Neal and Gary Cooper

So who you say was Gary Cooper? No that’s the wrong Cooper. That’s DB who jumped off an airplane into my home country of Skamania County Washington with a load of ransom never to be seen again.

This Cooper, cut in the cloth of John Wayne and other leading men of his time, was a Montana native whose father eventually was a Supreme Court justice.

A leading man who usually got the gal in a string of westerns, his 35-year acting career featured parts in 85 movies and Polson’s Neal Lewing will show us all about him at the North Lake County Library Tuesday.

Lewing’s program precedes the showing of the two films Wed and Thurs at 2 p.m. that Cooper claimed Oscars for his performance – High Noon and Sgt York.

Part of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library Foundation, and Montana’s Cultural trust in addition to private funds, the Montana Conversations program features Lewing bringing his favorite actor to life with verse and song.

Debuting in silent films in 1925 – Gary not Neal – then commanded this new thing they called the screen winning the lead role in The Virginian in 1929.

But his list of movie credits not only is endless but memorable to even generations of baby boomers.

Farewell to Arms, Mr Deeds Goes to Town, The Pride of the Yankees and For Whom the Bell Tolls to name a few.

Married to a debutante until his 1961 death at 60 – temporarily interrupted by a three year fling with Patricia Neal – his career achievements were honored by the Academy with their Honorary Award in 1961.

Ranked 11th on a list of the top male stars of Hollywood Cinema, for 18 years he also was tabbed as one of the top 10 screen money makers.

Named Frank James Cooper he was raised early-on on a 600-acre cattle spread near Craig on the Missouri.




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