Gary Cooper — Answers Twenty Frank Questions (1933) 🇺🇸

Gary Cooper |

January 25, 2022

Movie Classic, through James Fidler, asks the Big Silent Man from Montana twenty “impertinent” (but important) questions, and he fires back twenty “pertinent” answers — about everything from his “romances” to his health. It’s a cross-examination that brings you up-to-date about him!

by James Fidler and Gary Cooper

Last month Movie Classic asked: “Has Gary Cooper Changed?” — and gave you his answer. But big as that question was, there were twenty more that needed asking (and answering) — and here they are. It’s the sixth interview in Movie Classic’s cross-examination series, in which you form your own opinion of a star, without any help from the interviewer. All he does is to ask frank questions, which should bring frank, newsy answers. And Gary comes through with them! — Editor.

“Montana” Gary Cooper, who still retains his Western shyness despite many years before the camera, was actually apprehensive when James Fidler arrived to fire twenty “impertinent” questions at him.

“Go easy on me, will you?” Gary begged. “I’ve read some of your Questions-and-Answers articles” and they are relentlessly frank.”

“If I ask any question that you don’t like,” Fidler answered, “you may pop me with a coffee cup or, since they’re now the style, a beer mug. But answer the question before you pop — I must have ‘pertinent’ answers.”

With that warning, Jimmie plied Gary with a set of questions that were designed to bring you closer to Gary than you have ever been before. Read Fidler’s questions (in light italics) and Cooper’s answers (in heavy Roman type) and meet Gary all over again:

1. Do you ever think of Lupe Vélez?

Gary Cooper: “Yes — often. The many months Lupe and I spent together remain a happy memory. I rarely see her; I did not even see her on the stage when I was in New York. I have no particular desire to renew our — shall I call it friendship? — but I am glad I did not miss the happiness while it lasted.”

2. Will you ever marry? When?

Gary Cooper: “I hope I shall. Many people regard me as a perennial bachelor, but I do not share their opinion. Other than my born taste for travel, I think I am a rather conservative home-person. I plan to marry when I find the right girl. That may be next week or ten years from to-day.”

3. Have your parents disapproved of your past romances?

Gary Cooper: “I think most parents disapprove of their children’s first loves. Mothers, in particular, have exaggerated ideas of their offsprings’ worth, and to mothers in general there do not exist other human beings good enough for their own children.”

4. Are you currently and seriously interested in Wera Engels or Lilian Harvey, or both?

Gary Cooper: “The two ladies are simply charming friends. My acquaintance with them has been enlarged by gossip. For instance, I learned from a newspaper story that I sent Miss Harvey a huge box of orchids. The information was news, all right — news even to me.”

5. Have you spent a great deal of money entertaining of late?

Gary Cooper: “I have played host at a number of parties, but none was elaborate or expensive. In the past I have been a guest in the homes of a great number of friends, and I have recently attempted to prove my gratefulness by returning their compliments.”

6. Why have you not been starred?

Gary Cooper: “I do not want to be a star. I have observed that studios customarily load stars with mediocre stories and expect the public to continue liking those stars. I prefer to remain a featured player or leading man in good pictures. Few producing organizations are careful to select good stories for individual stars constantly.”

7. Were you self-conscious when you appeared opposite that superb actress, Helen Hayes?

Gary Cooper: “I expected to be before I began work, because I realize that I am not an actor and I believed I would suffer by comparison with Miss Hayes. However, she is such a delightful person and fine actress that I lost all self-consciousness after the first few hours.”

8. Why have you lately affected English clothes and derbies?

Gary Cooper: “I have done no such thing. The studio made photographs of me in some suits I bought abroad, and the appearance of these pictures caused the report that I spurn American tailors. On the contrary, most of my clothes are made in Hollywood. As a matter of fact, I habitually wear slack trousers and a ranch (cowboy) jacket.”

9. Will you return to live on a ranch after your picture career is ended?

Gary Cooper: “Not on my Montana ranch. I would like to have a ranch more convenient to big cities; at least within an hour’s driving distance.”

10. Is your health bad?

Gary Cooper: “I have long been troubled with nervous disorders and jaundice, and I constantly guard against both. Making motion pictures is particularly nerve-racking, and if I do not leave Hollywood periodically, I am reduced to jitters.”

11. Is the report true that, when you were abroad, you were nursed from near-death by the Countess Frasso?

Gary Cooper: “Not entirely. I was a sick man when I landed in Rome, Italy. The Count and Countess Frasso are friends of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, who had given me letters of introduction. I spent considerable time in Rome and with my titled friends there. They kindly recommended the finest doctors, who were able to do much for me.”

12. What about the report of a romance between you and the Countess?

Gary Cooper: “Absurd! The lady has a husband, with whom I am intimate.”

13. Why were you out of town when the Countess Frasso recently returned from Europe?

Gary Cooper: “There was no reason for me to be in town. However, I probably should have been present to meet her at the train, had I known the exact time of her arrival.”

14. Will you return to Africa again to hunt wild game?

Gary Cooper: “Undoubtedly; I may be on my way before this article appears in print. I like the thrill of hunting, but I like even better going to a place where people never heard of Hollywood. I need vacations, and simply going from Hollywood to another city does not fulfill my want, because people in all cities act and live almost identically. Life in the African jungles is a complete relief from city habits, believe me!”

15. Were you ever in actual danger while hunting lions?

Gary Cooper: “I do not think so. The ferocity of lions is greatly exaggerated by their appearance. Armed with high-powered rifles, a hunter is reasonably safe. There is always an element of danger to lion-hunting, of course, but I have never faced a real crisis.”

16. Why did you re-paint your blazingly-tinted automobile to a more subdued color?

Gary Cooper: “Because that car was like an advertisement; everywhere I went, people knew because my motor was parked. There are times, you know, when a man wants to be obscure, even to his friends.”

17. Why have you not bought a house in Hollywood?

Gary Cooper: “I am too restless to remain long in one house. I have not yet made up my mind where I want to live. Why buy houses to live in when I should soon feel like moving out of them?”

18. Do you prefer sophisticated women or ingénues?

Gary Cooper: “I have no general preference. Perhaps I like diversion. If I have devoted myself almost entirely for a while to one type, I usually look for the other for the sake of variation.”

19. Are you worried about your future?

Gary Cooper: “No. I was born and bred on a ranch — in the open spaces. Men of the West are usually taciturn. We have the innate belief that we can always manage to get along, come what may. If I lost my savings and my career were to end tomorrow, I would not worry about the future.”

20. Would you marry a motion picture actress?

Gary Cooper: “I shall marry a woman, not a career. I do not mean that I would not marry an actress, but if I should, I hope she will not be more devoted to motion pictures than to marriage. I would like to find a girl — actress or non-professional — adaptable to any setting; a girl as much at home at a ranch table, as at a table in the finest hotels; a girl as happy astride a horse on the plains, as she would be at a Mayfair Ball.”

“Find me that girl, Fidler, and you, yourself, may answer question number two.”

Did You Know That

  • Gary Cooper is scheduled to make “One Sunday Afternoon,” a wistful comedy about a sentimentalist who can’t forget his first love? It’s something new for Gary.
  • Doris Kenyon, widow of Milton Sills, is to be the June bride of Arthur Hopkins, wealthy Syracuse (N. Y.) business man, who almost became her fiancé once before — several years ago?
  • Paul Robeson, the famous Negro singer, is playing the title role in the screen version of Eugene O’Neill’s “The Emperor Jones”?

Source: Movie Classic Magazine, June 1933

Source: Stars and Films of 1937