Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper

date of birth : 07/05/1901 | date of death : 14/05/1961
Born on 7-May-1901, Helena, Montana, Unites States, Actor, Noted for his stoic, understated style, Cooper found success in a number of film genres, including westerns (High Noon), crime (City Streets), comedy (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town) and drama (The Pride of the Yankees).

Birth, Birthplace, Time of birth:

Frank James Cooper (Gary Cooper) was born on 7-May-1901 in Helena, Montana, Unites States.

Father's name: Charles Cooper
Mother's name: Alice H.
Brother: Arthur
Sister: No sister
Spouse: Veronica Cooper
Children: Maria Cooper

Reputation, fame, nickname:

Coop/ Cowboy Cooper/ The Montana Mule/ Studs (given to him by Carole Lombard)

Personal Information:

Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Height: 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Life events:

He was born Frank James Cooper, second son of British immigrants Charles and Alice Cooper, in Helena, Montana. The son of English parents who had settled in Montana, he was educated in England for a time. Cooper worked on his father's ranch in 1918 and 1919, and then enrolled in Wesleyan College at Bozeman, Montana, in 1920. After a serious automobile accident, which left him with a broken hip (and a characteristic gait), Cooper transferred to Grinnell College, in Grinnell, Iowa, in 1921. At Grinnell he proved to be an indifferent student. Art ranked as his sole passion, but he displayed little talent as an illustrator. In 1924, Cooper's father left the Montana Supreme Court bench and moved with his wife to Los Angeles. Their son, unable to make a living as an editorial cartoonist in Helena, joined them, moving there that same year, reasoning that he "would rather starve where it was warm, than to starve and freeze too." Cooper took the advice of two Montana friends who were former rodeo stars, and joined them as an extra in motion picture westerns in 1925. After his appearance in The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926), a western, Cooper's career began to take off. He starred opposite silent movie star Clara Bow in Children of Divorce (1927). Cooper was soon starring in films and, with the aid of skilled sound engineers, easily shifted his talents and light baritone voice to talking pictures. One of his first, The Virginian (1929), helped to stereotype him as the classic cinema man of the West (even though fewer than one-fourth of all his feature films were Westerns). Cooper also earned praise as the ranch foreman in The Virginian (1929), one of his early films with sound. He declined roles in The Big Trail (1930), Stagecoach (1939) and Red River (1948). All of these were subsequently played by John Wayne. On December 15, 1933, Cooper married Veronica Balfe, aka 'Rocky'. Balfe was a New York, Roman Catholic socialite who briefly had acted under the name of Sandra Shaw. Throughout the 1930s, he turned in a number of strong performances in such films as A Farewell to Arms (1934) with Helen Hayes and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) directed by Frank Capra. Cooper received an Academy Award nomination for his work on the film. Cooper continued to excel on the big screen, tackling several real-life dramas. In Sergeant York (1941), he played a World War I hero and sharpshooter, which was based on the life story of Alvin York. Cooper earned a Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of York. On a roll, he reteamed successfully with Stanwyck in "Ball of Fire" (1942), playing a nerdy English professor who hooks up with a mob-connected showgirl to learn new slang, and then went somber again, earning another Oscar nomination for director Sam Wood's "Pride of the Yankees," playing the baseball great Lou Gehrig, whose career was cut short by the disease that bears his name. Wood directed him again in "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (1943), during which Cooper reverted to old ways, beginning an affair with co-star Ingrid Bergman. In 1952, Cooper took on what is known considered his signature role as Will Kane in High Noon. He appeared as a lawman who must face a deadly foe without any help from his own townspeople. The film won four Academy Awards, including a Best Actor win for Cooper. After Cooper was married, but prior to his conversion to Catholicism, he had affairs with several famous co-stars, including Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, Tallulah Bankhead and Patricia Neal. Cooper and Neal began their affair after meeting on the set of The Fountainhead. The relationship eventually became an open secret in Hollywood. Cooper's wife, Rocky, confronted him with the rumors which he admitted were true and also confessed that he was in love with Neal. Cooper and Neal continued to see each other, but Cooper was hesitant to divorce Rocky, fearing he would lose the respect of his daughter, Maria. Neal finally ended the affair in late 1951. Cooper, however, would not reunite with his wife until 1954. A year later he had an affair with Anita Ekberg. His last two films, nautical mystery "The Wreck of the Mary Dearer" (1959) and psychological thriller "The Naked Edge" (1961), both showed a diminished, ill-looking Cooper, the result of cancer diagnosed in 1960, but kept from the public. One of his good friends, Jimmy Stewart, knew of Cooper's medical state when he emotionally accepted a special lifetime Oscar in spring 1961, Cooper spending his final days in his and Ricky's home in L.A.'s Holm by Hills neighborhood, until his death on May 14, 1961.


