Job Actor
Years active 1925-1960
Known for Quiet, understated acting style; stoic, individualistic, emotionally-restrained, but intense screen persona
Top Roles Colonel Clint Maroon, Marshal Will Kane, Cole Harden, Légionnaire Tom Brown, Longfellow Deeds
Top GenresDrama, Romance, Comedy, Western, Action, War
Top TopicsBook-Based, Romance (Drama), Screwball Comedy
Top Collaborators (Director), (Producer), (Producer), (Producer)
Shares birthday with Anne Baxter, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Irving Reis  see more..

Daring Darleen Candlewick

Gary Cooper Overview:

Legendary actor, Gary Cooper, was born Frank James Cooper on May 7, 1901 in Helena, MT. Cooper appeared in 115 film roles. His best known films include A Farewell to Arms, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, The General Died at Dawn, The Cowboy and the Lady, Beau Geste, Meet John Doe, Sergeant York, The Pride of the Yankees, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Fountainhead, High Noon and Love in the Afternoon. Early on in his career, Cooper appeared uncredited in some silent films including Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (as an uncredited Roman Guard) and The Johnstown Flood (as an uncredited Flood Survivor). Cooper died at the age of 60 on May 13, 1961 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and was laid to rest in Sacred Hearts Cemetery in Southhampton, NY.

Early Life

Gary Cooper's stoic demeanor and quiet authority made him the very symbol of what is now known as everyday exceptionalism. He was born Frank James Copper on May 7th 1901, in Helena, Montana. Both his parent came from wealthy British families and thus sent their children away to the Dunstable Grammar School in England to receive a classic education. At age 13, Cooper was injured in car accident and upon the recommendation of his doctor, took to horse backing riding as a means of physical theory. These riding skills would prove evaluable in career as westerns film actor. He later attended Iowa's Grinnell College, where he developed a passion for drawing. He later left school and returned to Montana, with hopes of starting a career as a political cartoonist.  Unable to find work in Montana, Cooper would soon relocated to Los Angeles with his parents. After a series of failed jobs he was able to find work as a film extra in 1925. He appeared in the background of several westerns before receiving screen credit in the short Lightin' Wins. After the film's release, he was offered a long-term contract with Paramount Studios.

Rising to Star

It was casting director, Nan Collins, who suggest Cooper change his first name to Gary and take on a more rugged persona. Collins was also able to secure him better roles, starting with a supporting role in 1926'sThe Winning of Barbara Worth. He then caught the eye of actress Clara Bow, who insisted he have a small par in her next film It.  The next year, with the help from Clara Bow, Cooper scored his breakthrough role as Cadet White in the 1927 wartime romance, Wings. The film became the first to receive the Best Picture Academy Award. Although his next film, The Last Outlaw, was met with the little fanfare, he did see more success with the 1927 John Waters picture Nevada, opposite Thelma Todd and William Powell. For the next couple of he years he continued to find steady work, his popularity only growing with each film appearance. By the time of his first talkie, 1929's The Virginian, Copper was already considered a major star.


Because of his private European education coupled with his rural American home, Cooper was able to play both wealth sophisticates as well as rugged adventurers, appealing to both men and women in equal measure. He kept his cowboy image by starring in films such as 1931's Fighting Caravans, and continued to demonstrate his skill as an action star, playing a French officer opposite Marlene Dietrich in Morocco. He starred opposite infamous theatre star/personality Tallulah Bankhead in the 1932 film The Devil and the Deep. At this point in his career, Cooper had developed his solemnly stoic hero persona, further perpetuating that screen image in films such as the adaptation of Ernest Hemmingway's A Farwell to Arms. In 1933, he was second lead in the early screwball-comedy prototype, Design for Living. Although the film received mixed criticism for its departure from the original play, audiences flocked to it. In 1936, Cooper collaborated with director Frank Capra for the film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. The film follows Longfellow Deeds (Cooper), a simple natured, small-town man who must navigate the treacherous world of big city greed after inheriting 20 million dollars from a distant relative. The film was a massive and Cooper was nominated for his first of five Academy Award nominations.  The film made the already massively popular Gary Cooper an even bigger star, placing him at the top of the Hollywood hierarchy. There was not a director in Hollywood who didn't want to film him and starlet who would not star opposite him. He was said to be Producer David O. Selznik's first choice to play Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind but refused it. He continued to star in a series of successful action/adventure films in through out the late 1930's, including 1938's The Adventure of Marco Polo and the 1939 William Wellmen film Beau Geste.

