123 Facts About Gary Cooper


Gary Cooper won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice and had a further three nominations, as well as an Academy Honorary Award in 1961 for his career achievements.


Gary Cooper was one of the top-10 film personalities for 23 consecutive years and one of the top money-making stars for 18 years.


Gary Cooper's career spanned 36 years, from 1925 to 1961, and included leading roles in 84 feature films.


Gary Cooper was a major movie star from the end of the silent film era through to the end of the golden age of classical Hollywood.


Gary Cooper began his career as a film extra and stunt rider, but soon landed acting roles.


Gary Cooper later portrayed more mature characters at odds with the world in films such as The Fountainhead and High Noon.


Frank James Gary Cooper was born in Helena, Montana, on May 7,1901, the younger of two sons of English parents Alice and Charles Henry Gary Cooper.


Gary Cooper's father came from Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, and became a prominent lawyer, rancher, and Montana Supreme Court justice.


Gary Cooper's mother hailed from Gillingham, Kent, and married Charles in Montana.


Gary Cooper studied Latin, French, and English history at Dunstable until 1912.


Gary Cooper received his confirmation in the Church of England at the Church of All Saints in Houghton Regis on December 3,1911.


Gary Cooper's mother accompanied her sons back to the US in August 1912, and Cooper resumed his education at Johnson Grammar School in Helena.


When Gary Cooper was 15, he injured his hip in a car accident.


Gary Cooper left Helena High School after two years in 1918 and returned to the family ranch to work full-time as a cowboy.


Gary Cooper later called Davis "the woman partly responsible for [his] giving up cowboy-ing and going to college".


Gary Cooper was still attending high school in 1920, when he took three art courses at Montana Agricultural College in Bozeman.


Gary Cooper especially admired and studied Russell's Lewis and Clark Meeting Indians at Ross' Hole, which still hangs in the state capitol building in Helena.


In 1922, to continue his art education, Gary Cooper enrolled in Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa.


Gary Cooper did well academically in most of his courses, but was not accepted into the school's drama club.


In early 1925, Gary Cooper began his film career 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.


Gary Cooper worked for several Poverty Row studios, but the already emergent major studios, Famous Players-Lasky and Fox Film Corporation.


Gary Cooper found work in a variety of non-Western films, appearing, for example, as a masked Cossack in The Eagle, as a Roman guard in Ben-Hur, and as a flood survivor in The Johnstown Flood.


On June 1,1926, Gary Cooper signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn Productions for $50 a week.


Gary Cooper's first important film role was a supporting part in The Winning of Barbara Worth starring Ronald Colman and Vilma Banky, in which he plays a young engineer who helps a rival suitor save the woman he loves and her town from an impending dam disaster.


Gary Cooper's experience living among the Montana cowboys gave his performance an "instinctive authenticity", according to biographer Jeffrey Meyers.


In 1927, with help from Clara Bow, Gary 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.


That year, Gary Cooper appeared in his first starring roles in Arizona Bound and Nevada, both films directed by John Waters.


Around the same time, Gary Cooper made Lilac Time with Colleen Moore for First National Pictures, his first movie with synchronized music and sound effects.


Gary Cooper became a major movie star in 1929 with the release of his first talking picture, The Virginian, which was directed by Victor Fleming and co-starred Mary Brian and Walter Huston.


Unlike some silent-film actors who had trouble adapting to the new sound medium, Gary Cooper transitioned naturally, with his "deep and clear" and "pleasantly drawling" voice, which was perfectly suited for the characters he portrayed on screen, according to Meyers.


Gary 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 10 films in two years left Gary Cooper exhausted and in poor health, suffering from anemia and jaundice.


In May 1931, Gary Cooper left Hollywood and sailed to Algiers and then Italy, where he lived for the next year.


In 1932, after completing Devil and the Deep with Tallulah Bankhead to fulfill his old contract, Gary Cooper appeared in A Farewell to Arms, the first film adaptation of an Ernest Hemingway novel.


In 1933, after making Today We Live with Joan Crawford and One Sunday Afternoon with Fay Wray, Gary Cooper appeared in the Ernst Lubitsch comedy film Design for Living, based on the successful Noel Coward play.


In 1934, Gary Cooper was lent 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.


Back at Paramount, Gary Cooper appeared in his first of seven films by director Henry Hathaway, Now and Forever, with Carole Lombard and Shirley Temple.


Gary Cooper delivered a performance of surprising range and depth, according to biographer Larry Swindell.


That same year, Gary 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.


Hathaway had the highest respect for Gary Cooper's acting ability, calling him "the best actor of all of them".


Our Mr Deeds had to symbolize incorruptibility, and in my mind Gary Cooper was that symbol.


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 Gary Cooper's inspired portrayal of Hickok as an enigmatic figure of "deepening mythic substance".


