Cooper was born in Montana, the child of English immigrants. As a young man, he managed his parents' ranch and drew editorial cartoons for a Helena newspaper before moving to Los Angeles in 1924, following his parents. Shortly thereafter, Cooper started getting work as an extra, and in the late silent era started getting featured roles, including a small part in the first film ever to win Best Picture, Wings. His first sound film, The Virginian, made him a star. Cooper typically portrayed taciturn, slow-talking, square-jawed heroes from Middle America. He played a lot of cowboys and sheriffs in westerns. Offscreen, he was also well known as The Casanova, having affairs with many of his female co-stars.
Cooper had a relatively narrow range, almost always playing romantic leads or action leads, but was praised for his understated acting style and screen performances, which made him appear natural and authentic on screen. He was nominated for five Oscars, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for Sergeant York and High Noon. He made over 100 films, working until shortly before his death from cancer in 1961.
Gary Cooper films with pages on this wiki include:
- The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926)
- Wings (1927)
- Morocco (1930)
- A Farewell to Arms (1932)
- Alice in Wonderland (1933)
- Design for Living (1933)
- The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)
- Desire (1936)
- Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
- Beau Geste (1939)
- Ball of Fire (1941)
- Meet John Doe (1941)
- Sergeant York (1941)
- The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
- For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
- Saratoga Trunk (1945)
- The Fountainhead (1949)
- High Noon (1952)
- Vera Cruz (1954)
- The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955)
- Friendly Persuasion (1956)
- Love in the Afternoon (1957)
Tropes associated with his works:
- The Big Guy: Was one of the tallest actors of his time at roughly 6'3''. Clark Gable was said to have joked that Hollywood didn't think that there would be anyone taller than him, and then they remembered that Cooper was already there.
- Pretty Boy: In his early works.
- Rated M for Manly: Along with John Wayne, one of the stars who epitomized masculinity with a dominating serenity during the 50s. In real life, he was scrutinized during the '30s and '40s for not being masculine enough, and as a child, when he came back to Montana from England dressed like a gentleman, he was openly mocked for it.
- The Stoic: His characters convey resolve and power through a sturdy, deliberate silence.