Gary Cooper
Actor
Gary Cooper
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.
Biography
Gary Cooper's personal information overview.
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Popular photos of Gary Cooper
News
News abour Gary Cooper from around the web
It's 'High Noon' in Washington - HollandSentinel.com
Google News - over 5 years
The morality play pitted Marshal Will Kane, played impeccably by Gary Cooper, against a band of ruthless outlaws. Unable to marshal support from his neighbors, Kane courageously faces the gang by himself. Like the cowardly townspeople,
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Watford v Birmingham City: Birmingham City's 1994 horror show at Watford - Birmingham Mail
Google News - over 5 years
Gary Cooper and Steve Claridge were both sent-off at Vicarage Road in this Endsleigh Insurance Division One match. It was Fry's ninth match at the Blues' helm after replacing Terry Cooper. And eight of his new signings took to the field,
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Pauline Cooper wins Journal Ladies Trophy - Journal Live
Google News - over 5 years
Like husband Gary, Cooper is an 11-handicapper and they were on the same wavelength when he caddied for his wife for the first time. “I did not have a good front nine, but he kept me going with wise words of encouragement here and there
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Yes, Nation-Building Can Work! And There's a Model Out There for Libya. - The Plank on TNR.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
The classic western High Noon culminates with a scene in which the hero, a retired sheriff played by Gary Cooper, finally confronts the dangerous gang that's descended upon the unsuspecting town of Hadleyville. The townspeople remain in the background
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Time for sandbagging - Jamestown Sun
Google News - over 5 years
John M. Steiner / The Sun Gary Cooper stands Monday in his flooded yard with his Shih Tzu dog, Bao, while discussing the high water issues along Second Avenue Southwest in Jamestown. Placing sandbags in Jamestown will start this week, according to Reed
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Crews complete $1 million in summer school projects - Parkersburg News
Google News - over 5 years
Gary Cooper, physical plant director for Wood County Schools, said the short summer break is one of the busiest times of the year for the district's maintenance staff. "As always, this was a very busy summer," he said. "We had to fit in four months
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Marion Davies, Gary Cooper in "Operator 13" - Hartford Courant
Google News - over 5 years
... then in the Ziegfeld Follies before achieving film stardom in charming silent comedies. She was at the peak of her fame in 1934 when she starred in "Operator 13," a Civil War spy story in which she falls in love with Gary Cooper's Confederate officer
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EXPLORER; Where Campfire Smoke Meets the Surf
NYTimes - over 5 years
THE freeway was dark. Wisps of sea mist obscured the moon. At 2 a.m. there wasn't another car on Highway 101, the southern extension of the Pacific Coast Highway that traces the edge of the continent from Orange County in California almost to the Oregon border. On the left side of the road as I drove south, miles of tract housing reached into the
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SAPD: Man Stabs Estranged Wife's Boyfriend - KSAT San Antonio
Google News - over 5 years
The victim has been identified as 25-year-old Gary Cooper. The stabbing happened just before midnight at a home in the 5000 block of Meadow Field. Police say the estranged husband was upset about his wife's relationship with Cooper,
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The state of the real estate market in both the core and non-core markets - Smart Business Network
Google News - over 5 years
While the commercial real estate market has been cool for some time, it has picked up dramatically in the past six months, says Gary Cooper, president of BGL Realty. “Pricing and transactions, for example, in Manhattan, are back above peak right now,”
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Ski club saves slope from closure - BBC News
Google News - over 5 years
"We have been extremely pleased with the progress we have made," said club treasurer Gary Cooper. Enthusiasts were concerned that temporary closure could result in deterioration of the matting and ski lift, with the possibility of the slope becoming a
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Clarence Thomas doesn't mind being the odd man out - The Republic
Google News - over 5 years
The movie's hero, played by Gary Cooper, is an idealistic but stubborn architect, who, as Rand wrote, "stood alone against the men of his time." A character, it might be said, a lot like Thomas himself. "If you think you are right, there is nothing
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An Influential Director, Two Distinct Directions - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
For the Italian director Sergio Leone, “Vera Cruz,” a cynical western starring Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster, was the template from which “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964) was traced, along with countless other spaghetti westerns of the 1960s and '70s
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Boxing: Gary Cooper shooting from the lip to put Churcher record straight - WalesOnline
Google News - over 5 years
BARGOED boxer Gary Cooper admits he is puzzled by the British Boxing Board of Control's reaction to his request for an explanation following his Welsh light-middleweight title fight last month, writes Dominic Jones
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Cooper Farms COO To Speak At US POULTRY's Women's Leadership Conference - PerishableNews (press release)
Google News - over 5 years
by US Poultry & Egg Association TUCKER, GA – Gary Cooper, COO of Cooper Farms, will address attendees at the 2011 Women's Leadership Conference. Sponsored by USPOULTRY's Poultry & Egg Institute, it will be held August 18-19, at the One Ocean Resort,
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Gary Cooper
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1961
    Age 59
    Cooper died quietly the following day, Saturday, May 13, 1961, at 12:47 pm, less than a week after his sixtieth birthday.
    More Details Hide Details A requiem mass was held on May 18 at the Church of the Good Shepherd, attended by many of Cooper's friends, including James Stewart, Henry Hathaway, Joel McCrea, Audrey Hepburn, Jack L. Warner, John Ford, John Wayne, Edward G. Robinson, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Randolph Scott, Walter Pidgeon, Bob Hope and Marlene Dietrich. Cooper was buried in the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. In May 1974, after his family relocated to New York, Cooper's remains were exhumed and reburied in Sacred Hearts Cemetery in Southampton. His grave is marked by a three-ton boulder from a Montauk quarry. Cooper's acting style consisted of three essential characteristics: his ability to project elements of his own personality onto the characters he portrayed, to appear natural and authentic in his roles, and to underplay and deliver restrained performances calibrated for the camera and the screen. Acting teacher Lee Strasberg once observed: "The simplest examples of Stanislavsky's ideas are actors such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Spencer Tracy. They try not to act but to be themselves, to respond or react. They refuse to say or do anything they feel not to be consonant with their own characters." Film director François Truffaut ranked Cooper among "the greatest actors" because of his ability to deliver great performances "without direction". This ability to project elements of his own personality onto his characters produced a continuity across his performances to the extent that critics and audiences were convinced that he was simply "playing himself".
