- Cooper, Gary
- (1901-1961)Born Frank James Cooper in Helena, Montana, the movie star was educated in England and was 21 when he went to Grinnell College in Iowa. In 1924, he began work as a cowboy in Tom Mix Westerns. He changed his name in 1926 and finally achieved some recognition in The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926). He starred with Clara Bow in several films and gradually made the transition to talkies with the lead role in The Virginian (1929), The Texan (1930), Morocco (1930), and others. In 1932, he starred in the lead role in the film version of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, and in 1933 he partnered with Joan Crawford in Today We Live. In 1936, his portrayal of the simple idealist in Frank Capra’s Mr. Deeds Goes to Town had enormous appeal to Great Depression audiences.By the 1940s, Cooper was the highest paid star in Hollywood, and he had big hits with Meet John Doe, Sergeant York, and Ball of Fire, all made in 1941. He won an Oscar for his part in Sergeant York, the story of the World War I pacifist turned war hero. He also had huge box office success in the film of Hemingway’s story of an American in the Spanish Civil War, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), where again quiet, unassuming idealism marked the hero’s role. Increasingly, however, Cooper’s work seemed outdated, and it appeared that his career was in terminal decline until he appeared as the main character in the Cold War allegory High Noon in 1952, and won a second Oscar. He continued to make films throughout the 1950s despite his obvious declining health. He died of cancer and was mourned by millions.See also Cinema.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.