Hunk of the Week - The Classics Edition: Gary Cooper

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by PKTrekGirl, Apr 8, 2009.

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Gary Cooper - Your Kind of Hero?

  1. Oh yeah! Thumbs Up!

    9 vote(s)
    64.3%
  2. Not so much...and I am willing to risk the wrath of PKtrekGirl! Thumbs Down!

    3 vote(s)
    21.4%
  3. Meh. Thumbs Sideways!

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  1. PKTrekGirl

    PKTrekGirl Arrogant Niner Thug Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2001
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Welcome to the the thread for my personal favorite actor of all time: Gary Cooper. This might get pretty long, because when it comes to this guy, I simply have no self-control whatever when it comes to eliminating photos. Plus, Coop did over 90 films in his long career, so it's tough for that reason as well.
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    Biography (from TCM Website, with edits by me):

    Throughout his long and distinguished career, Gary Cooper consistently projected a screen image of integrity and sincerity that epitomized the ideal American. Tall, handsome and soft-spoken, he injected his own likable self into whatever role assumed, always triumphing over adversity, regardless of the odds or circumstances. He never played a malicious or dishonest man; that would have just been too much against type, and 'Coop' possessed an uncanny intuitive sense about what was theatrically right. He was arguably the greatest natural actor in American cinema with audiences responding to his screen presence from the beginning, making him one of the most popular film stars ever. A favorite of directors like Henry Hathaway, Cecil B. DeMille and Frank Capra, Cooper portrayed a steady diet of heroes, as comfortable in a lounge suit as he was in buckskins. During his peak period (1935-1945), he proved, even to his detractors, that he was an actor of subtlety and depth, enjoying a remarkable love affair with the camera.

    Born Frank James Cooper to British-born parents, he spent his early years on a ranch in Montana until his mother took him and his older brother to England in 1910. After seven years, Cooper returned to the USA, attended college and eventually joined his family in Los Angeles. Arriving as an aspiring 23-year-old cartoonist, he began appearing as an extra and stunt rider in Westerns after failing to impress the newspapers with his artwork. On the advice of a casting director (later his agent), he changed his first name to "Gary" (after the Indiana city) and got his big break, a pivotal role in "The Winning of Barbara Worth" (1926), supporting Ronald Colman and Vilma Banky. The film's producer, Samuel Goldwyn, offered him a contract for $65 per week, but Cooper instead signed with Paramount for the much higher salary of $150 per week. Soon he was starring in oaters like "Arizona Bound", "Nevada" and "The Last Outlaw" (all 1927), but it was a featured part in that year's "Wings", one of the most famous silent films of all time, that really triggered an onslaught of fan mail. The studio eased him in front of a microphone for the final scenes of "The Shopworn Girl" (1928), and his voice recorded well. By the early 1930s his exceptional good looks and slow, thoughtful delivery was endearing him to film fans the world over as Paramount matched him against a bevy of beauties: Marlene Dietrich ("Morocco" 1930), Carole Lombard ("I Take This Woman" 1931), Claudette Colbert ("His Woman" 1931) and Tallulah Bankhead ("Devil and the Deep" 1932).

    Cooper struck a lasting friendship with the writer Ernest Hemingway, playing the first of his detached Hemingway heroes in "A Farewell to Arms" (1932), opposite Helen Hayes. As he embarked on his first of seven films with Hathaway ("Now and Forever" 1934), he was about to enter a period where almost all his films were exceptional. His Best Actor Oscar nomination as the multi-millionaire trying to give away his inheritance in Capra's "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936) attests to his facility for comedy, but there was always a Western around the corner like DeMille's "The Plainsman" (1937) or William Wyler's "The Westerner" (1940) for him to inhabit. Though he was a perfect fit with the cowboy iconography, Cooper also possessed a chameleon quality that enabled him to be equally adept in a remarkably varied oeuvre. Make him the hero and put him in any walk of life, and he could embody that interpretation of the American Dream. He won his first Oscar as "Sergeant York" (1941), the most decorated US serviceman of World War I, worked hard to overcome his unfamiliarity with baseball to give an excellent, Oscar-nominated performance as Lou Gehrig in "The Pride of the Yankees" (1942) and slipped readily back into the skin of a Hemingway character for another Oscar-nominated turn in the Spanish Civil War tale, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (1943). In one of his last films for Paramount, Cooper made a credible nuclear physicist caught up in espionage for Fritz Lang's "Cloak and Dagger" (1946), and though many thought him miscast as the idealistic architect of "The Fountainhead" (1949), women responded strongly to his rugged individualism, especially the sight of him bare-chested in the quarry.