  • FIFTIES
  • 1961
    Age 59
    On July 30, 1961, he was posthumously awarded the David di Donatello Special Award in Italy for his career achievements.
    More Details Hide Details In 1966, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The American Film Institute (AFI) ranked Cooper eleventh on its list of the 25 male stars of classic Hollywood. Three of his characters—Will Kane, Lou Gehrig, and Sergeant York—made AFI's list of the one hundred greatest heroes and villains, all of them as heroes. His Lou Gehrig line, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.", is ranked by AFI as the thirty-eighth greatest movie quote of all time. More than a half century after his death, Cooper's enduring legacy, according to biographer Jeffrey Meyers, is his image of the ideal American hero preserved in his film performances. Charlton Heston once observed, "He projected the kind of man Americans would like to be, probably more than any actor that's ever lived."
    On May 6, 1961, he was awarded the French Order of Arts and Letters in recognition of his significant contribution to the arts.
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    On January 9, 1961, Cooper attended a dinner given in his honor at the Friars Club hosted by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
    More Details Hide Details Attended by many of his industry friends, the dinner concluded with a brief speech by Cooper who said, "The only achievement I'm proud of is the friends I've made in this community." In mid-January, Cooper took his family to Sun Valley for their last vacation together. Cooper and Hemingway hiked through the snow together for the last time. On February 27, after returning to Los Angeles, Cooper learned that he was dying. He later told his family, "We'll pray for a miracle; but if not, and that's God's will, that's all right too." On April 17, Cooper watched the Academy Awards ceremony on television and saw his good friend James Stewart, who had presented Cooper with his first Oscar years earlier, accept on Cooper's behalf an honorary award for lifetime achievement—his third Oscar. Speaking to Cooper, an emotional Stewart said, "Coop, I want you to know I'll get it to you right away. With it goes all the friendship and affection and the admiration and deep respect of all of us. We're very, very proud of you, Coop." The following day, newspapers around the world announced the news that Cooper was dying. In the coming days he received numerous messages of appreciation and encouragement, including telegrams from Pope John XXIII and Queen Elizabeth II, and a phone call from President John F. Kennedy.
    He also received an Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements in 1961.
    More Details Hide Details He was one of the top ten film personalities for twenty-three consecutive years, and was one of the top money-making stars for eighteen years. The American Film Institute (AFI) ranked Cooper eleventh on its list of the twenty five greatest male stars of classic Hollywood cinema.
  • 1960
    Age 58
    In December 1960, he worked on the NBC television documentary The Real West, which was part of the company's Project 20 series.
    More Details Hide Details On December 27, his wife learned from their family doctor that Cooper's cancer had spread to his lungs and bones and was inoperable. His family decided not to tell him immediately.
    On April 14, 1960, Cooper underwent surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for prostate cancer after it had metastasized to his colon.
    More Details Hide Details He fell ill again on May 31 and underwent further surgery at Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles in early June to remove a malignant tumor from his large intestine. After recuperating over the summer, Cooper took his family on vacation to the south of France before traveling to England in the fall to make his last film, The Naked Edge.
  • 1959
    Age 57
    After several months of study, Cooper was baptized as a Roman Catholic on April 9, 1959, before a small group of family and friends at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills.
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    After his Warner Bros. contract ended, Cooper formed his own production company, Baroda Productions, and made three unusual films in 1959 about redemption.
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  • 1958
    Age 56
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The film has been called Cooper's "most pathological Western", with its themes of impotent rage, sexual humiliation, and sadism. According to biographer Jeffrey Meyers, Cooper, who struggled with moral conflicts in his personal life, "understood the anguish of a character striving to retain his integrity... and brought authentic feeling to the role of a tempted and tormented, yet essentially decent man". Mostly ignored by critics at the time, the film is now well-regarded by film scholars and is considered Cooper's last great film.
  • 1956
    Age 54
    In 1956, Cooper traveled to France to make Billy Wilder's romantic comedy Love in the Afternoon with Audrey Hepburn and Maurice Chevalier.
    More Details Hide Details In the film, Cooper plays a middle-aged American playboy in Paris who pursues and eventually falls in love with a much younger woman. Despite receiving some positive reviews—including from Bosley Crowther who praised the film's "charming performances"—most reviewers concluded that Cooper was simply too old for the part. While audiences may not have welcomed seeing Cooper's heroic screen image tarnished by his playing an aging roué trying to seduce an innocent young girl, the film was still a box-office success. The following year, Cooper appeared in Philip Dunne's romantic drama Ten North Frederick In the film, which was based on the novel by John O'Hara, Cooper plays an attorney whose life is ruined by a double-crossing politician and his own secret affair with his daughter's young roommate. While Cooper brought "conviction and controlled anguish" to his performance, according to biographer Jeffrey Meyers, it was not enough to save what Bosley Crowther called a "hapless film".
    In 1956, Cooper was more effective playing a gentle Indiana Quaker in William Wyler's Civil War drama Friendly Persuasion with Dorothy McGuire.
    More Details Hide Details Like Sergeant York and High Noon, the film addresses the conflict between religious pacifism and civic duty. For his performance, Cooper received his second Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actor. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, was awarded the Palme d'Or at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival, and went on to earn $8 million worldwide.