His mother hoped for their two sons to receive a better education than was available in Montana and arranged for the boys to attend Dunstable Grammar School in Bedfordshire, England, between 1910 and 1913. Following the outbreak of World War I, Cooper's mother brought her sons home and enrolled them at Gallatin Valley High School in Bozeman, Montana. Cooper studied at Iowa's Grinnell College until the spring of 1924, but did not graduate. He had tried out, unsuccessfully, for the college's drama club.

Occupations and Career:

He was an actor. Noted for his stoic, understated style, Cooper found success in a number of film genres, including westerns (High Noon), crime (City Streets), comedy (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town) and drama (The Pride of the Yankees). Cooper's career spanned from 1925 until shortly before his death, and comprised more than one hundred films. Cooper continued his share of adventure yarns, playing a mercenary in revolutionary China in "The General Died at Dawn" (1936), Wild Bill Hickok in Cecille B. DeMille's "The Plainsman," more conspicuously as the world-spanning explorer in "The Adventures of Marco Polo" (1938) and again as a Legionnaire in the blockbuster "Beau Geste" (1939). Bolstering his manly bona fides, he met Hemingway on vacation in Idaho in 1940, getting a sneak-peak at his forthcoming book, The Sun Also Rises. He kept his hand in comedy, reuniting with Colbert in "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife" (1938), and with Capra in another rube-against-the-odds picture, "Meet John D” (1941). A subtle indictment of the fascist machinations inflaming Europe, "D” had Cooper as a vagabond hired by an unscrupulous newspaper to play the role of a made-up pundit, claiming to be the voice of America's unheard everymen, unknowingly becoming the key to a plan by the paper's industrialist owner to garner populist groundswell for his "iron-fist" presidential candidacy. In Morocco (1930) Cooper played a narcissistic cad in the Foreign Legion, while in A Farewell to Arms (1932) he sensitively portrayed the suffering protagonist of Ernest Hemingway's novel. His critical notices tended to improve, though some reviewers dismissed him as a mere matinee idol. Gary Cooper's rugged mug, soft-spoken demeanor and earnest, haunted eyes for decades made him the quintessential lonely American of motion pictures, a more stoic, human protagonist versus boisterous, bigger-than-life Hollywood supermen. Privately a debonair ladies' man with a taste for high society, he crafted an image as just the opposite, from his prototype cowboy talkie "The Virginian" (1929) playing shy, stoic "aw-shucks" her s. He built that image in such classics as Frank Capra's "Mr. Deeds G s to Town" (1936) and "Meet John D " (1941) and celebrated biopics like "Sergeant York" (1941) and "Pride of the Yankees" (1942). Cooper continued to play the lead in films almost to the end of his life. Among his later box office hits were the stark Western adventure Garden of Evil(1954) with Susan Hayward and Richard Widmark; Vera Cruz (1954), an extremely influential Western in which he guns down villain Burt Lancaster in a showdown; his portrayal of a Quaker farmer during the American Civil War in William Wyler's Friendly Persuasion (1956); Billy Wilder's Love in the Afternoon (1957) with Audrey Hepburn; and Anthony Mann's Man of the West (1958), a hard-edged action Western with Lee J. Cobb. His final motion picture was a British film, The Naked Edge (1961), made in London in the autumn of 1960. His final project was narrating an NBC documentary, The Real West, in which he helped clear up myths about legendary Western figures.

Awards /Honors:

Cooper received five Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, winning twice for Sergeant York and High Noon. He also received an Honorary Award in 1961 from the Academy.