Continued Success

In 1940 Cooper starred in two westerns, the first being aptly named The Westerner opposite Walter Brennan and the other, West Mounted Police. The next year he starred in the biographical picture, Sergeant York. The film follows the exceptional wartime exploits of Alvin York during WWI. Its rumored York refused to offer his support unless it was Cooper who play him. The film was a hit and Cooper received his first Best Actor Academy Award. In 1941 he reteamed with Frank Capra to star in Meet John Doe opposite Barbara Stanwyck. The same year, Cooper again starred with Barbara Stanwyck in the Howard Hawks fish-out-of-water comedy Ball of Fire. In 1942 he starred as Lou Gehrig in the bio-pic Pride of the Yankees. His performance the baseball all star whose life was tragically cut short by disease is one of his most fondly remembered, with the line "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth," remaining one of the more memorable quotes in film history.

In 1943, Cooper scored another huge hit, once again starring in an Ernst Hemmingway adaption, For Whom the Bell Tolls, this time opposite Ingrid Bergman. Although a bloated wondering story, the film was huge hit at the box office, with many flocking to see it's anti-fascist wartime message. In the late forties he starred in series of profitable but forgettable films such as 1944's Casanova Brown and 1945's Saratoga Trunk. Soon, however, he grew tired of the roles offered to him by Paramount and did not renew his contract when it lapsed. His went to produce and star in his first post-studio picture, Along Came Jones, parodying his own serious western-centric image.  In 1947, he worked with famed director Cecil B. Demille in the frontier drama Unconquered. In 1949 he starred opposite Patricia O'Neil in the adaptation of the Ayn Rand fictions novel The Fountainhead. The film faced multiple production dilemmas, scandals and was ultimately unsuccessful in the papers and at the box-office.

Later Career and Declining Health

Although Cooper began the new decade with his trusted western, his first film of the, Dallas, did only moderately well at the box-office. His next film, 1951's It's a Big Country, shared the same fate. In 1952, however, Cooper would star in what has become his signature role as Marshal Will Kane in Fred Zimmermann's High Noon. His portrayal of the stoic Marshall who must face death after being abandoned by those he swore to protect is considered to be his finest performance. Cooper was awarded his second Oscar for the performance. He continued to primarily star in westerns for the rest of the decade, with some notable highlights being Vera Cruz opposite Burt Lancaster, Friendly Persuasion opposite Anthony Perkins, and Man of the West directed by Anthony Mann.

During this time, however, Coopers health was in decline. Although he was always regarded as the highly professional and always prepared, he was plagued with reoccurring illnesses and was eventual diagnosed with lung cancer. His final project was the narration of the NBC TV documentary The Real West. In the documentary, Cooper helped audiences to discern the reality of the American frontier to the mythos created by Hollywood representation.  In 1960 he was forced to go under the knife when it spread to his colon but soon it spread to his bones and was determined to be terminal. He was able to attend the 1961 Academy Awards Ceremony where he was to be award an honorary Lifetime Achievement Award. A teary-eyed Jimmy Stewart accepted the awards on his behalf and mentioned in Cooper's diminishing health in his speech.


One month after the Awards Ceremony, on May 13th, 1961, Gary Cooper passed away. It was only six days after his birthday. He was 60 when he died.

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).