  • 1955
    Age 53
    In 1955, he appeared in Otto Preminger's biographical war drama The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell, about the World War I general who tried to convince government officials of the importance of air power, and was court-martialed after blaming the War Department for a series of air disasters.
    More Details Hide Details Some critics felt that Cooper was miscast, and that his dull, tight-lipped performance did not reflect Mitchell's dynamic and caustic personality.
  • 1954
    Age 52
    In 1954, Cooper appeared in Henry Hathaway's Western drama Garden of Evil with Susan Hayward, about three soldiers of fortune in Mexico hired to rescue a woman's husband.
    More Details Hide Details That same year, he appeared in Robert Aldrich's Western adventure Vera Cruz with Burt Lancaster. In the film, Cooper plays an American adventurer hired by Emperor Maximilian I to escort a countess to Vera Cruz during the Mexican Rebellion of 1866. All of these films received poor reviews but did well at the box-office. For his work in Vera Cruz, Cooper earned $1.4 million in salary and percent of the gross. During this period, Cooper struggled with health problems. As well as his ongoing treatment for ulcers, he suffered a severe shoulder injury during the filming of Blowing Wild when he was hit by metal fragments from a dynamited oil well. During the filming of Vera Cruz, he reinjured his hip falling from a horse, and was burned when Lancaster fired his rifle too close and the wadding from the blank shell pierced his clothing.
  • FORTIES
  • 1951
    Age 49
    Cooper and his wife were legally separated in May 1951, but he did not seek a divorce. Neal ended their relationship in late December 1951.
    More Details Hide Details During his three-year separation from his wife, Cooper had affairs with Grace Kelly, Lorraine Chanel, and Gisèle Pascal. Ever go out in the fall and do a little hunting? See the frost on the grass and the leaves turning? Spend a day in the hills alone, or with good companions? Watch a sunset and a moonrise? Notice a bird in the wind? A stream in the woods, a storm at sea, cross the country by train, and catch a glimpse of something beautiful in the desert, or the farmlands? Cooper's twenty-year friendship with Ernest Hemingway began at Sun Valley in October 1940. The previous year, Hemingway drew upon Cooper's image when he created the character of Robert Jordan for the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. The two shared a passion for the outdoors, and for years they hunted duck and pheasant, and skied together in Sun Valley. Both men admired the work of Rudyard Kipling—Cooper kept a copy of the poem "If—" in his dressing room—and retained as adults Kipling's sense of boyish adventure. As well as admiring Cooper's hunting skills and knowledge of the outdoors, Hemingway believed his character matched his screen persona, once telling a friend, "If you made up a character like Coop, nobody would believe it. He's just too good to be true." They saw each other often, and their friendship remained strong through the years.
  • 1948
    Age 46
    In 1948, after finishing work on The Fountainhead, Cooper began an affair with actress Patricia Neal, his co-star.
    More Details Hide Details At first they kept their affair discreet, but eventually it became an open secret in Hollywood, and Cooper's wife confronted him with the rumors, which he admitted were true. He also confessed that he was in love with Neal, and continued to see her.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details His first film under the new contract was King Vidor's drama The Fountainhead (1949) with Patricia Neal and Raymond Massey. In the film, Cooper plays an idealistic and uncompromising architect who struggles to maintain his integrity and individualism in the face of societal pressures to conform to popular standards. Based on the novel by Ayn Rand who also wrote the screenplay, the film reflects her Objectivist philosophy and attacks the concepts of altruism and collectivism while promoting the virtues of selfishness and individualism. For most critics, Cooper was hopelessly miscast in the role of Howard Roark. In his review for The New York Times, Bosley Crowther concluded he was "Mr. Deeds out of his element". Cooper returned to his element in Delmer Daves' war drama Task Force (1949), about a retiring rear admiral who reminisces about his long career as a naval aviator and his role in the development of aircraft carriers. Cooper's performance and the Technicolor newsreel footage supplied by the United States Navy made the film one of Cooper's most popular during this period. In the next two years, Cooper made four poorly received films: Michael Curtiz' period drama Bright Leaf (1950), Stuart Heisler's Western melodrama Dallas (1950), Henry Hathaway's wartime comedy You're in the Navy Now (1951), and Raoul Walsh's Western action film Distant Drums (1951).
  • 1947
    Age 45
    In 1947, Cooper appeared in Cecil B. DeMille's epic adventure film Unconquered with Paulette Goddard, about a Virginia militiaman who defends settlers against an unscrupulous gun trader and hostile Indians on the Western frontier during the eighteenth century.
    More Details Hide Details The film received mixed reviews, but even long-time DeMille critic James Agee acknowledged the picture had "some authentic flavor of the period". This last of four films made with DeMille was Cooper's most lucrative, earning the actor over $300,000 in salary and percentage of profits. Unconquered would be his last unqualified box-office success for the next five years.
  • 1946
    Age 44
    Cooper's only film in 1946 was Fritz Lang's romantic thriller Cloak and Dagger, about a mild-mannered physics professor recruited by the OSS during the last years of World War II to investigate the German atomic bomb program.
    More Details Hide Details Playing a part loosely based on physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, Cooper was uneasy with the role and was unable to convey the "inner sense" of the character. The film received poor reviews and was a box-office failure.
  • 1945
    Age 43
    In November 1945, Cooper appeared in Sam Wood's nineteenth century period drama Saratoga Trunk with Ingrid Bergman, about a Texas cowboy and his relationship with a beautiful fortune-hunter.
    More Details Hide Details Filmed in early 1943, the movie's release was delayed for two years due to the increased demand for war movies. Despite poor reviews, Saratoga Trunk did well at the box office and became one of the top money-makers of the year for Warner Bros.
