Gary Cooper (1901 - 1961)

Gary Cooper
1901 - 1961
updated September 17, 2019
Gary Cooper was born on May 7, 1901. He married Veronica Balfe. He died on May 13, 1961 at age 60.

GARY COOPER May 7, 1901 - May 13, 1961
Gary Cooper, the strong, silent hero of the screen, died of cancer at 12:27 p.m. Saturday in the quiet of his Holmby Hills home.
The 60-year-old actor's death, awaited by his family and friends and by Cooper himself for two weeks, ended a long fight with the disease, the nature of which did not become publicly known until his confinement last month.
The tall, drawling Cooper, winner of two Academy Awards in a film career that spanned 35 years, had received messages of hope from all over the world, including a call from President Kennedy.
Cooper's wife, Veronica, their daughter, Maria, the family doctor, a priest and two male nurses were with Cooper when the end came in a bedroom of his estate at 200 Baroda Dr. Beverly Hills, California.
Fears for the actor's health arose a year ago after a prostate operation. He denied then that there was a malignancy. Five weeks later, a cancerous portion of his colon was removed, but he still wouldn't admit it.
From then on, doctors acknowledged later, it was only a matter of time.
Cooper, heavily drugged for the last 10 days to ease the intense pain, received the last rites of the Catholic Church on Friday.
A long-time friend, the Rt. Rev. Daniel Sullivan of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Beverly Hills, said he was able to talk with Cooper briefly on Thursday.
Catholic Convert
"Although he was weak, I was amazed how alert he was," Father Sullivan commented.
The priest reported that Cooper had been unconscious all day and died while sleeping peacefully under sedation.
He said the wife and daughter took the death calmly. And he disclosed that Mrs. Cooper had known since December that her husband's illness was incurable.
Cooper, reared as an Episcopalian, was converted in 1959 to Catholicism, the faith of his wife and daughter.
He had received no visitors for two weeks, and his family remained constantly at his bedside.
Gary Cooper, Hollywood's homespun hero, was another product of its big star era—the same era in which names like Clark Gable, John Wayne, Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power became household words to millions.
It was an era which Hollywood itself believes is gone forever.
Cooper brought to the screen a personality that was all his own. His taciturn drawl, shy grin and the loose-jointed way he carried his 6 ft. 3 in. frame came to typify something as American as buckwheat cakes.
Moreover, he was Hollywood's own creation. He came here almost directly from a ranch near Helena, Mont., his birthplace, rather than by way of the stage, radio or other entertainment media.
Aspired to Be Artist
The son of a state supreme court justice, Cooper originally aspired to be an artist and from 1922 to 1924 he studied art at Grinnell College in Iowa. But in Los Angeles he found he could make more money as a screen extra and stunt man.
He was introduced to many Hollywood figures by Grace Kingsley, a film society columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Cooper accompanied her on some assignments. But the film colony was unimpressed.
"He's too bashful," was the usual comment.
Cooper acquired an agent, Nan Collins, then a casting director at United Studios. It was Miss Collins who suggest he change his real name from Frank James Cooper to Gary Cooper. The new name clicked.

Gary Cooper Biography

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Gary Cooper
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Frank James Cooper
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Gary Cooper Family Tree

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Gary Cooper & Veronica (Balfe) Cooper


May 27, 1913 - Feb 16, 2000


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Amanda S. Stevenson
10.9k+ favorites
I asked his wife "Rocky" to get a "special" autograph me and he took the time to draw his picture for me, and give my an autograph on the other side from the Hotel Pierre. I have treasured it for my whole life.
Sep 08, 2017 · Reply
Amanda S. Stevenson
10.9k+ favorites
Tabbed by Goldwyn
In 1925 an independent producer, Hans Tiesler, cast Cooper opposite Eileen Sedgewick in a two-reeler. After a dozen or more such short subjects, Samuel Goldwyn finally picked Cooper for a part in "The Winning of Barbara Worth," starring Ronald Colman and Vilma Banky.
Then Paramount signed him to a long term contract, and Cooper was on his way to stardom. For 11 years he was one of Hollywood's highest paid performers.
Of 75 major pictures, his most memorable roles were as "Sergeant York," in 1941, and as the frontier marshal in "High Noon," in 1952. He won the Academy Award for each.
He was nominated also for his performances in "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936), "Pride of the Yankees" (1942) and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (1943).
Long hours in the studios brought Cooper fame and fortune and also ulcers. One year his weight fell to 146 lbs. In 1931 he quit cold and as he told it afterward, "learned to relax."
In later years, Cooper's easy-going manner became more than a characteristic. It was a way of life.
He enjoyed playing tennis and skin diving in the Pacific, not far from his home. "Old Coop," as friends have called him almost since boyhood, also liked to wear old clothes and could fall asleep anywhere.
Had One Daughter
In 1933 he married Veronica Balfe, whom he nicknamed "Rocky." She bore him one daughter, Maria, now 23.
Cooper loved to hunt and fish and was an outdoorsman throughout his life. Among his close friends were James Stewart, Fred MacMurray, Joel McCrea, Ernest Hemingway and the late Clark Gable.
His love for the outdoors went back to youthful years on his father's Montana ranch.
But Cooper was no ordinary range hand. His background essentially was of city life—plus a four year stint at Dunstabel School in England. In fact he spoke with an English accent upon his return to Helena at 13.
He learned to ride and handle cattle as a teenager. During World War I he quit school, moved to the ranch and ran a 500-head herd.
In many respects, the real life Cooper was not very different from the moviegoer's image of him. It could safely be said that Gary Cooper as himself was one of the most enduring symbols created by the motion picture.
He never seemed to want people to realize that he was a highly skilled, high-priced actor who could really act. His profession earned him at least $10 million. In 1939 he was the nation's highest paid wage earner at $482,819. He drove a Bentley, owned three homes and an art collection and headed his own production company (Baroda).
Cooper's durability was all the more remarkable in terms of the physical stresses he withstood over the years.
As a boy in Montana he broke a hip in an automobile accident. The hip healed imperfectly and contributed to the Gary Cooper walk—a vaguely bow-legged, slow-rolling gait that made him seem like a cowboy even in a business suit.
By coincidence, Cooper was the same age as "The Virginian," the novel which Owen Wister started writing in 1901. Cooper was born on May 7 that year. The book was published in 1902 and made into Cooper's first talking picture in 1929.
Cooper credited the film with establishing his career. In his words:
"That was the big one. You had to survive the transition to talking pictures. 'The Virginian' put me over the hump and made millions."
Sep 08, 2017 · Reply

