13 November 2011

Gary Cooper As Gary Cooper

Cover photo by Bert Stern

Excerpts from, 'The American Hero Grows Older' by Thomas B Morgan, Esquire, May 1961.

"Seemingly ageless, Cooper has continued through the postwar boom that started in '29... Television may close movie theatres. Disc jockeys and crooners may replace Hollywood stars as teen-age heroes. Private eyes may vie with cowboys for popular attention. Yet Cooper persists."

""I feel real good," Cooper said. "Keep my weight to 190 by backing away from the groceries every now and then.""

"He had the laconic air of a man who never stands when he can sit and never sits when he can get flat. "Here I am, all the time talking about how hard actors work," he said, "and here you find me lying on my ass.""

""They may call that stuff on TV Westerns," he said, "but they're really Easterns. They're gangster stories with big hats and they're all crap. And the hats they wear! There's only one real cowboy hat and it's not the one those kids wear on television.""

"He went to the room in which he had left his city clothes, peeled to the waist and washed off his make-up. He wore a St. Christopher's medal on a chain around his neck. (He had converted to Catholicism in 1959.) ...he dressed himself in alligator shoes, grey flannel trousers, blue shirt, dark tie, yellow sweater, tweed sports coat with sky-blue hanky flaring from the chest pocket, and a Tyrolean hat."

""Every Fall, I meet Hemingway out in Sun Valley. We both have places there. Well, Papa and I go hunting. You know, it does you good to get out and get your butt wet every once in a while.""

"The face was seamed and worn in the Western way, but it wasn't stern the way some Western faces are. The sophisticated, sunny life of southern California was there, rather than the country life up where the winters last so long. "

"...a young man with two comrades looked up, recognized Cooper, and said nastily, "Look chaps, a movie star!" Cooper had already gone a step beyond the table. He stopped, turned, and towered over the three young men. A muscle twitched in his jaw and his lips became a hard, thin line.

And with a voice as gentle as ever, the voice that sounded almost like a caress, but drawling a very little more than usual, so that there was almost a space between each word, he issued his orders to the trio: "Stand up when you say that!" he said.

For a moment, the young men were motionless. Then one smiled -- faintly. Gary Cooper turned away, walking out of the restaurant to the Duke of Gloucester's Rolls-Royce, at fifty nine going on sixty, still playing Gary Cooper."


Main Line Sportsman said...

Oh to have gone bird hunting in Ketchum, Idaho with Hemingway and Cooper....

Anonymous said...

Bert Stern. Of course. Please consider doing a post about your take on Stern's iconic upside down pyramid-in-a-martini photo.


Bebe said...

I laughed at the equation of St. Christopher's medals with Roman Catholicism. The only persons I knew who wore them were beach lifeguards- something about carrying some kid across a river plus they could be had in cool enamel colors.