    In 1945, Cooper starred in and produced Stuart Heisler's Western comedy Along Came Jones with Loretta Young for International.
    More Details Hide Details In this lighthearted parody of his past heroic image, Cooper plays comically inept cowboy Melody Jones who is mistaken for a ruthless killer. Audiences embraced Cooper's character, and the film was one of the top box-office pictures of the year—a testament to Cooper's still vital audience appeal. It was also International's biggest financial success during its brief history before being sold off to Universal Studios in 1946. Cooper's career during the post-war years drifted in new directions as American society was changing. While he still played conventional heroic roles, his films now relied less on his heroic screen persona and more on novel stories and exotic settings.
  • 1944
    Age 42
    When Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for an unprecedented fourth presidential term in 1944, Cooper campaigned for Thomas E. Dewey and criticized Roosevelt for being dishonest and adopting "foreign" ideas.
    More Details Hide Details In a radio address that he paid for himself just prior to the election, Cooper said, "I disagree with the New Deal belief that the America all of us love is old and worn-out and finished—and has to borrow foreign notions that don't even seem to work any too well where they come from... Our country is a young country that just has to make up its mind to be itself again." He also attended a Republican rally at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that drew 93,000 Dewey supporters. Cooper was one of the founding members of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a conservative organization dedicated, according to its statement of principles, to preserving the "American way of life" and opposing communism and fascism. The organization—whose membership included Walt Disney, Clark Gable, Ronald Reagan, Barbara Stanwyck, and John Wayne—pressured the United States Congress to investigate communist influence in the motion picture industry. On October 23, 1947, Cooper appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and was asked if he had observed any "communistic influence" in Hollywood. Cooper recounted statements he'd heard suggesting that the Constitution was out of date and that Congress was an unnecessary institution—comments that Cooper said he found to be "very un-American". He also testified that he had rejected several scripts because he thought they were "tinged with communist ideas". Unlike some other witnesses, Cooper did not name any individuals during his testimony.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details In the film, Cooper plays American doctor and missionary Corydon M. Wassell, who leads a group of wounded sailors through the jungles of Java to safety. Despite receiving poor reviews, Dr. Wassell was one of the top-grossing films of the year. With his Goldwyn and Paramount contracts now concluded, Cooper decided to remain independent and formed his own production company, International Pictures, with Leo Spitz, William Goetz, and Nunnally Johnson. The fledgling studio's first offering was Sam Wood's romantic comedy Casanova Brown with Teresa Wright, about a man who learns his soon-to-be ex-wife is pregnant with his child, just as he is about to marry another woman. The film received poor reviews, with the New York Daily News calling it "delightful nonsense", and Bosley Crowther, in The New York Times, criticizing Cooper's "somewhat obvious and ridiculous clowning". The film was barely profitable.
  • 1943
    Age 41
    In late 1943, Cooper undertook a tour of the South West Pacific with actresses Una Merkel and Phyllis Brooks, and accordionist Andy Arcari.
    More Details Hide Details Traveling on a B-24A Liberator bomber, the group toured the Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Queensland, Brisbane—where General Douglas MacArthur told Cooper he was watching Sergeant York in a Manila theater when Japanese bombs began falling—New Guinea, Jayapura, and throughout the Solomon Islands. The group often shared the same sparse living conditions and K-rations as the troops. Cooper met with the servicemen and women, visited military hospitals, introduced his attractive colleagues, and participated in occasional skits. The shows concluded with Cooper's moving recitation of Lou Gehrig's farewell speech. When he returned to the United States, he visited military hospitals throughout the country. Cooper later called his time with the troops the "greatest emotional experience" of his life.
    In June 1943, he visited military hospitals in San Diego, and often appeared at the Hollywood Canteen serving food to the servicemen.
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  • 1942
    Age 40
    Cooper's only film appearance in 1942 was also his last under his Goldwyn contract.
    More Details Hide Details In Sam Wood's biographical film The Pride of the Yankees, Cooper portrays baseball star Lou Gehrig who established a record with the New York Yankees for playing in 2,130 consecutive games. Cooper was reluctant to play the seven-time All-Star, who only died the previous year from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) —now commonly called "Lou Gehrig's disease". Beyond the challenges of effectively portraying such a popular and nationally recognized figure, Cooper knew very little about baseball and was not left-handed like Gehrig. After Gehrig's widow visited the actor and expressed her desire that he portray her husband, Cooper accepted the role that covered a twenty-year span of Gehrig's life—his early love of baseball, his rise to greatness, his loving marriage, and his struggle with illness, culminating in his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939 before 62,000 fans. Cooper quickly learned the physical movements of a baseball player and developed a fluid, believable swing. The handedness issue was solved by reversing the print for certain batting scenes. The film was one of the year's top ten pictures and received eleven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Cooper's third).
  • THIRTIES
  • 1941
    Age 39
    Considered by some critics to be Capra's best film at the time, Meet John Doe was received as a "national event" with Cooper appearing on the front cover of Time magazine on March 3, 1941.
    More Details Hide Details In his review in the New York Herald Tribune, Howard Barnes called Cooper's performance a "splendid and utterly persuasive portrayal" and praised his "utterly realistic acting which comes through with such authority". Bosley Crowther, in The New York Times, wrote, "Gary Cooper, of course, is 'John Doe' to the life and in the whole—shy, bewildered, non-aggressive, but a veritable tiger when aroused." That same year, Cooper made two films with director and good friend Howard Hawks. In the biographical film Sergeant York, Cooper portrays war hero Alvin C. York, one of the most decorated American soldiers in World War I. The film chronicles York's early backwoods days in Tennessee, his religious conversion and subsequent piety, his stand as a conscientious objector, and finally his heroic actions at the Battle of the Argonne Forest, which earned him the Medal of Honor. Initially, Cooper was nervous and uncertain about playing a living hero, so he traveled to Tennessee to visit York at his home, and the two quiet men established an immediate rapport and discovered they had much in common. Inspired by York's encouragement, Cooper delivered a performance that Howard Barnes of the New York Herald Tribune called "one of extraordinary conviction and versatility", and that Archer Winston of the New York Post called "one of his best". After the film's release, Cooper was awarded the Distinguished Citizenship Medal by the Veterans of Foreign Wars for his "powerful contribution to the promotion of patriotism and loyalty".
