In 1974, Cooper's body was removed from Holy Cross Cemetary and reburied under a three ton boulder at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Southampton, Long Island. His wife explained, " Gary loved Southapton. This is what he would want.".
In May 1931, after finishing I Take This Woman (1931), the combination of exhaustion, physical illness, and the conflict between his possessive mother and jealous mistress led to a nervous breakdown. He had been working fourteen to sixteen hours a day, sometimes twenty-three, making one film by day and another by night. He suffered from anemia and jaundice, and his weight dropped thirty pounds to a dangerously low 148 lbs.
In May 1974 his body was removed from Holy Cross Cemetery in Los Angeles and reburied, under a three-ton boulder from a Montauk quarry, in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Southampton, New York near his family on the East Coast.
In November 1955 Cooper was announced to star under the direction of Gerd Oswald in The Proud Ones (1956). Eventually the film was directed by Robert D. Webb with Robert Ryan in the leading role.
In the early 1930s, his doctor told him he had been working too hard. Cooper went to Europe and stayed a lot longer than planned. When he returned, he was told there was now a "new" Gary Cooper - an unknown actor needed a better name for films, so the studio had reversed Gary Cooper's initials and created a name that sounded similar - Cary Grant.
In the late 1950s, his voracious eating habits finally caught up with him. After decades of incomparable thinness, Cooper put on 15 lbs, pushing his weight up to 190 lbs, which on his 6'3" frame was still slender.
In the spring of 1960 he had two operations, one for prostate cancer and then after that a part of his colon removed which was cancerous also. The doctors were sure that they had gotten all of it. His body strengthened and he made the movie The Naked Edge (1961) in England, but while he was making this film he had a lot of pain in his neck and shoulders. When he returned home from England he went back to the doctor and it was then that he had to be told the cancer had metastasized to his lungs and bones. As he did in The Pride of the Yankees (1942) he took it in his stride and said, "If it is God's will, that's all right too." He opted not to take very much treatment.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1966.
Is mentioned in the song "La Dernière Séance" by Eddy Mitchell.
It was testament to Cooper's durability that Charlton Heston, already a major star following The Ten Commandments (1956), was prepared to play a supporting role in The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959). Heston was impressed that the veteran actor, fifty-eight years old and in declining health, was still able to perform his own stunts, including being submerged underwater for long periods of time. In his book "The Actor's Life", Heston recalled he sensed early on it would be Cooper's picture but he didn't mind, because of all Cooper himself had meant to Heston, even as a child.
Lived with Anderson Lawler, a contract player at Paramount, in 1929.
Met Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev at a luncheon organized by Charles Feldman at Twentieth Century Fox on 19 September 1959. Kruschev personally invited Cooper and his wife and daughter on a six-day, United States Information Agency-sponsored trip to Moscow and Leningrad. After Cooper entertained some Soviet dignitaries at his house in Hollywood, Hedda Hopper publicly denounced him as "soft on Commies".
Named the #11 Greatest Actor on The 50 Greatest Screen Legends list by the American Film Institute
Often cited James Stewart as his closest friend.
Often played the love interest of a significantly younger woman. A notable example is High Noon (1952) in which he and Grace Kelly played newlyweds. He was 51 and she was 22.
On 16 April 1958 he entered the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital for a full face-lift and other cosmetic surgery by Dr John Converse, one of the leading plastic surgeons in America. Newspaper articles commenting on the effects of the operation said his face now looked quite different and the procedure had not been successful.
On 23 October 1947, he appeared before the House Unamerican Activities Committee in Washington, not under subpoena but responding to an invitation to give testimony on the alleged infiltration of Hollywood by communists. Other friendly witnesses appearing on the same day as Cooper were Robert Taylor, Robert Montgomery, George Murphy, Ronald Reagan and the aging Adolphe Menjou. Montgomery had long been active in Republican politics as a committeeman and later would serve as White House adviser during the Eisenhower administration. Murphy would serve as a Republican senator from California, with a reactionary voting record. Reagan would become Governor of California and the national champion of extreme conservatism. Taylor, Menjou and Cooper would all retreat gradually from the political fracas, but only Cooper would make a show of repudiating what he had done. Although he never recanted his testimony, or said he regretted having been a friendly witness, he became conciliatory during the subsequent period of the blacklist. As an independent producer, he hired blacklisted actors and technicians. He did say he had never wanted to see anyone lose the right to work, regardless of what he had done. After the
On 8 January 1961 he was given a testimonial dinner in Hollywood at the Friar's Club. It was a coincidental thing, his terminal cancer was not suspected. The aged Carl Sandburg was there, calling Cooper "a tradition while he's living, something of a clean sport, the lack of a phony." Audrey Hepburn read a poem called "What is a Gary Cooper?". Cooper didn't look well that night, but most observers thought he looked marvelous anyway.
Pictured on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series, issued 10 September 2009.
Pictured on one of four 25¢ US commemorative postage stamps issued 23 March 1990 honoring classic films released in 1939. The stamp featured Cooper as the title character of Beau Geste (1939). The other films honored were Stagecoach (1939), The Wizard of Oz (1939), and Gone with the Wind (1939).