Cooper was heroic, of course, in his own mind as much as in his scripts. He was manly, tall, ruggedly handsome. He was a man for a fight. On screen Gary Cooper was the ultimate all-American hero: lean, laconic, and masculine, a lone sheriff battling his enemies in High Noon, or a tough individualist in The Fountainhead. Off-screen he bedded a host of leading ladies and carefully honed his image, making hundreds of movies and winning two Oscars in the process. The acclaimed film writer David Thomson explores the career and the contradictions of Coop, the star who lived the dream in the golden age of Hollywood.
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