  • 1940
    Age 38
    While not as popular with critics as its predecessor, the film was another box-office success—the sixth-highest-grossing film of 1940.
    More Details Hide Details The early 1940s were Cooper's prime years as an actor. In a relatively short period, he appeared in five critically successful and popular films that produced some of his finest performances. When Frank Capra offered him the lead role in Meet John Doe before Robert Riskin even developed the script, Cooper accepted his friend's offer, saying, "It's okay, Frank, I don't need a script." In the film, Cooper plays Long John Willoughby, a down-and-out bush-league pitcher hired by a newspaper to pretend to be a man who promises to commit suicide on Christmas Eve to protest all the hypocrisy and corruption in the country.
  • 1938
    Age 36
    In the fall of 1938, Cooper appeared in H. C. Potter's romantic comedy The Cowboy and the Lady with Merle Oberon, about a sweet-natured rodeo cowboy who falls in love with the wealthy daughter of a presidential hopeful, believing her to be a poor, hard-working lady's maid.
    More Details Hide Details The efforts of three directors and several eminent screenwriters could not salvage what could have been a fine vehicle for Cooper. While more successful than its predecessor, the film was Cooper's fourth consecutive box-office failure in American market. In the next two years, Cooper was more discerning about the roles he accepted and made four successful large-scale adventure and cowboy films. In William A. Wellman's adventure film Beau Geste (1939), he plays one of three daring English brothers who join the French Foreign Legion in the Sahara to fight local tribes. Filmed in the same Mojave Desert locations as the original 1926 version with Ronald Colman, Beau Geste provided Cooper with magnificent sets, exotic settings, high-spirited action, and a role tailored to his personality and screen persona. This was the last film in Cooper's contract with Paramount. In Henry Hathaway's The Real Glory (1939), he plays a military doctor who accompanies a small group of American Army officers to the Philippines to help the Christian Filipinos defend themselves against Muslim radicals. Many film critics praised Cooper's performance, including author and film critic Graham Greene who recognized that he "never acted better".
    In 1938, he appeared in Archie Mayo's biographical film The Adventures of Marco Polo.
    More Details Hide Details Plagued by production problems and a weak screenplay, the film became Goldwyn's biggest failure to that date, losing $700,000. During this period, Cooper turned down several important roles, including the role of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. Cooper was producer David O. Selznick's first choice for the part. He made several overtures to the actor, but Cooper had doubts about the project, and did not feel suited to the role. Cooper later admitted, "It was one of the best roles ever offered in Hollywood... But I said no. I didn't see myself as quite that dashing, and later, when I saw Clark Gable play the role to perfection, I knew I was right." Back at Paramount, Cooper returned to a more comfortable genre in Ernst Lubitsch's romantic comedy Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938) with Claudette Colbert. In the film, Cooper plays a wealthy American businessman in France who falls in love with an impoverished aristocrat's daughter and persuades her to become his eighth wife. Despite the clever screenplay by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, and solid performances by Cooper and Colbert, American audiences had trouble accepting Cooper in the role of a shallow philanderer. After all, It succeeded only in European market.
  • 1937
    Age 35
    In contrast to his output the previous year, Cooper appeared in only one picture in 1937, Henry Hathaway's adventure film Souls at Sea.
    More Details Hide Details A critical and box-office failure, Cooper referred to it as his "almost picture", saying, "It was almost exciting, and almost interesting. And I was almost good."
  • 1936
    Age 34
    During the height of his career, from 1936 to 1943, he played a new type of hero—a champion of the common man willing to sacrifice himself for others (Mr. Deeds, Meet John Doe, and For Whom the Bell Tolls).
    More Details Hide Details In the post-war years, Cooper attempted broader variations on his screen image, which now reflected a hero increasingly at odds with the world who must face adversity alone (The Fountainhead and High Noon). In his final films, Cooper's hero rejects the violence of the past, and seeks to reclaim lost honor and find redemption (Friendly Persuasion and Man of the West). The screen persona he developed and sustained throughout his career represented the ideal American hero—a tall, handsome, and sincere man of steadfast integrity who emphasized action over intellect, and combined the heroic qualities of the romantic lover, the adventurer, and the common man. On February 6, 1960, Cooper was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6243 Hollywood Boulevard for his contribution to the film industry. He was also awarded a star on the sidewalk outside the Ellen Theater in Bozeman, Montana.
    In late 1936, while Paramount was preparing a new contract for Cooper that would raise his salary to $8,000 a week, Cooper signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn for six films over six years with a minimum guarantee of $150,000 per picture.
    More Details Hide Details Paramount brought suit against Goldwyn and Cooper, and the court ruled that Cooper's new Goldwyn contract afforded the actor sufficient time to also honor his Paramount agreement. Cooper continued to make films with both studios, and by 1939 the United States Treasury reported that Cooper was the country's highest wage earner, at $482,819 (equivalent to $ million in).
    Cooper appeared in two other Paramount films in 1936.
