For quite some time now I have been hearing stories that the mistress of General Douglas MacArthur hails from the mountains of Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental. Her name is Elizabeth Cooper.
"Elizabeth Cooper (born January 15, 1914—died June 29, 1960) was a Scottish-Filipina film actress, vaudeville dancer, and singer. In addition to her movie career, Cooper was also known for being the mistress of General Douglas MacArthur.Born in Manila, the Philippines, as Isabel Rosario Cooper, she was the recipient of the first on-screen kiss in a Filipino movie, 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.Cooper met American General Douglas MacArthur, then commander of all U.S. troops in the Philippines, in 1930, five months before he returned to the United States. She subsequently became his mistress in Manila, a fact the fifty-plus MacArthur hid from his 80 year-old mother.She eventually ended up ensconced in an apartment in Washington, D.C. when General MacArthur was appointed Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and was transferred there, a situation which did not best suit Cooper's lively personality. 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."When the secret affair threatened to become public, MacArthur brought it to an end and gave Cooper a ticket back to the Philippines which she did not use; she never returned to the Philippines. Instead Cooper moved to the Midwest, where she owned a hairdressing salon, before moving to Los Angeles some years later.Cooper died from an overdose of barbiturates in 1960." I tried to retrace the Coopers of Vallehermoso but just found only remnants of the old Cooper sawmill and an elementary school named after a certain Arthur Cooper. The old people I talked to said the Coopers have left the area long time ago.
Photo by Michael Ocampo
Whatever the circumstances, we all know that the General had a reason why "He shall return to the Philippines."