That year, Gary Cooper appeared for the first time on the Motion Picture Herald exhibitor's poll of top-10 film personalities, where he remained for the next 23 years.


Gary Cooper continued to make films with both studios, and by 1939, the United States Treasury reported that Gary Cooper was the country's highest wage earner, at $482,819.


In contrast to his output the previous year, Gary Cooper appeared in only one picture in 1937, Henry Hathaway's adventure film Souls at Sea.


Gary Cooper was producer David O Selznick's first choice for the part.


Gary Cooper made several overtures to the actor, but Cooper had doubts about the project, and did not feel suited to the role.


Back at Paramount, Gary Cooper returned to a more comfortable genre in Ernst Lubitsch's romantic comedy Bluebeard's Eighth Wife with Claudette Colbert.


Many film critics praised Gary Cooper's performance, including author and film critic Graham Greene, who recognized that he "never acted better".


Gary Cooper returned to the Western genre in William Wyler's The Westerner with Walter Brennan and Doris Davenport, about a drifting cowboy who defends homesteaders against Roy Bean, a corrupt judge known as the "law west of the Pecos".


That same year, Cooper appeared in his first all-Technicolor feature, Cecil B DeMille's adventure film North West Mounted Police.


That same year, Gary Cooper made two films with director and good friend Howard Hawks.


Gary Cooper concluded the year back at Goldwyn with Howard Hawks to make the romantic comedy Ball of Fire with Barbara Stanwyck.


In Sam Wood's biographical film The Pride of the Yankees, Gary Cooper portrays baseball star Lou Gehrig, who established a record with the New York Yankees for playing in 2,130 consecutive games.


Gary Cooper was reluctant to play the seven-time All-Star, who had died only the previous year from ALS.


Beyond the challenges of effectively portraying such a popular and nationally recognized figure, Gary Cooper knew very little about baseball and was not left-handed like Gehrig.


Gary Cooper quickly learned the physical movements of a baseball player and developed a fluid, believable swing.


The love scenes between Bergman and Gary Cooper were "rapturous" and passionate.


In late 1943, Gary Cooper undertook a 23,000-mile tour of the South West Pacific with actresses Una Merkel and Phyllis Brooks, and accordionist Andy Arcari.


Gary Cooper met with the servicemen and women, visited military hospitals, introduced his attractive colleagues, and participated in occasional skits.


Gary Cooper later called his time with the troops the "greatest emotional experience" of his life.


In 1945, Gary Cooper starred in and produced Stuart Heisler's Western comedy Along Came Jones with Loretta Young for International.


In November 1945, Gary Cooper appeared in Sam Wood's 19th-century period drama Saratoga Trunk with Ingrid Bergman, about a Texas cowboy and his relationship with a beautiful fortune hunter.


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 18th century.


In 1948, after making Leo McCarey's romantic comedy Good Sam, Gary Cooper sold his company to Universal Studios and signed a long-term contract with Warner Bros.


For most critics, Gary Cooper was hopelessly miscast in the role of Howard Roark.


Gary Cooper returned to his element in Delmer Daves' war drama Task Force, about a retiring rear admiral, who reminisces about his long career as a naval aviator and his role in the development of aircraft carriers.


Gary Cooper's ravaged face and discomfort in some scenes "photographed as self-doubt", according to biographer Hector Arce, and contributed to the effectiveness of his performance.


Bosley Crowther, in The New York Times, wrote that Gary Cooper was "at the top of his form", and John McCarten, in The New Yorker, wrote that Gary Cooper was never more effective.


In Mark Robson's drama Return to Paradise, Gary Cooper plays an American wanderer who liberates the inhabitants of a Polynesian island from the puritanical rule of a misguided pastor.


Gary Cooper endured spartan living conditions, long hours, and ill health during the three-month location shoot on the island of Upolu in Western Samoa.


In 1954, Gary 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.


Gary Cooper suffered a severe shoulder injury during the filming of Blowing Wild when he was hit by metal fragments from a dynamited oil well, as well as his ongoing treatment for ulcers.


Gary Cooper appeared in Otto Preminger's 1955 biographical war drama The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell, about the World WarI 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.


Some critics felt Gary Cooper was miscast, and that his dull, tight-lipped performance did not reflect Mitchell's dynamic and caustic personality.


In 1956, Gary Cooper was more effective playing a gentle Indiana Quaker in William Wyler's Civil War drama Friendly Persuasion with Dorothy McGuire.


Gary Cooper traveled to France in 1956 to make Billy Wilder's romantic comedy Love in the Afternoon with Audrey Hepburn and Maurice Chevalier.


In Delmer Daves' Western drama The Hanging Tree, Gary Cooper plays a frontier doctor who saves a criminal from a lynch mob, and later tries to exploit his sordid past.


Gary Cooper delivered a "powerful and persuasive" performance of an emotionally scarred man whose need to dominate others is transformed by the love and sacrifice of a woman.


