“Nan Collins, my manager, came from Gary, Indiana and suggested I adopt that name. She felt it was more exciting than Frank. I figured I’d give it a try. Good thing she didn’t come from Poughkeepsie.” ~ Gary Cooper
Frank James “Gary” Cooper was born May 7, 1901. His career spanned from 1925 until shortly before his death in 1961, and comprised of more than one hundred films. Cooper received five Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, winning twice for “Sergeant York” (1942) and “High Noon” (1953). He also received an Honorary Award in 1961 from the Academy. Gary Cooper died May 13, 1961 of prostate cancer that had spread to his colon, lungs, and bones. He was originally interred in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Culver City, California. In May 1974 his body was removed from the Grotto Section of Holy Cross Cemetery, when his widow Veronica remarried and moved to New York, and she had Cooper’s body relocated to Sacred Heart Cemetery, in Southampton, New York, on Long Island. Veronica “Rocky” Cooper-Converse died in 2000 and was buried near Cooper at Sacred Heart Cemetery.
“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 (April 1961)
“Having to work hard never had any real appeal for me, and that may have some connection with me being in the movies.” ~ Gary Cooper
“This is a terrible place to spend your life in. Nobody in Hollywood is normal. Absolutely nobody. And they have such a vicious attitude toward one another. They say much worse things about each other than outsiders say about them, and nobody has any real friends.” ~ Gary Cooper
“People ask me how come you’ve been around so long. Well, it’s through playing the part of Mr Average Joe American.” ~ Gary Cooper
The American Film Institute named Cooper among the AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Stars, ranking 11th among males from the Classical Hollywood cinema period. In 2003, his performances as Will Kane in “High Noon”, Lou Gehrig in “The Pride of the Yankees”, and Alvin York in “Sergeant York” made the AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Heroes and Villains list, all of them as heroes.