    More Details Hide Details In Lewis Milestone's adventure film The General Died at Dawn with Madeleine Carroll, he plays an American soldier of fortune in China who helps the peasants defend themselves against the oppression of a cruel warlord. Written by playwright Clifford Odets, the film was a critical and commercial success. In Cecil B. DeMille's sprawling frontier epic The Plainsman—his first of four films with the director—Cooper portrays Wild Bill Hickok in a highly fictionalized version of the opening of the American western frontier. The film was an even greater box-office hit than its predecessor, due in large part to Jean Arthur's definitive depiction of Calamity Jane and Cooper's inspired portrayal of Hickock as an enigmatic figure of "deepening mythic substance". That year, Cooper appeared for the first time on the Motion Picture Herald exhibitor's poll of top ten film personalities, where he would remain for the next twenty-three years.
    Both Desire and Mr. Deeds opened in April 1936 to critical praise and were major box-office successes.
    More Details Hide Details In his review in The New York Times, Frank Nugent wrote that Cooper was "proving himself one of the best light comedians in Hollywood". For his performance in Mr. Deeds, Cooper received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
    The year 1936 marked an important turning point in Cooper's career.
    More Details Hide Details After making Frank Borzage's romantic comedy film Desire with Marlene Dietrich at Paramount—delivering a performance considered by some contemporary critics as one of his finest—Cooper returned to Poverty Row for the first time since his early silent film days to make Frank Capra's screwball comedy Mr. Deeds Goes to Town with Jean Arthur for Columbia Pictures. In the film, Cooper plays the character of Longfellow Deeds, a quiet, innocent writer of greeting cards who inherits a fortune, leaves behind his idyllic life in Vermont, and travels to New York where he faces a world of corruption and deceit. Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin were able to use Cooper's well-established screen persona as the "quintessential American hero"—a symbol of honesty, courage, and goodness—to create a new type of "folk hero" for the common man. Commenting on Cooper's impact on the character and the film, Capra observed:
  • 1934
    Age 32
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Despite Richard Boleslawski's imaginative direction and George J. Folsey's lavish cinematography, the film did poorly at the box office. Back at Paramount, Cooper appeared in his first of seven films by director Henry Hathaway, Now and Forever, with Carole Lombard and Shirley Temple. In the film, he plays a confidence man who tries to sell his daughter to the relatives who raised her, but is eventually won over by the adorable girl. Impressed by Temple's intelligence and charm, Cooper developed a close rapport with her, both on and off screen. The film was a box-office success. The following year, Cooper was loaned out to Samuel Goldwyn Productions to appear in King Vidor's romance film The Wedding Night with Anna Sten, who was being groomed as "another Garbo". In the film, Cooper plays an alcoholic novelist who retreats to his family's New England farm where he meets and falls in love with a beautiful Polish neighbor. Cooper delivered a performance of surprising range and depth, according to biographer Larry Swindell. Despite receiving generally favorable reviews, the film was not popular with American audiences, who may have been offended by the film's depiction of an extramarital affair and its tragic ending. That same year, Cooper appeared in two Henry Hathaway films: the melodrama Peter Ibbetson with Ann Harding, about a man caught up in a dream world created by his love for a childhood sweetheart, and the adventure film The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, about a daring British officer and his men who defend their stronghold at Bengal against rebellious local tribes.
  • 1933
    Age 31
    After he was married in December 1933, Cooper remained faithful to his wife until the summer of 1942, when he began an affair with Ingrid Bergman during the production of For Whom the Bell Tolls. Their relationship lasted through the completion of filming Saratoga Trunk in June 1943.
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    Cooper and Rocky were quietly married at her parents' Park Avenue residence on December 15, 1933.
    More Details Hide Details According to his friends, the marriage had a positive impact on Cooper, who turned away from past indiscretions and took control of his life. Athletic and a lover of the outdoors, Rocky shared many of Cooper's interests, including riding, skiing, and skeet-shooting. She organized their social life, and her wealth and social connections provided Cooper access to New York high society. Cooper and his wife owned homes in the Los Angeles area in Encino (1933–36), Brentwood (1936–53), and Holmby Hills (1954–61), and owned a vacation home in Aspen, Colorado (1949–53). Cooper's daughter Maria Veronica Cooper was born on September 15, 1937. By all accounts, he was a patient and affectionate father, teaching Maria to ride a bicycle, play tennis, ski, and ride horses. Sharing many of her parents' interests, she accompanied them on their travels and was often photographed with them. Like her father, she developed a love for art and drawing. As a family they vacationed together in Sun Valley, Idaho, spent time at Rocky's parents' country house in Southampton, New York, and took frequent trips to Europe. Cooper and Rocky were legally separated on May 16, 1951, when Cooper moved out of their home. For over two years, they maintained a fragile and uneasy family life with their daughter. Cooper moved back into their home in November 1953, and their formal reconciliation occurred in February 1954.
    Cooper was formally introduced to his future wife, twenty-year-old New York debutante Veronica Balfe, on Easter Sunday 1933 at a party given by her uncle, art director Cedric Gibbons.
    More Details Hide Details Called "Rocky" by her family and friends, she grew up on Park Avenue and attended finishing schools. Her stepfather was Wall Street tycoon Paul Shields.
    Cooper changed his name legally to "Gary Cooper" in August 1933.
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    In 1933, after making Today We Live with Joan Crawford and One Sunday Afternoon with Fay Wray, Cooper appeared in the Ernst Lubitsch comedy film Design for Living, based on the successful Noël Coward play.
    More Details Hide Details Co-starring Miriam Hopkins and Fredric March, the film received mixed reviews and did not do well at the box office. Cooper's performance—playing an American artist in Europe competing with his playwright friend for the affections of a beautiful woman—was singled out for its versatility and revealed his genuine ability to do light comedy.
    He married New York debutante Veronica Balfe in 1933, and the couple had one daughter.
    More Details Hide Details Their marriage was interrupted by a three-year separation precipitated by Cooper's love affair with Patricia Neal. Cooper received the Academy Award for Best Actor for his roles in Sergeant York and High Noon.
