Gary Cooper

Born May 7, 1901

Frank James Cooper, known professionally as Gary Cooper, was an American film actor. He was renowned for his quiet, understated acting style and his stoic, but at times intense screen persona, which was particularly well suited to the many Westerns he made. He also excelled in sophisticated, screwball romantic comedies. His career spanned from 1925 until shortly before his death in 1961, and comprised more than one hundred films.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Gary Cooper.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Gary Cooper.


1901 Birth Frank James Cooper was born on May 7, 1901, at 730 Eleventh Avenue in Helena, Montana to English immigrants Alice (née Brazier, 1873–1967) and Charles Henry Cooper (1865–1946). … Read More
1908 7 Years Old In April 1908, the Hauser Dam failed and flooded the Missouri River valley along portions of the Cooper property, but Cooper and his family were able to evacuate in time. … Read More
1911 10 Years Old After completing confirmation classes, Cooper was baptized into the Anglican Church on December 3, 1911, at the Church of All Saints in Houghton Regis.


1912 - 1916 2 More Events
1918 17 Years Old After attending Helena High School for two years, he left school in 1918 and returned to the family ranch to help raise their five hundred head of cattle and work full-time as a cowboy.
1919 18 Years Old In 1919, his father arranged for his son to complete his high school education at Gallatin County High School in Bozeman, Montana. … Read More
1920 19 Years Old In 1920, while still attending high school, Cooper took three art courses at Montana Agricultural College in Bozeman. … Read More


1922 21 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1922, Cooper enrolled in Grinnell College in Iowa to continue his art education. … Read More
Despite a promising first eighteen months at Grinnell, he left college suddenly in February 1924, spent a month in Chicago looking for work as an artist, and then returned to Helena, where he sold editorial cartoons to the Independent, a local newspaper.
1925 - 1928 6 More Events
1929 28 Years Old 1 More Event
Cooper became a major movie star in 1929 with the release of his first sound picture, The Virginian, which was directed by Victor Fleming and co-starred Mary Brian and Walter Huston. … Read More
Looking to capitalize on Cooper's growing popularity, Paramount cast him in several Westerns and wartime dramas in 1930, including Only the Brave, The Texan, Seven Days' Leave, A Man from Wyoming, and The Spoilers.


In 1931, after returning to the Western genre in Zane Grey's Fighting Caravans with French actress Lili Damita, Cooper appeared in the Dashiell Hammett crime film City Streets playing a westerner who gets involved with big-city gangsters in order to save the woman he loves. … Read More
1932 31 Years Old 1 More Event
Rested and rejuvenated by his year-long exile, a healthy Cooper returned to Hollywood in April 1932 and negotiated a new contract with Paramount for two films per year, a salary of $4,000 a week, and director and script approval.
He married New York debutante Veronica Balfe in 1933, and the couple had one daughter. … Read More
1934 33 Years Old In 1934, Cooper was loaned out to MGM for the Civil War drama film Operator 13 with Marion Davies, about a beautiful Union spy who falls in love with a Confederate soldier. … Read More
The year 1936 marked an important turning point in Cooper's career. … Read More
1937 36 Years Old In contrast to his output the previous year, Cooper appeared in only one picture in 1937, Henry Hathaway's adventure film Souls at Sea. … Read More
1938 37 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1938, he appeared in Archie Mayo's biographical film The Adventures of Marco Polo. … Read More
1940 39 Years Old …  While not as popular with critics as its predecessor, the film was another box-office success—the sixth-highest-grossing film of 1940. … Read More


1941 - 1943 4 More Events
1944 43 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1944, Cooper appeared in Cecil B. DeMille's wartime adventure film The Story of Dr. Wassell with Laraine Day—his third movie with the director. … Read More
1945 44 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1945, Cooper starred in and produced Stuart Heisler's Western comedy Along Came Jones with Loretta Young for International. … Read More
1946 - 1947 2 More Events
1948 47 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1948, after making Leo McCarey's romantic comedy Good Sam, Cooper sold his company to Universal Studios and signed a long-term contract with Warner Bros. that gave him script and director approval and a guaranteed $295,000 per picture. … Read More


1951 - 1955 3 More Events
1956 55 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1956, Cooper was more effective playing a gentle Indiana Quaker in William Wyler's Civil War drama Friendly Persuasion with Dorothy McGuire. … Read More
1958 57 Years Old Despite his ongoing health problems and several operations for ulcers and hernias, Cooper continued to work in action films. In 1958, he appeared in Anthony Mann's Western drama Man of the West (1958) with Julie London and Lee J. Cobb, about a reformed outlaw and killer who is forced to confront his violent past when the train he is riding in is held up by his former gang members. … Read More
1959 58 Years Old 1 More Event
After his Warner Bros. contract ended, Cooper formed his own production company, Baroda Productions, and made three unusual films in 1959 about redemption.
1960 59 Years Old 1 More Event
On April 14, 1960, Cooper underwent surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for prostate cancer after it had metastasized to his colon. … Read More


He also received an Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements in 1961. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.