This is the definitive biography of an icon, the laconic star who came to symbolize American ideals of self-reliance, independence, and integrity, in such films as High Noon - but whose turbulent private life was often at odds with his squeaky clean screen persona. Jeffrey Meyers creates a superb portrait based on the full cooperation of the actor ...
This is the definitive biography of an icon, the laconic star who came to symbolize American ideals of self-reliance, independence, and integrity, in such films as High Noon - but whose turbulent private life was often at odds with his squeaky clean screen persona. Jeffrey Meyers creates a superb portrait based on the full cooperation of the actor's daughter as well as colleagues and close friends with whom Meyers conducted extensive interviews. He examines every aspect of Cooper's life, beginning with his youth in England and Montana before making the leap to Hollywood to create some of the quintessential western characters in movie history. Though in private he was a quiet loner, the off-screen Cooper was anything but simple. He was a sophisticated, glamorous man of the world, with appetites and convictions to match his charisma. As this meticulously researched book tracks his film career in fascinating detail, it also chronicles his tempestuous relationships with Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly and Patricia Neal (to name but a few); explores his long friendship with Ernest Hemingway; and takes a clear-eyed look at his controversial involvement with the House Un-American Activities Committee and the Hollywood blacklist. Gary Cooper is a fully rounded portrait of a great star, whose contradictions only enhance the artistry with which he created some of the most unforgettable and enduring characters of Hollywood's Golden Age.
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Publishers Weekly, 1998-05-26 On screen, Cooper (1901-1961) was the tall, lean American?cowboy, soldier, baseball player?who embodied the ideals of duty, honor and integrity in a beguiling natural acting style. Off screen, he was the tall, lean American whose hedonism conflicted with the types of heroic roles that made him famous, most notably Longfellow Deeds in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and Marshall Will Kane in High Noon (1952), for which he won his second Oscar (the first came in 1942 for Sgt. York). In this diligent biography, Meyers (Bogart: A Life in Hollywood) relies heavily on abridging Cooper's films and drawing analogies to his life. (He finds that Love in the Afternoon  "reflected Cooper's relations with his mistresses," for example.) Cooper turned his personal charm, "ravishing androgyny" and riding skills into a film career that spanned more than 30 years, from 1925 to his death. The democratic hero of the movies had a British education; voted Republican; was a "friendly" witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee (though he never named names); and loved the trappings of wealth. But until mid-career, Meyer notes, Cooper was more famous for his tempestuous affairs with stars like Lupe Velez, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly and Patricia Neal for than his acting ability. While Meyers ably assembles these aspects of Cooper's character, his account of the Montana-born icon never quite gets up to a full gallop. 16 pages of b&w photo insert not seen by PW. Reader's Digest book condensation. (June)
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