after 1930, although the 1941
Tagalog film Ikaw Pala is sometimes wrongly attributed to her. "Ikaw
Pala" had another actress named Cresencia Aligada acting in it in a
supporting role; Aligada also went by the screen name "Dimples," hence
the mistaken identity.
After her 1934 break-up with MacArthur, Cooper attempted to find roles
in Hollywood, but in vain.
In 1930, at the age of 16, Cooper met the American
MacArthur, then commander of all U.S. troops in the Philippines.
MacArthur's marriage had ended a year earlier. Cooper became his
mistress in Manila, a fact the 50-year-old MacArthur hid from his
80-year-old mother. In Manila, the teenaged Cooper lived in Paco.
Five months after they first met, MacArthur returned to the United
States; while he intended to bring her to Washington, he could not
risk scandal by traveling with her, so he bought her a ticket on a
ship to arrive after him. She arrived in Washington and ended up
ensconced in an apartment in Georgetown,
Washington, D.C. MacArthur
later moved her to the Chastleton Hotel (now a co-op building).
According to one biographer of MacArthur, William Manchester,
MacArthur "showered [Cooper] with presents and bought her many lacy
tea gowns, but no raincoat. She didn't need one, he told her; her duty
lay in bed."
In 1933, when the secret affair threatened to become public, MacArthur
brought it to an end, reportedly giving her $15,000 and a ticket back
to the Philippines. She did not use the ticket and never returned to
the Philippines. In 1934, the 20-year-old Cooper moved to the
Midwestern United States, where she owned a hairdressing salon, before
Los Angeles several years later.
Cooper tried to find work as an actress in Hollywood; however, the
only roles that Cooper could manage were those as an extra, such as a
geisha and a Filipina nurse in films such as
The King and I
The King and I and
Cooper committed suicide by overdosing on barbiturates in 1960. She
was 46 years old.
1925 Miracles of Love
1926 Ang Tatlong Hambog
1927 Fate or Consequence
^ a b Karnow, Stanley (1989). "Isabel Rosario Cooper". In Our Image:
America's Empire in the Philippines. Random House.
^ Dates cited in California Death Index, accessed 23 May 2011.
^ "Tragic love stories in Philippine history".
http://www.filipiknow.net. Retrieved 25 November 2015. External
link in website= (help)
^ Dalisay, Butch (21 November 2014). "Pinoys on the Potomac".
Philstar. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
^ Santos, Simon. "Rare pre-war Tagalog movie posters". Video 48. Simon
Santos. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
^ USAFA site Archived 2006-08-18 at the Wayback Machine..
^ "Dimples Cooper". http://www.imdb.com. IMDB. Retrieved 25 November
2015. External link in website= (help)
^ Yeatter, Bryan L. (2007). Cinema of the Philippines: A History and
Filmography, 1897-2005. McFarland & Company. p. 16.
^ William Manchester, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964
(Hachette Book Group, 1978)
Manchester, William. American Caesar:
Douglas MacArthur 1880–1964.
Laurel: 1983. ISBN 0-440-30424-5.
Garcia, Jessie B. (2004). A Movie Album Quizbook. Iloilo City,
Philippines: Erehwon Books & Magazine. pp. 78–80, 127.
Dimples Cooper on IMDb
In World War II
Escape from the Philippines
Wake Island Conference
President Truman's relief
Louise Cromwell Brooks
Louise Cromwell Brooks (first wife)
Jean MacArthur (second wife)
Arthur MacArthur IV
Arthur MacArthur IV (son)
Isabel Rosario Cooper (mistress)
Arthur MacArthur Jr.
Arthur MacArthur Jr. (father)
Arthur MacArthur Sr. (grandfather)
Arthur MacArthur III (brother)
Douglas MacArthur II (nephew)
Appointment in Tokyo
Appointment in Tokyo (film)
American Caesar (biograph