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Gary Cooper's Acting Credentials: Awards and Highlights of His Storied Career

Image: Gary Cooper's Acting Credentials: Awards and Highlights of His Storied Career
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By    |   Monday, 16 Mar 2015 04:45 PM

Charlton Heston once described Gary Cooper as "the kind of man Americans would like to be, probably more than any actor that's ever lived." Known for starring in war movies, westerns, and even romantic comedies, there is no doubt that Gary Cooper offered widespread appeal. Here are the awards and highlights of his long career.

1926: First Featured Role

After being primarily an extra in films as a way to subsidize his illustrating job, Gary Cooper was noticed as being more than just background. He took on a few more parts with no credit only to finally start his first featured role as Abe Lee in "The Winning of Barbara Worth."

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While the film was not popular with critics, they did seem to like him and his portrayal of the ranch foreman who was helping his employer while also winning the heart of the leading lady. This was the film that launched him into future consideration.

1929: First Sound Picture

Gary Cooper would grace the silver screen in several roles, but these would all be silent films. "The Virginian" would be the first film where U.S. audiences would hear the baritone voice of Gary Cooper. This film also propelled him into Hollywood's A-List and showed directors that he could easily make the transition from silent film to sound.

1936: The Turning Point

Gary Cooper starred in the comedy "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" which granted him his first Academy Award nomination. It also demonstrated a wider acting range beyond Cooper's typecasting into westerns.

1942: Academy Award for Best Actor in "Sergeant York"

The World War I biographical film on Alvin York, the American pacifist who became a decorated soldier, was the role that would land Gary Cooper an Academy Award for Best Actor. It was the top-selling film early in World War II and Cooper also won the New York Film Critics award for this role.

1953: Academy Award for Best Actor in "High Noon"

It would take another 11 years, but Gary Cooper would secure a second Academy Award. Known as his signature role, Cooper played Marshal Will Kane, who reluctantly returns to law enforcement after a past enemy returns to town with his gang. "High Noon" won four Academy Awards, Cooper's Best Actor win being one of them.

1961: Academy Honorary Award

Accepted posthumously by his good friend Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper received an Honorary Award by the Academy for his lifetime achievements and international recognition. He received a similar honorary award from the David di Donatello Awards in Italy that year.

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Charlton Heston once described Gary Cooper as "the kind of man Americans would like to be, probably more than any actor that's ever lived." Known for starring in war movies, westerns, and even romantic comedies, Gary Cooper had widespread appeal. Here are his awards and career highlights.
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