1. Gary Cooper was an American film actor known for his natural, authentic, and understated acting style and screen performances.
2. He was a major movie star from the end of the silent film era through the end of the golden age of Classical Hollywood.
3. His screen persona appealed strongly to both men and women, and his range of performances included roles in most major movie genres.
4. The screen persona he sustained throughout his career represented the ideal American hero.
5. Cooper began his career as a film extra and stunt rider and soon landed acting roles.
6. After establishing himself as a Western hero in his early silent films, Cooper became a movie star in 1929 with his first sound picture, The Virginian.
7. In the early 1930s, he expanded his heroic image to include more cautious characters in adventure films and dramas such as A Farewell to Arms .
8. During the height of his career, Cooper portrayed a new type of hero—a champion of the common man—in films such as Mr. Deeds Goes to Town .
9. In the post-war years, he portrayed more mature characters at odds with the world in films such as The Fountainhead .
10. In his final films, Cooper played non-violent characters searching for redemption in films such as Friendly Persuasion .
11. Cooper had romantic relationships early in his career with several leading actresses, including Clara Bow and Lupe Vélez.
12. He married New York debutante Veronica Balfe in 1933, and the couple had one daughter.
13. Cooper received the Academy Award for Best Actor for his roles in Sergeant York and High Noon.
14. He also received an Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements in 1961.
15. He was one of the top ten film personalities for twenty-three consecutive years, and was one of the top money-making stars for eighteen years.
16. In 1920, while still attending high school, Cooper took three art courses at Montana Agricultural College. In 1922, Cooper enrolled in Grinnell College in Iowa to continue his art education.
17. Both Desire and Mr. Deeds opened in April 1936 to critical praise and were major box-office successes.