Gary Cooper (born Frank James Cooper; May 7, 1901 – May 13, 1961) was an American film actor known for his natural, authentic, and understated acting style and screen performances.
The company Paramount paid $150,000 for the film rights of Ernest Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls with the express intent of casting Cooper in the lead role of Robert Jordan:
an American explosives expert who fights alongside the Republican loyalists during the Spanish Civil War. The original director, Cecil B. DeMille, was replaced by Sam Wood who brought in Dudley Nichols for the screenplay. After the start of principal photography in the Sierra Nevada in late 1942, Ingrid Bergman was brought in to replace ballerina Vera Zorina as the female lead—a change supported by Cooper and Hemingway. The love scenes between Bergman and Cooper were “rapturous” and passionate.
Howard Barnes in the New York Herald Tribune wrote that both actors performed with “the true stature and authority of stars”. While the film distorted the novel’s original political themes and meaning, For Whom the Bell Tolls was a critical and commercial success and received ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Cooper’s fourth).
|Born||Frank James Cooper|
May 7, 1901
Helena, Montana, U.S.
|Died||May 13, 1961 (aged 60)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Sacred Hearts Cemetery, Southampton, New York|
|Alma mater||Grinnell College|
|Years active||1925–61||Spouse(s)||Veronica Balfe (m. 1933)|