“I’ve learned to like Hollywood and everyone in it….I miss the country, and I miss a lot of fine folks. But I’ll never go back to that. There’s too much routine, and I’ve learned to live on excitement.” — Gary Cooper
Source: Edward Churchill (1931)
Cooper at two years old.
“I know that if I were not a movie star, I wouldn’t get asked out much. I don’t pretend that I’m the life of the party. I never kid myself that I got into pictures on my looks either. I was the first of an era of more or less homely guys in the movies. I’ve had lines on my face since I was twenty. Wind and sun put them there I guess. And no Adonis was ever this tall and skinny!” —Gary Cooper, who stood 6’3″
Source: Gladys Hall (1940)
“They worked hell out of me in that, but we refused any sympathy.” — Gary Cooper discussing Beau Sabreur (1928), now considered a lost film.
“I haven’t read a half a dozen books in my life.” — Gary Cooper
Photo: The Man from Wyoming (1930)
“Gary Cooper as The Texan.” Artist: Norman Rockwell. Year: 1930.
“If I were a movie magnate, I’d make exactly one rule that must never be broken. Doorkeepers, office boys and other underlings would be polite or fired. The films lose more talent than they discover because of the gruffness and negligence of doorkeepers, office boys and that ilk.” — Gary Cooper
Source: Jessie Henderson (1930)
“It was apparent that von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich had a very close professional relationship. But it was only, in my experience, professional, without any love element. I got along with von Sternberg reasonably well, as all his direction and his instructions were given to Marlene, and the rest of us were left more or less to do as well as we could. I cannot remember that he ever told me how to play a scene.” — Gary Cooper
Photo: Morocco (1930)
“I can’t say I learned a lot of technique; I’m not that kind of actor. I guess I never will be. I just try to figure what Gary Cooper would do in such a situation as the man in the picture, and then I do it.” – Gary Cooper
Photo: Eugene Robert Richee
A caricature from the Los Angeles Ambassador Hotel‘s Field & Turf Club.
“Glamour is a phony state of mind.” — Gary Cooper
“Sometimes I appear egg-shaped, sometimes pear -shaped. Often while I sit through one of my pictures I labor through the performance. Millions of times I say: ‘Gee, did I do that? And what for?'” — Gary Cooper
Source: Sidney Skolsky (1936)
“Souls was a helluva good adventure movie about the slavery days…In one scene Coop and I are drinking rum together. Both of us were quiet actors. You know, we didn’t take a lot of dialogue. Mainly, we looked at each other. Finally, he said to me, ‘You know I love you.’ The script had ‘look at him, pause, and then say “I know I love you, too.'” The director yells, ‘Print!’ After we both stopped laughing, Coop jokingly told Hathaway, ‘You can’t put that in the movie. People are going to think Cooper and Raft are a couple of fags.’ I guess he figured we were right because he cut it.” — George Raft
Source: George Raft by Lewis Yablonsky
Photo: Souls at Sea (1937). With George Raft.
Photo: Souls at Sea (1937)
“He was an actor – and what an actor. If you weren’t on your toes every minute he could cut you up.” — Robert Preston
Source: Erskine Johnson (1961)
Photo: Beau Geste (1939). With Robert Preston, Gary Cooper and Ray Milland.
“The image is magnified 70 times lifesize. The audience associate themselves with Cooper‘s plight. They become immersed in the story. And they go to see every picture Cooper is in. That’s why Cooper can make a commercial success out of a bad script – and a Broadway actor can’t.” — Michael Curtiz
Source: James Bacon (1958)
“A man can’t live anybody else’s life for him. He has got to live his own. He can keep pretty busy doing that, without trying to tell other folks how to do it. Just an ordinary man can spend about twenty-four hours a day minding his own business – if he minds it right up to the best he can do. Sometimes his business won’t look very big to him, maybe, but I would bet you quite a little that if everybody right now started minding his own business the very best he knew how, doing every single thing that was required of him as well as he could and with all he had, this world would be a mighty wonderful place. Maybe helping the other fellow out is part of his business. Often is, I guess.” – Gary Cooper
Source: Adela Rogers St. Johns (1943)
Photo: George Hurrell (1941)
Gary Cooper. 1944. Artist: John Falter. Oil on canvas. 35.5″ x 26.5.” According to Bonham’s, the painting was commissioned by Cecil B. DeMille, who directed Cooper in The Story of The Story of Dr. Wassell. While it remains entirely possible that the painting might have also been created for promotional use for the Paramount film, it ended up hanging in DeMille‘s home and was auctioned as part of his estate. Note: It has been sold twice in the last ten years: once in 2005 and a second time in 2010. Valued at over $3000.
“I looked it at like this way. To get folks to like you, as a screen player I mean, I figured you had to sort of be their ideal. I don’t mean a handsome knight riding a white horse, but a fella who answered the description of a right guy.” — Gary Cooper
A comic book from 1947.
“I loved playing with Gary Cooper. And I loved that part, a typical Navy wife living through everything with her husband. And Gary Cooper used to tremble before the shot! Really! Then he’d do it, and he’d walk away saying, ‘Amateur! Amateur!’ Then he’d come back and do it again, the way he wanted it.” — Jane Wyatt
Source: Angela Fox Dunn (1983)
Photo: Task Force (1949)
“My father wasn’t a soapbox person, but he did this [High Noon] because he felt it was right. When he said he was set to do another film with Foreman [who was blacklisted by the HUAC], he was warned he’d never work again. He said they could make their threats, but he was still standing up.” — Maria Cooper-Janis about her father.
Source: David Hinkley (2001)
“He is one of the most beloved illiterates this country has ever known.” – Carl Sandburg
“I won’t act in somethin’ unless the script is well written. There’s so much junk being turned out these days. That’s the trouble with motion pictures. You don’t find a well-developed script like ‘High Noon’ often.” — Gary Cooper
Source: Eric Lindsay (1954)
Photo: Garden of Evil (1954)
“Please make sure everyone knows how much their messages mean to me. They have added greatly to my peace of mind. I only wish some of the writers would take a more positive approach to the menace of cancer. I’ve got it, sure; but I’m not afraid to use the word. Some of them act like it’s a dirty word. That’s the wrong attitude. We should all bring it out in the open, recognize that it exists – and fight it! Cancer is everybody’s enemy. We can’t ‘think’ an enemy out of existence by ignoring it.” – Gary Cooper, in April of 1961
Photo: Sherman Weisburd shortly before Coop’s death in May of 1961.
Two Canadian children are ready to be deputized by Gary Cooper at the Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park. The photo was taken in 1962 during a special sneak preview before the museum officially opened. (LAPL 00106299).