Here you will find pictures, articles, movie ads, and many other items about one of the most talented, respected, and well loved actors of Hollywood's Golden Era.
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Happy Birthday Maria Cooper Janis! September 15, 1937
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Gary and his daughter Maria in 1953
Clip from The Texan (1930)
Biography: Gary Cooper
Frank James Cooper was born in Helena Montana on May 7, 1901. His parents Charles and Alice emigrated separately to America from Britain, met and married in Montana. Six years after giving birth to their first child Arthur, Frank came along to complete the family.
Frank grew up splitting time between Helena and the family's ranch in Sunnyside before he and his brother travelled to Dunstable, England to attend the same school as their father. They returned to Montana in 1912 and during WWI, Arthur served in the military. Charles was a state supreme court justice and spent much of his time in Helena during those years leaving Alice and Frank to work the ranch.
He attended Grinnell College in Iowa for three years with the intention of being a commercial artist. He left without graduating and briefly worked in Helena as a newspaper cartoonist. His parents had moved to Los Angeles and in 1924 he joined them.
Frank legally became Gary Cooper in 1933 after having worked under that name for the previous 8 years. He began his career in 1925 doing stunt riding for westerns. After learning how much the actors made, he decided he could do that and his first big break was as a supporting character in The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926). In 1927 he was signed to a contract by Paramount. His natural acting ability was enough to convince the executives to take him on without further auditions.
Gary worked steadily from 1925 to 1961 garnering two Best Actor Oscars on five nominations, receiving an honorary lifetime achievement award Oscar in 1961, along with many other accolades and international awards.
He was married to New York socialite Veronica (Rocky) Balfe whose uncle Cedric Gibbons was the long-time art director at MGM studios. They married in 1933 and had one daughter, Maria, born in 1937. They were separated in the early 1950s due to Gary's affair with actress Patricia Neal, but the couple reconciled in 1954 and remained together until Gary's death on May 13, 1961 from cancer.