Picture-Play Magazine (Mar-Aug 1927)

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43 God Gave Him Ten Cents But as the loaf of bread he wanted cost fifteen. Gary Cooper walked on, hungry. And now, a year later, he finds himself a Paramount star. But read his story and you will understand why his lucky "break" is the talk of Hollywood. By Ann Sylvester LIFE, as Mr. George M. Cohan so aptlv put it. is a funny proposition. The only thing that can compare with it in mirth-provoking qualities is — the movies. Sometimes the two — life and the movies — work hand in hand, and the results are so hilarious that even the gods have to snicker. For instance, what could be funnier than standing a broke young man in front of a bakery window with a dime in his pocket and a sign in the window to the effect that a loaf of bread could be purchased for fifteen cents? Then, what could be funnier than taking that same young man a year later, and planting him down in the Montmartre, surrounded by so much food that he is forced to cry out from behind a service of spaghetti. "Lord, isn't there any end to this?'' That's the kind of laugh they hand you — life and the movies. Anyway, that's the kind of laugh they have handed Gary Cooper, newest Paramount star and nineday wonder of our village. Every one is talking about Gary's '"break." One good part — in "The Winning of Barbara Worth" — and then, stardom ! Xot featured roles, mind you, but stardom. If you saw "The Winning of Barbara Worth," and even if you didn't, you must have concluded by now that this Mr. Cooper is more or less an extraordinary number, am not here to dispute vou. He is very handsome in that dustyhaired, blue-eyed, six-foot-two way. A gentleman connected with the publicity department asked me not to mention the fact that Gary bears a slight resemblance to Wallace Reid, so I am duty bound not to say anything about that. But a young lady in the same department put her finger more closely to the point when she said. "There's something kind of pathetic about him, too." On the screen she meant, of course. There is nothing at all pathetic about Garv in person. How could there be. when the juiciest fruit from the horn of plenty has just been dumped in his lap? He arrived for our appointment fifteen minutes late and didn't offer a whitewashed apology. He rather gave the impression that it must be perfectly clear to every one in the room that he had been unavoidably detained, otherwise he would not have been fifteen minutes late, s After the customary introductions and bon mots about the weather, he piloted me awav from the studio in a low-slung roadster. He politely asked me where I would like to lunch and when I said it was immaterial he headed directly for the Montmartre without any further ado about it, exhibiting a nice gift for clean-cut decisions. That may partly account for his conquest of the studios. "I guess I stepped on a horseshoe when I landed in Gary Cooper comes from a family of judges and ranchers, so he has the intelligence and training to make the most of his big opportunity. Hollywood," he said, without smiling boyishly. "There's no other way to account for it." Certain!} there had been nothing in his past to prepare him for his golden fate. There isn't another actor in the whole tribe of Coopers, past or present. Gary, of course, has ruined the future. His real name is Frank O. Cooper but he is known always as "Gary." His childhood was passed in Iowa, the State of his birth. Montana, the State of his choice, and England, where he attended school for a short time. Eorn of a family of judges and ranchers, he alternated between schools of judicial learning and the wide plains of Montana. From what I could gather, the life of the plains made more of a hit with Gary than the nice boys' schools. During the summer months on his uncle's ranch he learned to ride in that untutored but most graceful way in the world, cowbov fashion. There, too. he learned that straight-from-theshoulder directness that is bred of life among men's men. But the young Gary was not permitted to ride his entire time away. Each autumn he boarded a train back to school and in due time he was graduated. With a diploma in his hand and no particular reason for doing so. he started west. He loafed along the Pacific coast for a month or two and then wandered into Los Angeles. It looked like a prettv good town for a while, until his pocketbook warned that it was time to settle down somewhere and look for a job. Because he could sketch fairly well he turned toward commercial advertising as a means of support. The copy-writing end of the game looked as though it might be a profitable tie-up. It might have been, but Gary never found out. because he never got a job. He went around from newspaper to newspaper and from hotel to boarding house. Finally he got down to a hall room and ten cents. That's when he stood in front of the bakery eying the loaf of bread he couldn't buy. Necessity is also the mother of getting a job. and when the job he wanted couldn't be got he got one that could. Soliciting orders for a Hollywood photographer wasn't a nifty occupation, but he managed to net from four to six dollars a day out of it. That helped a lot. But say what you will about photograph soliciting, there is not much of a future in it, and while it looked like a good temporary means of support. Gary saved up a couple of weeks' salarv and then dropped it. In making his rounds of the studios he had talked with a few of the boys who were earning as much as fifty to sixty dollars a week as extras. The work was comparatively easv. and what was more important, it had a big future. ( ?) Continued on page 98