Gary Cooper

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Frank James “Gary” Cooper (May 7, 1901 – May 13, 1961) was an American film actor.[1] He was renowned for his quiet, understated acting style and his stoic, individualistic, emotionally restrained, but at times intense screen persona, which was particularly well suited to the many Westerns he made. His career spanned from 1925 until shortly before his death, and comprised more than one hundred films.

Cooper received five Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, winning twice for Sergeant York and High Noon. He also received an Honorary Award in 1961 from the Academy.

Decades later, the American Film Institute named Cooper among the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars, ranking 11th among males from the Classical Hollywood cinema period. In 2003, his performances as Will Kane in High Noon, Lou Gehrig in The Pride of the Yankees, and Alvin York in Sergeant York made the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains list, all of them as heroes.

Contents

Childhood

Cooper was born Frank James Cooper in Helena, Montana, one of two sons of an English farmer from Bedfordshire, who later became an American lawyer and judge, Charles Henry Cooper (1865–1946), and Kent-born Alice (née Brazier) Cooper (1873–1967).[2] His mother hoped for their two sons to receive a better education than that available in Montana and arranged for the boys to attend Dunstable Grammar School in Bedfordshire, England between 1910 and 1913. Upon the outbreak of World War I, Mrs. Cooper brought her sons home and enrolled them in a Bozeman, Montana, high school.

When Cooper was 13, he injured his hip in a car accident. He returned to his parents' ranch near Helena to recuperate by horseback riding at the recommendation of his doctor. Cooper studied at Iowa's Grinnell College until the spring of 1924, but did not graduate. He had tried out, unsuccessfully, for the college's drama club.[3] He returned to Helena, managing the ranch and contributing cartoons to the local newspaper. In 1924, Cooper's father left the Montana Supreme Court bench and moved with his wife to Los Angeles. Gary, unable to make a living as an editorial cartoonist in Helena, joined them,[4] moving there that same year,[5] reasoning that he "would rather starve where it was warm, than to starve and freeze too."[6]

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