ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Man They Called Coop

Updated on September 20, 2014

Is Gary Cooper one of the greatest actors of all time? I think not. I say that because to me Coop is like John Wayne. He is just being himself and he does it so well that he comes over as a great actor! Is he one of my favorite actors of all time? Yes, most definitely, probably in the top five along with Joel McCrea, Montgomery Clift, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.

What is it about this man that resonates with both male and female audiences? He is tall (6'3"). He is muscular. He is handsome. He is sincere. He is passionate. He makes you feel his smiles. He is genuine. He is funny. He is sexy. Have I left anything out?

That is why movie goers have always loved and admired this man. His films personify goodness and The Every Man and wholesomeness and the American way. He is like my brother, my best friend, my father and the guy I would like to be when I grow up. I really admire this film star of great magnitude.

But, then we come to the real Gary Cooper who was married for twenty-nine years to the same woman, yet had numerous affairs with mostly beautiful film stars. He had great parties at his home with all the stars of the time sitting around his pool and Coop right in the center of everything. He would stay with his wife, Sandra Shaw until his death at age sixty.

Gary Cooper was born in Helena, Montana on May 7, 1901. He was born to play a cowboy because that is what he was. He worked his father's ranch in Montana before deciding that was not the life for him.

He started as an extra in B westerns and slowly began to receive small parts in better films. Although he is remembered as this great western star, Cooper only made 20 westerns out of his 107 film roles. The Westerner would be another of the great cowboy roles he would play.

Most of us still think of Coop as Sheriff Will Kane in High Noon in 1952 for which he would earn his second Oscar for Best Actor.

For me, however, I remember him best for his roles in which he would portray real life characters.

My personal favorite of Gary Cooper's roles was as the true life hero of World War I, Alvin York in 1941's Sergeant York in which Coop would earn his first Oscar for Best Actor. Co-starring in the film as his wife was one of my favorite female actresses, Joan Leslie.

Cooper's slow, very deliberate delivery was so perfect for this role as a Tennessee mountain man that was a dead aim with a rifle and went off to war and almost single handed captured over 500 Germans. His portrayal is right up there near the top of my all-time list of Oscar nominated roles.

He was also a terrific leading man either in light comedy as shown here with Barbara Stanwyck, or, in strong dramatic roles as with Patricia Neal in Fountainhead. He and Neal would have a lengthy relationship and his wife would leave him for over three years only to let him come back.

Gary Cooper turned down Gone With the Wind and said that it would be one of the biggest flops in history! I can not imagine anybody but Gable as Rhett Butler.

He was very good friends for twenty years with Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway shot himself a month after Cooper died.

When Cooper's best friend, James Stewart told the world that Gary Cooper was dying of cancer, messages poured in from dignitaries all over the world including Pope John XXIII, Pablo Picasso, former president Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Queen Elizabeth II as well as the greats of the entertainment world Audrey Hepburn, Bob Hope, John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Jack Benny.

President Kennedy called the next day and had a lengthy conversation with Coop.

Gary Cooper would pass away on May 13, 1961 after a long battle with prostrate cancer. He is buried in Southampton, Long Island, a place that he loved.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)