Gary Cooper was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two for Best Actor for Sergeant York (as Alvin C. York) and High Noon (as Will Kane) in 1941 and 1952 respectively. He also won one Honorary Award in 1960 for his many memorable screen performances and the international recognition he, as an individual, has gained for the motion picture industry .

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1936Best ActorMr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)Longfellow DeedsNominated
1941Best ActorSergeant York (1941)Alvin C. YorkWon
1942Best ActorThe Pride of the Yankees (1942)Lou GehrigNominated
1943Best ActorFor Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)Robert JordanNominated
1952Best ActorHigh Noon (1952)Will KaneWon

Academy Awards (Honorary Oscars)

1960Honorary Awardfor his many memorable screen performances and the international recognition he, as an individual, has gained for the motion picture industry


He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. Gary Cooper's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #70 on Aug 13, 1943. In addition, Cooper was inducted into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and was immortalized on a US postal stamp in 1990, 2009.

BlogHub Articles:

Garden of Evil (1954): Starring and Richard Widmark

By 4 Star Film Fan on Jan 22, 2020 From 4 Star Films

It does feel like one of the grand old westerns we left behind in more recent years. It’s a big picture in the horizontal majesty of widescreen, Glorious Technicolor, backed by the only score Bernard Hermann would ever arrange for the West. There’s little doubt we are in for a spectacle ... Read full article

Friendly Persuasion (1956): ’s Quaker Clan

By 4 Star Film Fan on Jan 6, 2020 From 4 Star Films

The when is 1862. The where is Southern Indiana. We find ourselves in the throes of Quaker country as envisioned by novelist Jessamyn West and brought to the screen by his eminence, William Wyler. What follows is a lovely opening gambit with a goose about as anthropomorphic as they come without comp... Read full article

The Westerner (1940): Made by Walter Brenna and

By 4 Star Film Fan on Dec 20, 2019 From 4 Star Films

I do appreciate older films running their credits at the beginning, and I make a habit of perusing them for familiar names. More often than not, I’m rewarded in some small regard. However, The Westerner features a rather unusual notice:? “This story is legend founded on fact and, with th... Read full article

Flicker Alley: Clara Bow and in Children of Divorce (1927)

By KC on Dec 21, 2016 From Classic Movies

To contemplate Clara Bow and together onscreen is to fear these irresistibly watchable stars will cancel each other out. After all, what else could happen when two performers who consistently steal scenes in other films appear with each other? In the 1927 silent Children of Divorce, noth... Read full article


By Crystal Kalyana on Aug 31, 2015 From In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood

is perhaps the most versatile actor the world has known. In a career spanning thirty six years, he has appeared in an array of films which stem from the silent era to 1960, showcasing his indelible talents in every genre, where he displayed a screen persona that would inherit him the tit... Read full article

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Gary Cooper Quotes:

Wild Bill Hickok: [to young boy at the dock] Well, son...
[Clearing throat]
Wild Bill Hickok: . I can tell you what an Indian will do to you. but... you never know what a woman will do.

Howard Roark: [delivering the closing statements of his own defense] Thousands of years ago the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light, but he left them a gift they had not conceived of, and he lifted darkness off the earth. Through out the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision. The great creators, the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors, stood alone against the men of their time. Every new thought was opposed. Every new invention was denounced. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered, and they paid - but they won.

Dusty Rivers: You know, I-I kinda gotta feelin' that I could make things easier for ya if you'd let me.
April Logan: You're a grand person, Dusty, but there ain't anything anyone can do for me.
Dusty Rivers: Sure there is. Come to Texas with me. You're the loveliest and gentlest lady I've ever known.

read more quotes from Gary Cooper...

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Daring Darleen Candlewick
Sat. 13 Jun. 04:00 AM EST

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Was considered for the role of Richard Sherman in The Seven Year Itch (1955).

He was fond of dogs, at various times he owned boxers, Dobermans and Great Danes. He and his wife also raised Sealyhams.

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