Throughout the 1930s, Gary Cooper (born Frank James Cooper) had a total of 40 movies released and gave a number of strong performances that earned favourable praises from critics in such films as A Farewell to Arms (1932), The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935), Desire (1936), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and The Real Glory (1939). In May 1931, Cooper left Hollywood after suffering from poor health and depression, a result of the constant demands and pressures of making ten films in two years; he would later return to Hollywood in April 1932, with his health restored to good condition. Cooper received his first Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Frank Capra’s screwball comedy Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. From late 1936, he made films with both Paramount and Goldwyn, and by 1939 the United States Treasury reported that Cooper was the highest wage earner of the country at the time.
The early 1940s were the prime years of Cooper’s acting career. In a relatively short period of time, he appeared in five successful and highly praised films that brought out some of his greatest performances: Meet John Doe (1941), Sergeant York (1941), Ball of Fire (1941), The Pride of the Yankees (1942), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943). His performance in the biographic film Sergeant York earned Cooper his first Academy Award for Best Actor and the Distinguished Citizenship Medal from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Here are 26 photographs of the actor from the 1930s to the 1940s:
Gary Cooper lounging in a leather armchair, 1931. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee.
Gary Cooper watching a polo match, 1933. Photo by Bettmann.
Gary Cooper indulges in his hobby of sketching with his bride, the former Sandra Shaw, on the porch of their ranch home in the San Fernando Valley, California, 1934. Photo by Bettmann.
Gary Cooper in white oufit, sitting against wooden building, 1934. Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene.