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Gary Cooper

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Cooper as tuba player, poet, and philanthropic multimillionaire Longfellow Deeds with scheming newspaper reporter Jean Arthur in Frank Capra's MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936). The film's five Oscar nominations included one for Cooper (his first) but DEEDS lost out to THE GREAT ZIEGFELD in the Best Picture category.

"I tramped the earth with hopeless beat
Searching in vain for a glimpse of you.
Then heaven thrust you at my very feet--
A lovely angel, too lovely to woo.

My dream has been answered
But my life's just as bleak.
I'm handcuffed and speechless in your presence divine.

For my heart longs to cry out,
If it only could speak,
'I love you, my angel.  Be mine.  Be mine.'"

--Longfellow Deeds' poem to 'Mary Dawson' in MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936).

Memorable Quotations:

  • "I wonder why he left me all that money.  I don't need it." --as Longfellow Deeds in MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936).
  • "Gosh, I got a lotta friends." --as Longfellow Deeds in MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936).
  • "Even his hands are oily." --as Longfellow Deeds in MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936).
  • "When the servant comes in, Mr. Hallor, I'm going to ask him to show you to the door. Many people don't know where it is." --as Longfellow Deeds in MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936).
  • "I guess I found out that all famous people aren't big people." --as Longfellow Deeds in MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936).
  • "What puzzles me is why people get so much pleasure out of hurting each other.  Why don't they try liking each other for a chance?" --as Longfellow Deeds in MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936).
  • "Hey!  Your toothpick is on fire." --as Wild Bill Hickok in THE PLAINSMAN (1936).
  • "You're not leaving town unless dead men can walk." --as Wild Bill Hickok in THE PLAINSMAN (1936).
  • "These things are so loud I could hear them in the dark." --as Michael Brandon in BLUEBEARD'S 8TH WIFE (1938).
  • "I only have to look at your pants and I know everything." --as Michael Brandon in BLUEBEARD'S 8TH WIFE (1938).
  • "How about marrying me?" --as Michael Brandon in BLUEBEARD'S 8TH WIFE (1938).
  • "Love-making is the red tape of marriage." --as Michael Brandon in BLUEBEARD'S 8TH WIFE (1938).
  • "Don't talk yourself into a laundry complex." --as Michael Brandon in BLUEBEARD'S 8TH WIFE (1938).
  • "I feel fine.  It was a nice day yesterday.  It's a nice day today.  It'll be a nice day tomorrow.  I feel fine.  I feel fine.  I'll feel very fine." --as Michael Brandon in BLUEBEARD'S 8TH WIFE (1938).

After their success together in MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN for Jean Arthur's home studio of Columbia Pictures, Cooper's home studio, Paramount Pictures, borrowed Arthur from Columbia to co-star opposite Cooper again in director Cecil B. DeMille's western adventure tale of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane, THE PLAINSMAN (1936).  It takes a few liberties with historical accuracy but makes an enjoyable picture.  Unfortunately, THE PLAINSMAN also marks the second and last time Cooper and Arthur would co-star together.

Also following his success in MR. DEEDS, Paramount cast Cooper in yet another romantic comedy, BLUEBEARD'S EIGHTH WIFE (1938) co-starring Claudette Colbert.  Unfortunately, by this point in his career, Cooper had developed such an 'aw-shucks' all-American screen persona that he had a hard time pulling off a convincing performance as the womanizing millionaire the script required, hurting the film's overall appeal.  Nevertheless, Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder's witty dialogue in the hands of director Ernst Lubitsch makes the film worth a look.

Back to adventure tales, Cooper co-starred alongside Ray Milland and Robert Preston in William A. Wellman's adaptation of Christopher Wren's novel BEAU GESTE (1939).  Playing the title character, Michael "Beau" Geste, Cooper and his two orphaned brothers grow up to fight with the foreign legion.

In 1940, in fulfillment of a contractual obligation to producer Samuel Goldwyn, Cooper starred as the title character in William Wyler's THE WESTERNER, playing a suspected horse thief who constantly needles Judge Roy Bean (Walter Brennan, with Cooper at right).  Brennan, co-starred with Cooper in eight films and was really the star of this picture, earning an Oscar for his performance.

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Last updated: October 19, 2010.
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