Day 365 of Colourisation Project – May 7
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
Dressed up like a million-dollar trouper
Tryin’ hard to look like Gary Cooper, Super duper
—“Puttin’ on the Ritz,” Irving Berlin
Ralph Lauren, called him the “definitive” male style icon of the 1940s with “an ideal American look—unstudied yet refined, natural, and playful.”
Men’s fashion writer Bruce Boyer wrote that he had “his own debonair style that combined a perfectly tailored European wardrobe with all-American casual sportswear to produce the first, and still finest example of elegant, international, masculine style rooted in an American ideal of the everyman as hero.”
They were talking about today’s colorisation subject, Hollywood leading actor, Gary Cooper, who looked great in whatever he was wearing. A timeless fashion icon with impeccable taste, he even brought a touch of style and glamour to American westerns.
Born on this day, May 7, 1901, Cooper was a major American film actor whose career spanned thirty-six years ranging from the silent movie era to the close of Hollywood’s classical golden age and from black and white to colour.
By box office figures, Cooper was the most popular male film star of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s and was ranked eleventh by the American Film Institute (AFI) on its list of the fifty greatest male screen legends. His understated acting style saw him receive five Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, winning twice, for Sergeant York (1941) and High Noon (1952). He also received an Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements in 1961.
Cooper appeared in over 100 movies, (20 of them being westerns) including classics such as A Farewell to Arms (1932), Sergeant York (1941), The Pride of the Yankees (1943), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1944), The Fountainhead (1949), Love in the Afternoon (1957) and The Hanging Tree (1959).
Towards the end of his life Cooper was plagued with illness including prostate cancer. Within months the cancer had spread. This was announced to the world by his good friend, James Stewart at the Academy Awards when he accepted Cooper’s Academy Honorary Award on his behalf, as he was too sick to attend. As Cooper lay dying of cancer, Pope John XXIII and Queen Elizabeth II sent get-well messages while President John F. Kennedy called him directly.
Gary Cooper eventually succumbed to lung cancer on May 13, 1961, six days after his 60th birthday. For fans still reeling from the death of Clark Gable six months earlier, it seemed that the curtain had come down on Hollywood’s Golden Era.
Cooper has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6243 Hollywood Boulevard for his contribution to the film industry.