  • 1932
    Age 30
    In 1932, after completing Devil and the Deep with Tallulah Bankhead to fulfill his old contract, Cooper appeared in A Farewell to Arms, the first film adaptation of an Ernest Hemingway novel.
    More Details Hide Details Co-starring Helen Hayes, a leading New York theatre star and Academy Award winner, and Adolphe Menjou, the film presented Cooper with one of his most ambitious and challenging dramatic roles, playing an American ambulance driver wounded in Italy who falls in love with an English nurse during World War I. Critics praised his highly intense and emotional performance, and the film became one of the year's most commercially successful pictures.
    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.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1931
    Age 29
    During his year abroad in 1931–32, Cooper had an affair with the married Countess Dorothy di Frasso, while staying at her Villa Madama in Rome.
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    In May 1931, Cooper left Hollywood and sailed to Algiers and then Italy, where he lived for the next year.
    More Details Hide Details During his time abroad, Cooper stayed with the Countess Dorothy di Frasso at the Villa Madama in Rome, where she taught him about good food and vintage wines, how to read Italian and French menus, and how to socialize among Europe's nobility and upper classes. After guiding him through the great art museums and galleries of Italy, she accompanied him on a ten-week big-game hunting safari on the slopes of Mount Kenya in East Africa, where he was credited with over sixty kills, including two lions, a rhinoceros, and various antelopes. His safari experience in Africa had a profound influence on Cooper and intensified his love of the wilderness. After returning to Europe, he and the countess set off on a Mediterranean cruise of the Italian and French Rivieras.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Cooper concluded the year with appearances in two unsuccessful films: I Take This Woman with Carole Lombard, and His Woman with Claudette Colbert. The demands and pressures of making ten films in two years left Cooper exhausted and in poor health, suffering from anemia and jaundice. He had lost during that period, and felt lonely, isolated, and depressed by his sudden fame and wealth.
  • 1930
    Age 28
    During their two years together, Cooper also had brief affairs with Marlene Dietrich while filming Morocco in 1930 and with Carole Lombard while making I Take This Woman in 1931.
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    One of the more important performances in Cooper's early career was his portrayal of a sullen legionnaire in Josef von Sternberg's 1930 film Morocco with Marlene Dietrich in her introduction to American audiences.
    More Details Hide Details During production, von Sternberg focused his energies on Dietrich and treated Cooper dismissively. Tensions came to a head after von Sternberg yelled directions at Cooper in German. The actor approached the director, physically picked him up by the collar and said, "If you expect to work in this country you'd better get on to the language we use here." Despite the tensions on the set, Cooper produced "one of his best performances", according to Thornton Delehanty of the New York Evening Post.
    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.
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  • 1929
    Age 27
    In 1929, while filming The Wolf Song, Cooper began an intense affair with Lupe Vélez, which was the most important romance of his early life.
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    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.
    More Details Hide Details Based on the popular novel by Owen Wister, The Virginian was one of the first sound films to define the Western code of honor and helped establish many of the conventions of the Western movie genre that have lasted to the present day. According to biographer Jeffrey Meyers, the romantic image of the tall, handsome, and shy cowboy hero who embodied male freedom, courage, and honor was created in large part by Cooper in the film. Unlike some silent film actors who had trouble adapting to the new sound medium, Cooper transitioned naturally, with his "deep and clear" and "pleasantly drawling" voice, which was perfectly suited for the characters he portrayed on screen, also according to Meyers.
  • 1928
    Age 26
    In 1928, he had a relationship with another experienced actress, Evelyn Brent, whom he met while filming Beau Sabreur.
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    In 1928, Paramount paired Cooper with a youthful Fay Wray in The Legion of the Condemned and The First Kiss—advertising them as the studio's "glorious young lovers".
    More Details Hide Details Their on-screen chemistry failed to generate much excitement with audiences. With each new film, Cooper's acting skills improved and his popularity continued to grow, especially among female movie-goers. During this time, he was earning as much as $2,750 per film and receiving a thousand fan letters a week. Looking to exploit Cooper's growing audience appeal, the studio placed him opposite popular leading ladies such as Evelyn Brent in Beau Sabreur, Florence Vidor in Doomsday, and Esther Ralston in Half a Bride. That year, Cooper also made Lilac Time with Colleen Moore for First National Pictures, his first movie with synchronized music and sound effects. It became one of the most commercially successful films of 1928.
  • 1927
    Age 25
    Prior to his marriage, Cooper had a series of romantic relationships with leading actresses, beginning in 1927 with Clara Bow, who advanced his career by helping him get one of his first leading roles in Children of Divorce.
    More Details Hide Details Bow was also responsible for getting Cooper a role in Wings, which generated an enormous amount of fan mail for the young actor.
    In 1927, with help from established movie star Clara Bow, Cooper landed high-profile roles in Children of Divorce and Wings, the latter being the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.
    More Details Hide Details That year, Cooper also appeared in his first starring roles in Arizona Bound and Nevada—both films directed by John Waters.
  • 1926
    Age 24
    On June 1, 1926, Cooper signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn Productions for fifty dollars a week.
    More Details Hide Details Cooper's first important film role was in The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926) with Ronald Colman and Vilma Bánky. In the film, Cooper plays a young engineer, Abe Lee, who helps a rival suitor save the woman he loves and her town from an impending dam disaster. Cooper's experience living among the Montana cowboys gave his performance an "instinctive authenticity", according to biographer Jeffrey Meyers. The film premiered on October 14 and was a major success. Critics singled out Cooper as a "dynamic new personality" and future star. Goldwyn rushed to offer the actor a long-term contract, but Cooper held out for a better deal—finally signing a five-year contract with Jesse L. Lasky at Paramount Pictures for $175 a week.