    The peak of his career having passed, he found himself in the doldrums at Warner Bros., but there remained at least one last, great defining part ahead. 'Coop' took a cut in salary in exchange for a percentage of the profits on Fred Zinnemann's "High Noon" (1952), marking the beginning of big star participation in movie-making. He delivered a magnificently understated performance as the middle-aged sheriff who must fight one more battle before retirement, earning universal acclaim and the second Best Actor Academy Award of his career.

    Of his subsequent movies, Wyler's "Friendly Persuasion" (1956) probably showed him to best advantage as a Quaker drawn reluctantly into the Civil War, though Anthony Mann's "Man of the West" (1958), dismissed at the time, has more recently gained in reputation. In his last years, Cooper made minor films, dying of cancer in May 1961, shortly after receiving an honorary Oscar for his contributions to the industry.

    The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926):
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    Lilac Time (1928):
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    Beau Sabreur (1928):
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    Morocco (1930) (with Marlene Dietrich):
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    The Spoilers (1930):
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    City Streets (1931):
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    Fighting Caravans (1931):
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    A Farewell to Arms (1932) (with Helen Hayes):
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    One Sunday Afternoon (1933):
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    Today We Live (1933) (with Joan Crawford):
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    Now and Forever (1934) (with Shirley Temple):
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    Operator 13 (1934):
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    Peter Ibbetson (1935) (with Ann Harding):
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    The Wedding Night (1935) (with Ralph Bellamy and Anna Sten):
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    Lives of a Bengel Lancer (1935):
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    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) (the first Gary Cooper movie I ever saw!):
    **Nominated for Best Actor Oscar for this film
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    The Plainsman (1937) (with Jean Arthur):
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    The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938):
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    The Real Glory (1939):
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    The Westerner (1940):
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    Sergeant York (1941):
    **Won Best Actor Oscar for this film

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    Meet John Doe (1941) (with Barbara Stanwyck, Walter Brennan and others):
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    Ball of Fire (1942) (with Barbara Stanwyck) (probably my favorite of his films):
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    The Pride of the Yankees (1943):
    **Nominated for Best Actor Oscar for this film

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    For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) (with Ingrid Bergman):
    **Nominated for Best Actor Oscar for this film

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    Along Came Jones (1945) (with Loretta Young):
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    Saratoga Trunk (1946):
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    Unconquered (1948):
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    The Fountainhead (1949):
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    High Noon (1952) (with Grace Kelly):
    ** Won Best Actor Oscar for this film

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    Vera Cruz (1954) (with Burt Lancaster and others):
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    Garden of Evil (1954) (with Susan Hayward):
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    Love in the Afternoon (1957) (with Audrey Hepburn):
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    Man of the West (1958):
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    The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959):
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    Publicity Shots:

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    YouTube Links (videos done by a fellow Coop fan and friend of mine in the classic film community):

    Fan Tribute to The Westerner (probably my favorite of his Westerns):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WukXBTIdwAw&feature=related

    And yes - Coop does all of his own riding!

    What I Like About Gary Cooper:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JxPsiKBW1U&feature=channel_page

    Holding Out for a Hero:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCgHLXsxCeY&feature=channel_page
     
  2. auntiehill

    auntiehill The Blooness Premium Member

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    Location:
    auntiehill
    WOW. It doesn't get more iconic than Gary Copper, does it?

    "High Noon" and "Friendly Persuasion" are two of my all-time favorite films.

