Gary Cooper


Gary Cooper Famous memorial

Original Name Frank James Cooper
Helena, Lewis and Clark County, Montana, USA
Death 13 May 1961 (aged 60)
Holmby Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Southampton, Suffolk County, New York, USA
Plot Jesus & Mary Section
Memorial ID 227 View Source

Actor. His career lasted over thirty six years in which he received five Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, winning twice and also received an Honorary Oscar from the Academy for his many memorable screen performances and the international recognition he, as an individual, had gained for the motion picture industry. He was born Frank James Cooper, the youngest of two sons, in Helena, Montana, to English parents and spent part of his childhood around Helena. His father served as a Montana Supreme Court Justice and owned a ranch north of the capital. His mother never took to the rustic life of Montana and her desire for her two sons to receive a proper British education was the source of constant contention between the couple. She finally won out and was allowed to take the boys to England. However, she hustled them back home at the start of World War I. Frank learned all his riding skills and horsemanship while working on the ranch as a hand. He attended Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, studying graphics and art with intentions of pursuing a career as a commercial artist or a cartoonist. An avid outdoors man, he spend a summer working as a seasonal ranger in Yellowstone National Park. When his father resigned from the state Supreme Court and moved to Los Angeles, California, young Frank followed. Frank was sidetracked from this goal of becoming a commercial artist after landing a job as an extra in a motion picture in Hollywood. He essentially produced and directed his own screen test, then spent almost a year hauling it around Hollywood trying to get someone to take a look. It led to a part in a short film with Eileen Sedgewick which in turn led to a long-term contract with Paramount Pictures. After a name change to Gary Cooper, he appeared in over a hundred films. A few of the many: 'Wings' (1927), 'The Virginian' (1929), 'A Farewell to Arms' (1932), 'Alice in Wonderland' (1933), 'Sergeant York' (1941), 'Friendly Persuasion' (1956), 'The Hanging Tree' (1959), and his last picture, 'The Naked Edge' (1961). Nominations for Best Actor: 'Beau Geste' (1939), 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' (1943), and 'Saratoga Trunk' (1945). Oscar for Best Actor: 'Sergeant York' and 'High Noon' (1952). This movie also gained him the Golden Globe Award. His marriage to Veronica 'Rocky' Balfe, a New York socialite was an unusual union. Many entanglements came during the marriage - he was often seen in the company of other women and she in the company of other men. The marriage however endured. Cooper decided he had "to find out how to be less of a bum" and ultimately followed his wife and daughter into the Catholic Church. When told at age 59 that he had incurable cancer, a Special Oscar was presented to him. His friend, Jimmy Stewart, strode to the Academy Awards microphone to tearfully accept the Honorary Oscar for Cooper in 1961, which, in reality, was his final farewell. Gary Cooper watched at home with his wife and daughter Maria. Less than four weeks later, they were with him again when he passed away at his Holmby Hills home at age 60, 6 days after his birthday. As he lay on his deathbed, he asked a visitor to deliver a message to their mutual friend, author Ernest Hemingway. Cooper reached his hand over to the bed table and picked up a crucifix, which he put on the pillow beside his head. "Please give Papa (Hemingway) a message. It's important and you mustn't forget, because I'll not be talking to him again. Tell him … that time I wondered if I made the right decision" (regarding his conversion) — he moved the crucifix a little closer so that it touched his cheek — "tell him it was the best thing I ever did." After a Requiem Mass at the Church of The Good Shepherd, he was interred in the Grotto Section of Holy Cross Cemetery located in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City. His wife remarried after his death and relocated to her home area in Long Island, New York. She literally took Gary with her by exhumation in May 1974. He was reburied at Sacred Hearts Catholic Cemetery in Southampton, Long Island, beneath a bronze plaque and near a three-ton rose-colored boulder symbolic of the California landscape where he made so many Western movies.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 227
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gary Cooper (7 May 1901–13 May 1961), Find a Grave Memorial ID 227, citing Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Cemetery, Southampton, Suffolk County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .