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Mini Bio (2)
Born to Alice Cooper and Charles Cooper (not in film business). Gary attended school at Dunstable school England, Helena Montana and Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa. His first stage experience was during high school and college. Afterwards, he worked as an extra for one year before getting a part in a two reeler by Hans Tissler (an independent producer). Eileen Sedgwick was his first leading lady. He then appeared in (1926) for United Artists before moving to Paramount. While there he appeared in a small part in (1927), (1927), and other films.
“Dad was a true Westerner, and I take after him”, Gary Cooper told people who wanted to know more about his life before Hollywood. Dad was Charles Henry Cooper, who left his native England at 19, became a lawyer and later a Montana State Supreme Court justice. In 1906, when Gary was 5, his dad bought the Seven-Bar-Nine, a 600-acre ranch that had originally been a land grant to the builders of the railroad through that part of Montana. In 1910, Gary’s mother, who had been ill, was advised to take a long sea voyage by her doctor. She went to England and stayed there until the United States entered World War I. Gary and his older brother Arthur stayed with their mother and went to school in England for seven years. Too young to go to war, Gary spent the war years working on his father’s ranch. “Getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning in the dead of winter to feed 450 head of cattle and shoveling manure at 40 below ain’t romantic”, said the man who would take the Western to the top of its genre in (1952). So well liked was Cooper that he aroused little envy when, in 1939, the U.S. Treasury Department said that he was the nation’s top wage earner. That year he earned $482,819. This tall, silent hero was the American ideal for many people of his generation. Ernest Hemingway who lived his novels before he wrote them, was happy to have Gary Cooper play his protagonists in , (1932) and (1943).
Trade Mark (2)
Roles in westerns
Slow, very deliberate delivery
Hobbies: Fishing, hunting, riding, swimming, and taxidermy.
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 .
Along with Mylène Demongeot. Cooper set in motion the first escalator to be installed in a cinema, at the Rex Theatre in Paris on June 7 1957.
Worked as a Yellowstone Park guide for several seasons before becoming an actor.
Father-in-law of pianist and composer Byron Janis .
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1966.
Upon seeing him, a professor in the theater department at Grinnell College recorded “shows no promise.”
Despite his wholesome screen image, he was an infamous (and privately boastful) womanizer in reality, allegedly having had affairs with numerous and sometimes very famous leading ladies throughout his career. This was in spite of the fact that he had a faithful wife, Sandra, and that many of his lovers were also married.
His Oscar-winning roles as Will Kane from (1952) and Sgt. Alvin York from (1941) were ranked #5 and #35 in the American Film Institute’s Heroes list in their 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains.
He was voted the 18th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Is mentioned in the song “La Dernière Séance” by Eddy Mitchell. He is also mentioned in the song “Putting on the Ritz.”.
He was voted the 42nd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.
He was fond of dogs. At various times he owned boxers, Dobermans and Great Danes. He and his wife also raised Sealyhams.
He liked sports and kept in shape with hiking and riding, tennis and golf, archery and skiing, trout fishing and spear fishing, swimming and scuba diving and driving fast cars. He liked boxing.
Appeared in 107 movies, 82 of which he starred in. Only 16 of those were filmed in color. And he starred in 14 silent movies.
Starred in a total of 20 westerns, three of which were silent.
His appetite was prodigious, but no matter how much he ate, he always remained thin. During his early years in Hollywood, working odd jobs and living with his parents, he said, he said with some comic exaggeration, that his “starvation diet at the time ran to no less than a dozen eggs a day, a couple of loaves of bread, a platter of bacon, and just enough pork chops between meals to keep me going until I got home for supper.” His specialty on hunting trips was gargantuan: wild duck covered with bacon strips, enhanced by four eggs and steak. He could eat a cherry pie and drink a quart of milk for lunch.
He blew the harmonica and strummed the guitar; played backgammon and bridge; grew corn and avocados on the Encino ranch he bought in the early 1930s and loved to work with his tractor in the garden.
Named the #11 Greatest Actor on The 50 Greatest Screen Legends list by the American Film Institute
He signed a six-year contract with Samuel Goldwyn Productions, to make six pictures at $150,000 per picture. At the time Paramount had legal rights to Cooper and threatened to sue. The two companies came to an understanding that Paramount would loan Cooper to Goldywn to make one picture a year from 1938-42.
In 1944 he formed his own production company, International Pictures, with Samuel Goldwyn. His partners were Leo Spitz. William Goetz (who’d recently been ousted from 20th Century-Fox) and Nunnally Johnson. They only produced nine movies, two of which starred Cooper, Casanova Brown (1944) and (1945). Then in 1946 they sold International Pictures to Universal Pictures, which changed its name to Universal-International.
He was a conservative Republican. He voted for Calvin Coolidge in 1924, and for Herbert Hoover in 1928 and 1932. He actively campaigned for Wendell Willkie in 1940, strongly believing that Franklin D. Roosevelt should serve no more than two terms of office, and endorsed Thomas E. Dewey in 1944.
By June 1955 he had made 80 films, which took in $250 million, but he only earned $6 million in salary and percentages.
By 1942 he left Samuel Goldwyn and Paramount, then formed his own production company. On October 22, 1947, he signed with Warner Brothers to make films at $295,000 per picture.
His father Charles Cooper died of pneumonia on September 18, 1946, three months after Gary completed (1946) and three days after his father’s 81st birthday.