Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Cooper, Gary
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


Frank James Cooper


US film actor

Born in Helena, Montana, he was originally a cartoonist. He moved to Los Angeles and began working as an extra and stunt rider in Western films. A bit part in The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926) brought him a contract with Paramount and several years of minor roles before his work as the laconic cowboy in The Virginian (1929) made him a star. He then starred as the archetypal hero of many Westerns, and also made light comedy and high adventure. His many film credits include A Farewell to Arms (1932), The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) and Friendly Persuasion (1956). He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in Mr Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and won Best Actor Academy Awards for performances as the World War I Quaker hero Sergeant York (1941) and as the sheriff who stood alone in High Noon (1952). He also received a Special Academy Award in 1960.

  • Swindell, Larry The Last Hero (1980).
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

Related Articles

Full text Article Cooper, Gary Frank James (1901-61)
Chambers Film Factfinder

American, born in Helena, Montana. He was a political cartoonist, and began his film career as an extra and stunt rider in silent westerns. His...

Full text Article Cooper, Gary Frank James C.; (1901 - 1961)
The Macmillan Encyclopedia

He is best known for his portrayals of tough but sensitive heroes in Hollywood westerns. These include The Virginian ...

See more from Credo