Gary Cooper

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Gary Cooper (May 7, 1901 - May 13, 1961) was an American film actor whose career spanned the from the 1920s up until the year of his death. 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 for the many Westerns he made.

During career, Cooper received five Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, winning twice. He also received an Honorary Award from the Academy in 1961.

Cooper was born Frank James Cooper in Helena, Montana, but lived in England with his mother and attended school there for seven years. When he was thirteen years old he was injured in an automobile accident, and had to move to his father's cattle ranch in Montana to recuperate, which is where he gained his riding skills. During this time he became friendly with 10 year old Myrna Loy, who lived near him.

In 1924 Cooper moved to Los Angeles with the intention of becoming a commercial artist, but was not very successful. After three months he became an extra in the motion picture industry. A year later he had a chance at a real part in a two reeler with Eileen Sedgewick as his leading lady. After the release of this short film he was called to Paramount Studios and offered a long-term contract, which he accepted. He changed his name to Gary in 1925, following the advice of his agent.

"Coop", as he was called by his peers, went on to appear in over 100 films. In 1952, Cooper won an Academy Award as Best Actor for his performance as Marshal Will Kane in High Noon, considered his finest role.

After high-profile love affairs with actresses Clara Bow and Lupe Velez and the American-born socialite-spy Countess Carlo Dentice di Frasso (ne Dorothy Caldwell Taylor, formerly wife of British aviator Claude Grahame-White), Cooper married Veronica Balfe, a New York socialite who worked briefly as an actress under the name Sandra Shaw. They had one child, Maria. During his marriage, which lasted until his death, Cooper had affairs with several co-stars, including Grace Kelly and Patricia Neal.

In 1961, Cooper died of lung cancer at age 60 and was interred in the Sacred Heart Cemetery, Southampton, New York.

For his contribution to the film industry, Gary Cooper has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6243 Hollywood Blvd. In 1966, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


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