Gary Cooper (1901 - 1961) is the first Real Life Hunk I have featured who belongs to the past.He was born on May 7, 1901 and passed on May 13, 1961. He was ranked at #11 all-time by the American Film Institute's Greatest American Screen Legends list. He grew up in Helena, Montana and came naturally to riding a horse and playing a cowboy because he was one. He was known for understated masculinity and being able to carry a scene with as few words as possible - and for being one of the few leading men who moved from silent films to talkies without any problem. He is considered to be one of the most handsome men ever to be on screen. Gary Cooper was to win two Academy Awards (Oscars) for best actor- for the 1941 movie Sergeant York, and for the 1952 classic Western High Noon. He was nominated for Best Actor in three other films.
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One of Gary Cooper's most memorable roles was playing the great baseball player Lou Gehrig in the famous 1942 movie Pride of the Yankees. Lou Gehrig was stricken by ALS and retired from baseball in 1939 to a packed and saddened crowd in Yankee Stadium - he was to die from the disease in 1941. Listen to Gary Cooper's speech below - playing Lou Gehrig in New York's Yankee Stadium-- and understand why Gary Cooper is a screen legend, and why this is one of the most remembered scenes in American Cinema.
Turner Classic Movies did a good overview of Gary Cooper's film career.
Ernest Hemingway himself asked that Gary Cooper play the part of Robert Jordan in the famous 1943 movie For Whom the Bell Tolls based on his novel of the same name. For Whom the Bell Tolls is one of the greatest works of literature in the 20th century and is about the Spanish Civil War.