  • The Naked Edge (28-Jun-1961)
  • The Wreck of the Mary Deare (6-Nov-1959) • Gideon Patch
  • They Came to Cordura (Jun-1959) • Maj. Thomas Thorn
  • The Hanging Tree (11-Feb-1959) • Dr. Joseph Frail
  • Man of the West (1-Oct-1958) • Link Jones
  • Ten North Frederick (22-May-1958)
  • Love in the Afternoon (30-Jun-1957) • Frank Flannagan
  • Friendly Persuasion (25-Nov-1956) • Jess Birdwell
  • The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (22-Dec-1955)
  • Vera Cruz (25-Dec-1954)
  • Garden of Evil (9-Jul-1954) • Hooker
  • Blowing Wild (16-Sep-1953)
  • Return to Paradise (10-Jul-1953)
  • Springfield Rifle (22-Oct-1952) • Maj. Lex Kearney
  • High Noon (7-Jul-1952) • Will Kane.
  • Distant Drums (25-Dec-1951)
  • Starlift (14-Dec-1951) • Himself
  • It's a Big Country (20-Nov-1951) • Texan
  • You're in the Navy Now (23-Feb-1951)
  • Dallas (30-Dec-1950) • Blayde Hollister.
  • Bright Leaf (16-Jun-1950) • Brant Royle
  • Task Force (30-Aug-1949) • Jonathan L. Scott
  • The Fountainhead (2-Jul-1949) • Howard Roark
  • Good Sam (1-Sep-1948) • Sam Clayton
  • Unconquered (24-Sep-1947)
  • Variety Girl (29-Aug-1947) • Himself
  • Cloak and Dagger (28-Sep-1946)
  • Saratoga Trunk (21-Nov-1945) • Clint Maroon
  • Along Came Jones (19-Jul-1945) • Melody Jones
  • Casanova Brown (23-Aug-1944) • Casanova Brown
  • The Story of Dr. Wassell (26-Apr-1944) • Dr. Corydon M. Wassell
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls (14-Jul-1943) • Robert Jordan
  • The Pride of the Yankees (14-Jul-1942) • Lou Gehrig
  • Ball of Fire (2-Dec-1941) • Prof. Bertram Potts
  • Sergeant York (2-Jul-1941) • Alvin York
  • Meet John Doe (3-May-1941) • John Doe
  • North West Mounted Police (21-Oct-1940)
  • The Westerner (18-Sep-1940) • Cole Harden
  • The Real Glory (15-Sep-1939)
  • Beau Geste (2-Aug-1939)
  • The Cowboy and the Lady (24-Nov-1938) • Stretch
  • The Adventures of Marco Polo (7-Apr-1938)
  • Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (23-Mar-1938)
  • Souls at Sea (9-Aug-1937)
  • The Plainsman (1-Jan-1937) • Wild Bill Hickok
  • The General Died at Dawn (2-Sep-1936)
  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (12-Apr-1936) • Longfellow Deeds
  • Desire (11-Apr-1936) • Tom Bradley
  • Peter Ibbetson (31-Oct-1935)
  • The Wedding Night (16-Mar-1935)
  • The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (4-Jan-1935)
  • Now and Forever (31-Aug-1934)
  • Operator 13 (8-Jun-1934) • Capt. Jack Gailliard
  • Design for Living (29-Dec-1933) • George Curtis
  • Alice in Wonderland (22-Dec-1933) • White Knight
  • One Sunday Afternoon (1-Sep-1933) • Biff Grimes
  • Today We Live (3-Mar-1933) • Lt. Richard Bogard
  • A Farewell to Arms (8-Dec-1932) • Frederic
  • If I Had a Million (2-Dec-1932)
  • Devil and the Deep (12-Aug-1932)
  • His Woman (21-Nov-1931)
  • City Streets (18-Apr-1931) • The Kid
  • Fighting Caravans (1-Feb-1931) • Clint Belmet
  • Morocco (14-Nov-1930)
  • The Texan (10-May-1930)
  • Paramount on Parade (22-Apr-1930)
  • Seven Days' Leave (25-Jan-1930)
  • The Virginian (9-Nov-1929)
  • The Shopworn Angel (29-Dec-1928)
  • Lilac Time (3-Aug-1928)
  • The Legion of the Condemned (10-Mar-1928)
  • Wings (12-Aug-1927) • White
  • The Last Outlaw (2-Jul-1927)
  • The Winning of Barbara Worth (14-Oct-1926)

Hobbies and personal interests:

Fishing, hunting, riding, swimming, and taxidermy.

Death, place of death, Time of death, place of burial:

Cooper was too ill to attend the Academy Awards ceremony in April 1961, so his close friend, James Stewart, accepted the honorary Oscar on his behalf. One month later on May 13, 1961, six days after his 60th birthday, Cooper died. He was buried at Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary Cemetery in Southampton, New York, United States.

Quotes and Memoirs:

The only achievement I am really proud of is the friends I have made in this community.
In Westerns you were permitted to kiss your horse but never your girl.
Looked like she was a cold dish with a man until you got her pants down, then she'd explode.
They just neglected a large portion of the front row.
The general consensus seems to be that I don't act at all.
I looked it at like this way. To get folks to like you, as a screen player I mean, I figured you had to sort of be their ideal. I don't mean a handsome knight riding a white horse, but a fella who answered the description of a right guy.