Gary Cooper Obituary

This obit of Gary Cooper is maintained by Gary's followers. Contribute to her obituary and include details such as cemetery, burial, newspaper obituary and grave or marker inscription if available.

Gary Cooper died on May 13, 1961 at age 60. He was born on May 7, 1901. He married Veronica Balfe.
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1901 - 1961 World Events

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In 1901, in the year that Gary Cooper was born, Teddy Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States. TR, as he was known, had been Vice-President for 6 months when President William McKinley was assassinated. At age 42, he became the youngest President to serve although John Kennedy, at age 43, was the youngest President elected. He was a popular progressive and was elected to a second term in 1904 as a Republican, winning 56.4% of the popular vote and 336 electoral votes.

In 1916, by the time he was just 15 years old, the Battle of Verdun was fought from February through December. It was the largest and longest battle of World War I, lasting 303 days. The original estimates were 714,231 casualties - 377,231 French and 337,000 German, an average of 70,000 casualties a month. Current estimates are even larger. The Battle of the Somme was also fought from July through September of the same year. Original estimates were 485,000 British and French casualties and 630,000 German casualties.

In 1920, when he was 19 years old, speakeasies replaced saloons as the center of social activity. After the 18th Amendment was ratified and selling alcohol became illegal, saloons closed and speakeasies took their place. Speakeasies, also called a blind pig or blind tiger, were "so called because of the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police or neighbors". There were a lot of them and they were very popular. And where saloons often prohibited women, they were encouraged at speakeasies because of the added profits.

In 1943, at the age of 42 years old, Gary was alive when on September 3rd, the Armistice of Cassibile was signed in Sicily. Under the terms of the Armistice, Italy surrendered to the Allied Powers. After the Armistice was made public on September 8th, Germany attacked and occupied Italy. It took 20 months of fighting for the Allies to reach the northern borders of Italy.

In 1961, in the year of Gary Cooper's passing, on May 5th, Navy Cmdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., made the first manned Project Mercury flight, MR-3, in a spacecraft he named Freedom 7. He was the second man to go into space, the first was Yuri Gagarin - a Soviet cosmonaut.

Other Biographies

Other Gary Coopers

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c. 1919 - Unknown
c. 1903 - Unknown
c. 1924 - Unknown
Unknown - 1956
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Nov 16, 1942 - Oct 7, 2012
Jul 26, 1938 - Feb 21, 2012
Dec 4, 1941 - Jan 6, 2012
Feb 19, 1949 - Nov 24, 2011
Dec 4, 1938 - Mar 31, 2010
Oct 6, 1944 - Aug 25, 2009

Other Coopers

Dec 20, 1889 - September 1975
Dec 25, 1881 - October 1962
Jun 9, 1925 - Aug 31, 2001
Jun 10, 1903 - March 1978
Nov 1, 1925 - Sep 4, 2000
Aug 17, 1926 - Jun 10, 1992
Jan 31, 1925 - Nov 4, 2009
Jul 21, 1923 - Aug 11, 2000
Dec 12, 1924 - Dec 27, 1993
Nov 24, 1899 - Oct 16, 2006
Dec 16, 1883 - August 1973
Jan 1, 1896 - Nov 30, 1992
Jun 8, 1924 - Aug 2, 2005
Aug 10, 1923 - January 1978
Sep 26, 1918 - May 18, 1999
May 10, 1905 - Mar 28, 1988
Sep 30, 1915 - Apr 15, 1990
Apr 11, 1925 - Jun 13, 1997
Jun 4, 1924 - Jan 16, 2004
Mar 29, 1924 - Feb 28, 2005

Other Bios

Dec 28, 1898 - September 1987
Apr 13, 1914 - May 15, 1998
Oct 17, 1915 - March 1981
Aug 30, 1893 - October 1975
Apr 5, 1916 - January 1984
Nov 17, 1906 - Dec 14, 1997
Nov 26, 1916 - Oct 12, 1998
Dec 25, 1909 - March 1973
May 26, 1901 - February 1968
Dec 18, 1905 - Mar 28, 1998
Jun 26, 1905 - February 1989
Sep 7, 1908 - March 1983
Mar 2, 1913 - Nov 3, 1992
Aug 31, 1883 - August 1967
Sep 15, 1910 - Aug 3, 1991
Oct 8, 1904 - Feb 7, 1990
Jul 5, 1902 - March 1986
Oct 24, 1902 - March 1973
Apr 1, 1875 - May 1966
Nov 10, 1909 - August 1970
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