Today In History: Gary Cooper Is Born

May 7, 2018 | Matt

May 7, 1901


Gary Cooper was born today in 1901. Cooper was an American actor, a major leading man from the silent era of film through Hollywood’s golden age. He was active in film for 36 years. He was the lead in 84 movies. Cooper is remembered as portraying the archetypal American hero.

Cooper did not actually start his career as an actor, but instead as a stunt rider and an extra. He landed multiple roles in silent Western films, which catapulted him to fame in 1929. He starred in The Virginian, his first movie with sound, and it made him a celebrity.

He went on to play roles in A Farewell to Arms, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer ,Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Meet John Doe, Sergeant York, The Pride of the Yankees and For Whom the Bell Tolls.


Later in his career, his onscreen disposition changed and his roles took on a more complex tone. The best known films of this period are The Fountainhead, High Noon, Friendly Persuasion and Man of the West.

Cooper married a woman named Veronica Balfe in 1933. They had a daughter together and were then separated for three years after Cooper had an affair with Patricia Neal.

Gary Cooper was given an Academy Award for Best Actor for High Noon, in which he played the role of Sergeant York. He was also given an Academy Honorary Award for his lifetime achievements in 1961.

He ranks eleventh on the American Film Institute’s list of 25 greatest male stars of classic Hollywood. During his life, he was one of biggest, and most consistent, box office draws in cinema.

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