Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gary Cooper Postage Stamp Redux

Here's more information on the Gary Cooper postage stamp available through the United States Postal Service--no, I don't work for them--

LOS ANGELES — Iconic actor Gary Cooper returned to a “stamping ovation” today as the 15th inductee into the Legends of Hollywood collectible stamp series. The dedication ceremony took center stage in Los Angeles at the Autry National Center of the American West where the Oscar® for his role in High Noon and Cooper movie posters were on display. All 40 million 44-cent First-Class stamps are available nationwide today.

A cowboy from Helena, MT, Cooper started in the movies by falling off horses during Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” For decades, he was the all-American hero whose believable performances and strong, silent appeal brought him a lifetime of fame.

Unknown to many, Cooper and Ernest Hemingway were close friends who shared a love for the outdoors. They met while skiing in Sun Valley, ID, and hunted and fished together for more than 20 years. Hemingway had Cooper in mind when writing A Farewell to Arms to which Cooper later played the lead role when the book was made into a movie. Hemingway was honored on a stamp in 1989 as the 7th inductee into the Literary Arts series.

“Using the skills he acquired on that Montana ranch,” said U.S. Postal Service Board of Governor member Alan C. Kessler in dedicating the stamp. “Cooper entered the film industry as an extra and stunt double. He eventually traded the stars from Big Sky Country to one on the Hollywood walk of fame as he rode effortlessly into the starring roles of movies like High Noon, The Plainsman and The Westerner.”

Art director Phil Jordan of Falls Church, VA, designed the Gary Cooper stamp using a portrait by artist Kazuhiko Sano of Mill Valley, CA. The image is based on a black-and-white circa 1940 George Hurrell photograph. The artwork surrounding the stamps is based on a still from Cooper’s Academy Award®-winning role as the courageous Marshal Will Kane in High Noon (1952).

Joining Kessler in dedicating the stamp was Cooper’s daughter Maria Cooper Janis, film critic and historian Leonard Maltin, Gary Cooper Scholarship recipient Sonya Oberly and Autry National Center President and CEO John Gray.

“My father would have been very flattered by this honor, but he was always very self deprecating,” said Cooper’s daughter. “If he were here today, he’d probably say, ‘See, look what you get for falling off a horse.’”

When reminiscing about his life Janis said there were “a lot of surface differences in his relationship to Hemingway, but underneath they were somewhat kindred spirits. My father was the only person who could drop in unannounced and be greeted with great delight and open arms. Papa Hemingway often referred to him as the ‘True Gen,’ for true gentleman. Both men respected each other’s silences — there was no need to fill it with constant chatter.”

Janis added that her father had a strong commitment to nature and Native Americans.

“If he were to build a home today it would definitely be green — especially solar energy — as he had a strong sense of conservation.” She recently created the Gary Cooper Scholarship that is awarded to Native American students enrolled in the study of film and television at the University of Southern California.

“The Gary Cooper Scholarship is unique in that it’s specifically designated for Native American students that study in film at USC,” said Scholarship recipient Sonya Oberly, an Osage and Comanche nation descendant and member of the Nez Perce Tribe. “I thought it was cool that I received a cowboy’s scholarship, especially since I’ll be making documentaries about Native Americans.”


Sorry I've been remiss in my posting duties lately. I will put up the poll results of the Audrey Hepburn leading man question this week. I was writing something a little different for that one.


  1. I'm so excited about these stamps! They'll make sending bills out more fun :)

  2. C.K. Dexter Haven, do you have an e-mail address to connect with? Your blog is exemplary as is your knowledge. I'd like to pursue further with you.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.