    Thumbs up. :techman:
     
  3. Michael

    Michael *:・゚✧ . ゜・ Moderator

    Joined:
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    I wouldn't dream of attracting PKTrekGirl's wrath, so I voted with my thumbs up. ;)

    No really, I think Cooper is fairly good-looking. :techman:
     
  4. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Indiana, USA
    Thumbs up, of course.
     
  5. kitkat

    kitkat Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2004
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    The South
    Thumbs up! :bolian:

    He was quite the hunk and a great actor!
     
  6. Caleuche

    Caleuche Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    Deep Blue Sea
    I have to confess to having never heard of him! Sorry!

    Judging from the photos he seems a fairly handsome and very American looking guy. So thumbs sideways as nothing really stands out to me about him (other than his eyes. He has very expressive eyes.)
     
  7. HighteeHeller

    HighteeHeller Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Location:
    Derby, England
    Ok i want to vote thumbs up, but he is making the same face in every single pic. I can't do it, he does nothing for me.

    Actually i work with a guy that looks like him..going to have to tell him that tomorrow. Mind you he is 20 something so he probably wont know who i am talking about.

    I did notice he was in The Fountainhead. Good book. They are making a movie of Atlas Shrugged..also a good book. Looking forward to that one.
     
  8. WillsBabe

    WillsBabe Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    I'm not sure I've ever seen a Coop film, but I'm sure I must. He's never really registered on my radar as a screen hunk, but I am going to vote thumbs up because I find him to be handsome in those pictures. I have to say I love some of those early publicity shots.
     
  9. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Gary Cooper? Super duper. :bolian:
     
  10. kitkat

    kitkat Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2004
    Location:
    The South
    :lol::lol:

    I almost said that myself. :bolian:
     
  11. PKTrekGirl

    PKTrekGirl Arrogant Niner Thug Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2001
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Oh wow! Are you in for a treat, if you've never seen one of his films!

    He is a breathtaking man in photos - no doubt of that. But there is something about him...a quality (or really, a mixture of qualities) that you see on-screen that makes him even more attractive. It's sort of a mixture of masculine strength, integrity, shyness, humility and cuteness (yes, you read that right!) that only adds to the overall effect. There is a reason why he was pretty much always cast as a hero: because he was so awesome at projecting that image.

    And good grief, the man could dress. :p One of the few actors I know of who looks equally sexy in a tux or suit, western wear, or military dress.

    TCM plays several of his films pretty regularly, and there is something for all tastes. If you like a serious Western, High Noon is pretty much considered to be one of the top 3 Westerns of all time (the two others are both John Wayne pictures). But if you want to see a Western that shows alot more of his range, I'd go for The Westerner - I'm not a particular Westerns groupie, and I LOVE that picture - partly because it has a healthy sense of humor (something Cooper was very good at) mixed in with the good guy vs. bad guy storyline.

    Or if you like romantic comedies, I'd go for either Ball of Fire (he plays an awkward & nerdy, yet adorable professor who gets the girl :lol: ), Meet John Doe, or Mr Deeds Goes to Town. All three are really fun movies.

    Or if you like biopics, you could give The Pride of the Yankees a try - it's the story of Lou Gehrig (and, of course, a tear jerker). Or a biopic/war movie that is really great is Sergeant York - that's another serious film with a touch of humor thrown in.

    Other tear-jerkers - Peter Ibbetson (although you would be hard pressed to find this one on TCM, it's on DVD), The Wedding Night, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

    Lots to pick from. :)

    Hope you get to try one of his films.
     
  12. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  13. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Luckily, I have no shame. :D
     
  14. WillsBabe

    WillsBabe Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    You have been so enthusiastic about him that I am going to make it my mission to do so. :)
     
  15. rac76

    rac76 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Location:
    northeast Georgia, U.S.
    When I saw the name Gary Cooper, that song started going through my head, and now I can't get it out! I haven't seen a movie with him in it, so I'm not going to judge his acting. Yet, looking at the picture stills and publicity shots, he was an attractive man. Beautiful eyes that he had.
     
  16. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2000
    Location:
    Land of beauty and terror.
    I was never much of a fan of Cooper's. Not sure why, but there it is.

    Sideways.

    Try again, PKTG. :D