Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gary Cooper

In 1925 the beginning of Gary Cooper acting career, he found work as an "extra", usually cast as a cowboy. It is reported that he has uncredited role in the Tom Mix Western, Dick Turpin (1925). The following year, he had screen credit in, Lightnin' Wins. After the release of this short film, Cooper accepted a contract with Paramount Pictures. He changed his name to Gary in 1925, following the advice of casting director Nan Collins.

"Coop," went on to perform in over 100 films. He became a major star with his first sound picture, The Virginian(1929). Virginian a foreman working on small ranch and his best friend Steve, soon become rivals for a school teacher. Steve joins up with bad guy Trampas and the Virginian catches him cattle rustling. As foreman, he must give the order to hang his friend. Trampas gets away, but .. returns in time for a shootout .

Cooper went on to play the lead in the film, A Farewell to Arms (1932). Set in Europe during World War I, the story is about a romance between Frederick Henry (Gary Cooper), an American ambulance driver serving in the Italian Army and English Red Cross nurse Catherine Barkley (Helen Hayes). Major Rinaldi (Adolphe Menjou)wants to end their relationship and has Catherine transferred to Milan. When Frederick is wounded, he ends up in the hospital where Catherine works. They continue their affair until he returns to battle. Catherine becomes pregnant and moves to Switzerland and when her letters remain unanswered, she believes that he has abandoned her. Frederick, travels back to Switzerland in search of Catherine.

Cooper, also performed in the title role, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town(1936). Directed by frank Capra, based on the story, Opera Hat by Clarence Budington Kelland that appeared in serial form in the Saturday Evening Post.

In 1942, Cooper won his first Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as the title character in, Sergeant York. A biographical film about the life of Alvin York, the most-decorated American soldier of World War I. It was directed by Howard Hawks and was the highest-grossing film of the year.

In 1953, Cooper won his second Best Actor Academy Award for his performance as Marshal Will Kane in, High Noon . Directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. The film tells in real time the story of a town marshal forced to face a gang of killers by himself.

Some of his other box office hits: Friendly Persuasion (1956). The story of a family of Quakers in Indiana in 1862. It's not easy for them to hold to their beliefs when Southern troops pass though. Should they fight, or keep to their religious beliefs?

His final film, The Naked Edge(1961). The film Noir is about the aftermath of a theft and murder, especially the fears of Martha Radcliffe (Kerr), who, increasingly suspects her husband George Radcliffe (Cooper), whose testimony in court convicted the main suspect, of being the real culprit. Only at the end of the film we find out who the real killer is.

Among his final projects was narrating an NBC documentary, The Real West, in which he helped clear up myths about famous Western figures.


  1. I've been a fan of Gary Cooper ever since I first saw High of Hollywood's greats!

  2. Nice review of "Coop's" career, Dawn...haven't seen "The Naked Edge" and, though the score seemed a little much, don't want to miss the pairing of Cooper and Kerr.

  3. Paul, Gary Coper.. is one of the classic actors that became one of my favorites this past year. The other being Barbara Stanwyck.

    Lady Eve, I saw this movie along time ago. I have to admit, I do not remember much about it. I hope TCM plays it soon. A movie with Cooper and Kerr, how can you go wrong?


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