In Michael Anderson's action drama The Wreck of the Mary Deare with Charlton Heston, Gary Cooper plays a disgraced merchant-marine officer who decides to stay aboard his sinking cargo ship to prove the vessel was deliberately scuttled and to redeem his good name.


Gary Cooper, who was a trained scuba diver, did most of his own underwater scenes.


Gary Cooper was formally introduced to his future wife, 20-year-old New York debutante Veronica Balfe, on Easter Sunday 1933 at a party given by her uncle, art director Cedric Gibbons.


Athletic and a lover of the outdoors, Rocky shared many of Gary Cooper's interests, including riding, skiing, and skeet-shooting.


Gary Cooper organized their social life, and her wealth and social connections provided Cooper access to New York high society.


Gary Cooper moved back into their home in November 1953, and their formal reconciliation occurred in February 1954.


In 1929, while filming The Wolf Song, Gary Cooper began an intense affair with Lupe Velez, which was the most important romance of his early life.


In 1948, after finishing work on The Fountainhead, Gary Cooper began an affair with Patricia Neal, his co-star.


At first, they kept their affair discreet, but eventually it became an open secret in Hollywood, and Gary Cooper's wife confronted him with the rumors, which he admitted were true.


Gary Cooper confessed that he was in love with Neal, and continued to see her.


Neal later claimed that Gary Cooper hit her after she went on a date with Kirk Douglas, and that he arranged for her to have an abortion when she became pregnant with Gary Cooper's child.


Gary Cooper biographers have explored his friendship in the late '20s with the actor Anderson Lawler, with whom Gary Cooper shared a house on and off for a year, while at the same time seeing Clara Bow, Evelyn Brent, and Lupe Velez.


Gary Cooper owned several works by Pablo Picasso, whom he met in 1956.


Gary Cooper had a lifelong passion for automobiles, with a collection that included a 1930 Duesenberg.


Gary Cooper was naturally reserved and introspective, and loved the solitude of outdoor activities.


Gary Cooper was modest and unpretentious, frequently downplaying his acting abilities and career accomplishments.


Gary Cooper maintained a sense of propriety throughout his career and never misused his movie-star status; he never sought special treatment or refused to work with a director or leading lady.


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.


Gary 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.


On October 23,1947, Gary Cooper was subpoenaed to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee and was asked if he had observed any "communistic influence" in Hollywood.


Gary Cooper recounted statements he had heard suggesting the Constitution was out of date and that Congress was an unnecessary institution, comments which Gary Cooper said he found to be "very un-American", and testified that he had rejected several scripts because he thought they were "tinged with communist ideas".


Unlike some other witnesses, Gary Cooper did not name any individuals or scripts.


In 1951, while making High Noon, Gary Cooper befriended the film's screenwriter, Carl Foreman, who had been a member of the Communist Party.


When Foreman was subpoenaed by the HUAC, Gary Cooper put his career on the line to defend Foreman.


When John Wayne and others threatened Gary Cooper with blacklisting himself and the loss of his passport if he did not walk off the film, Gary Cooper gave a statement to the press in support of Foreman, calling him "the finest kind of American".


Gary Cooper was baptized in the Church of All Saints, Houghton Regis, in Bedfordshire, England, in December 1911, and was raised in the Episcopal Church in the United States.


Gary Cooper began attending church with them regularly, and met with their parish priest, who offered Cooper spiritual guidance.


On January 9,1961, Gary Cooper attended a dinner given in his honor and hosted by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin at the Friars Club.


Gary 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, Gary Cooper's remains were exhumed and reburied in Sacred Hearts Cemetery in Southampton.


Gary Cooper's grave is marked by a three-ton boulder from a Montauk quarry.


Gary 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.


Gary Cooper gets at it from the inside, from his own clear way of looking at life.


Gary Cooper was a strange actor because you'd look at him during a scene and you'd think.


Gary Cooper is quiet and natural, somehow different from the other cast members.


Gary Cooper was a major movie star from the end of the silent film era to the end of the golden age of Classical Hollywood.


Gary Cooper appeared on the Motion Picture Herald exhibitor's poll of top ten film personalities for twenty-three consecutive years, from 1936 to 1958.


In Quigley's list of all-time money-making stars, Gary Cooper is listed fourth, after John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Tom Cruise.


In more than half his feature films, Gary Cooper portrayed Westerners, soldiers, pilots, sailors, and explorers, all men of action.


On February 6,1960, Gary Cooper was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6243 Hollywood Boulevard for his contribution to the film industry.


Gary Cooper was awarded a star on the sidewalk outside the Ellen Theater in Bozeman, Montana.


On May 6,1961, Gary Cooper was awarded the French Order of Arts and Letters in recognition of his significant contribution to the arts.


In JD Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, chapter 10, Gary Cooper is "spotted" by Holden Caulfield to distract a woman with whom he is dancing.