  • 1925
    Age 23
    In early 1925, Cooper began his film career working in silent pictures such as The Thundering Herd and Wild Horse Mesa with Jack Holt, Riders of the Purple Sage and The Lucky Horseshoe with Tom Mix, and The Trail Rider with Buck Jones.
    More Details Hide Details He worked for several Poverty Row studios, including Famous Players-Lasky and Fox Film Corporation. While his skills as a horseman led to steady work in Westerns, Cooper found the stunt work "tough and cruel", sometimes resulting in injury to the horses and riders. Hoping to move beyond the risky stunt work and obtain acting roles, Cooper paid for a screen test and hired casting director Nan Collins to work as his agent. Knowing that other actors were using the name "Frank Cooper", Collins suggested he change his first name to "Gary" after her hometown of Gary, Indiana. Cooper liked the name immediately. Cooper also found work in a variety of non-Western films, appearing, for example, as a masked Cossack in The Eagle (1925), as a Roman guard in Ben-Hur (1925), and as a flood survivor in The Johnstown Flood (1926). Gradually, he began to land credited roles that offered him more screen time, in films such as Tricks (1925), in which he played the film's antagonist, and the short film Lightnin' Wins (1926). As a featured player, he began to attract the attention of major film studios.
  • 1924
    Age 22
    At his father's request, Cooper joined his parents in California on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1924.
    More Details Hide Details In the coming weeks, after working a series of unpromising jobs, Cooper met two friends from Montana, Jim Galeen and Jim Calloway, who were working as film extras and stunt riders in low-budget Western films for the small movie studios on Poverty Row on Gower Street. They introduced him to another Montana cowboy, rodeo champion Jay "Slim" Talbot, who took him to see a casting director who offered him work. With the goal of saving enough money to pay for a professional art course, Cooper decided to try his hand at working as a film extra for five dollars a day, and as a stunt rider for twice that amount.
    In the autumn of 1924, Cooper's father left the Montana Supreme Court bench and moved with his wife to Los Angeles to administer the estates of two relatives.
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    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.
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  • 1922
    Age 20
    During the summers of 1922 and 1923, Cooper worked at Yellowstone National Park as a tour guide driving the yellow open-top buses.
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    In 1922, Cooper enrolled in Grinnell College in Iowa to continue his art education.
    More Details Hide Details Cooper did well academically in most of his courses, but was not accepted to the school's drama club. His drawings and watercolors were exhibited throughout the dormitory, and he was named art editor for the college yearbook.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1920
    Age 18
    In 1920, while still attending high school, Cooper took three art courses at Montana Agricultural College in Bozeman.
    More Details Hide Details His interest in art was inspired years earlier by the Western paintings of Charles Marion Russell and Frederic Remington. Cooper especially admired and studied Russell's Lewis and Clark Meeting Indians at Ross' Hole (1910), which still hangs in the state capitol building in Helena.
  • 1919
    Age 17
    In 1919, his father arranged for his son to complete his high school education at Gallatin County High School in Bozeman, Montana.
    More Details Hide Details His English teacher, Ida Davis, encouraged him to focus on academics, join the school's debating team, and get involved in dramatics. His parents would later credit her for helping their son complete high school, and Cooper confirmed, "She was the woman partly responsible for me giving up cowboy-ing and going to college."
  • 1918
    Age 16
    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.
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  • 1916
    Age 14
    In Robert Rossen's historical adventure They Came to Cordura with Rita Hayworth, he plays an army officer who is found guilty of cowardice and assigned the degrading task of recommending soldiers for the Medal of Honor during the Pancho Villa Expedition of 1916.
    More Details Hide Details While Cooper received positive reviews, Variety and Films in Review felt he was too old for the part. In Michael Anderson's action drama The Wreck of the Mary Deare with Charlton Heston, Cooper plays a disgraced merchant marine officer who decides to stay aboard his sinking cargo ship in order to prove the vessel was deliberately scuttled and to redeem his good name. Like its two predecessors, the film was physically demanding. Cooper, who was a trained scuba diver, did most of his own underwater scenes. Biographer Jeffrey Meyers observed that in all three roles, Cooper effectively conveyed the sense of lost honor and desire for redemption—what Joseph Conrad in Lord Jim called the "struggles of an individual trying to save from the fire his idea of what his moral identity should be".
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1912
    Age 10
    Cooper's mother accompanied her sons back to the United States in August 1912, and Cooper resumed his education at Johnson Grammar School in Helena.
    More Details Hide Details At the age of fifteen, Cooper injured his hip in a car accident and returned to the Seven-Bar-Nine ranch to recuperate by horseback riding at the recommendation of his doctor. The misguided therapy left him with his characteristic stiff, off-balanced walk and slightly angled riding style.
  • 1911
    Age 9
    After completing confirmation classes, Cooper was baptized into the Anglican Church on December 3, 1911, at the Church of All Saints in Houghton Regis.
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  • 1908
    Age 6
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Cooper attended Central Grade School in Helena. In the summer of 1909, Alice, wanting her sons to have an English education, accompanied them to England and enrolled them in Dunstable Grammar School in Bedfordshire, where Cooper was educated from 1910 to 1912. At Dunstable, Cooper studied Latin and French, and took several courses in English history. While he managed to adapt to the discipline of an English school and learned the requisite social graces, he never adjusted to the rigid class structure and formal Eton collars he was forced to wear.
  • 1901
    Born
    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).
    More Details Hide Details His father emigrated from Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire and became a prominent lawyer, rancher, and eventually a Montana Supreme Court justice. His mother emigrated from Gillingham, Kent and married Charles in Montana. In 1906, Charles purchased the Seven-Bar-Nine cattle ranch about north of Helena near the town of Craig on the Missouri River. Frank and his older brother Arthur spent their summers there and learned to ride horses, hunt, and fish.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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