Gary Cooper

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Gary Cooper
Frank James Cooper
BirthplaceHelena, Montana, U.S.
EducationDunstable Grammar School Gallatin Valley High School

Cooper, Gary,

1901–61, American film actor, b. Helena, Mont., as Frank James Cooper. His first important starring role in A Farewell to Arms (1933) was followed by such films as Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Pride of the Yankees (1942), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), and Saratoga Trunk (1944). Best known to his public as the shy, lanky man of the West, he won Academy Awards for his performances in Sergeant York (1941) and High Noon (1952), in which his portrayal of the strong, silent sheriff became emblematic of the Western hero. His later films include Vera Cruz (1954), Friendly Persuasion (1956), and They Came to Cordura (1959).


See biography by J. Meyers (1998).

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Cooper, Gary (b. Frank James Cooper)

(1901–61) actor; born in Helena, Mont. Son of English parents who had settled in Montana, after graduating from Grinnell College, Iowa, he worked as cartoonist and at various other jobs before getting into movies in 1925 as an extra in a Western. His role as the laconic cowboy in The Virginian (1929) launched him as a star. Initially better known for his offscreen romantic escapades than his acting, he settled down after his marriage to socialite Veronica Balfe (1933). Whether as a cowboy or a peace-loving, but determined character, he came to personify the archetypal American for many around the world, winning Academy Awards for his work in Sergeant York (1941) and High Noon (1952), as well as an honorary Oscar in 1960.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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