His movie career spanned from silent films into the 1950s
Actor Gary Cooper was born on this day in 1901
Actor Gary Cooper was born on May 7, 1901, in Helena, Montana. Spanning from the silent film era to the early 1960s, Academy Award-winning actor Gary Cooper built much of his career by playing strong, manly, distinctly American roles. The son of English parents who had settled in Montana, he was educated in England for a time. He also studied at Grinnell College in Iowa before heading to Los Angeles to work as an illustrator. When he had a hard time finding a job, Cooper worked as a film extra and landed some small parts. 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 also earned praise as the ranch foreman in “The Virginian” (1929), one of his early films with sound. During the height of his career, Cooper portrayed a new type of hero a champion of the common man in films such as “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” (1936), “Meet John Doe” (1941), “Sergeant York” (1941), “The Pride of the Yankees” (1942), and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1943). In the postwar years, he portrayed more mature characters at odds with the world in films such as “The Fountainhead” (1949) and “High Noon” (1952). In his final films, Cooper played non-violent characters searching for redemption in films such as “Friendly Persuasion” (1956) and “Man of the West” (1958). In 1933, he married New York debutante Veronica Balfe; the couple had one daughter. The marriage was interrupted by a three-year separation that was 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”. He also received an Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements in 1961. 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. He died on May 13, 1961, in Los Angeles, California.
By Ken Warren, 2018
Look back at “High Noon” (1952) Official Trailer starring Gary Cooper & Grace Kelly
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