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Gladys Cooper

Filmography

1913      

The Eleventh Commandment

 

1914      

Danny Donovan, the Gentleman Cracksman

 

1916      

The Real Thing at Last

 

1917      

The Sorrows of Satan

Masks and Faces

My Lady’s Dress

 

1920      

Unmarried

 

1921      

Headin’ North

 

1922      

The Bohemian Girl

 

1923      

Bonnie Prince Charlie

 

1934      

The Iron Duke

 

1940      

Rebecca

Kitty Foyle

 

1941      

That Hamilton Woman

The Black Cat

A Yank in the R.A.F.

The Gay Falcon

 

1942      

This Above All

Eagle Squadron

Now, Voyager

 

1943      

Forever and a Day

Mr. Lucky

Princess O’Rourke

The Song of Bernadette

 

1944      

The White Cliffs of Dover

Mrs. Parkington

 

1945      

The Valley of Decision

Love Letters

 

1946      

The Green Years

Beware of Pity

The Cockeyed Miracle

 

1947      

Green Dolphin Street

The Bishop’s Wife

 

1948      

The Pirate

Homecoming

 

1949      

The Secret Garden

Madame Bovary

 

1951      

Thunder on the Hill

 

1952      

At Sword’s Point

 

1955      

The Man Who Loved Redheads

 

1958      

Separate Tables

 

1963      

The List of Adrian Messenger

 

1964      

My Fair Lady

 

1967      

The Happiest Millionaire

 

1969      

A Nice Girl Like Me

Awards

Gladys Cooper was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performances in

[on looking into a mirror, on her deathbed]: If this is what virus pneumonia does to one, I really don’t think I shall bother to have it again. ~ Gladys Cooper

Gladys Cooper: Learn more about her, review her filmography and more

Actress, Biographies

Gladys Cooper was born Gladys Constance Cooper on  December 18, 1888 in Hither Green, Lewisham, London, the eldest of the three daughters of Charles William Frederick Cooper (1844–1939) by his marriage to Mabel Barnett (1861–1944). Her two younger sisters were Doris Mabel (1891–1987) and Grace Muriel (1893–1982). Gladys Cooper spent most of her childhood in Chiswick, where her family moved when she was an infant.

She made her stage debut in 1905 touring with Seymour Hicks in his musical Bluebell in Fairyland.

In 1913 Cooper appeared in her first film, The Eleventh Commandment, going on to make several more silent films during the First World War and shortly afterwards. She continued full-time stage work as well. In 1917, Cooper became co-manager, with Frank Curzon, of the Playhouse Theatre, taking over sole control from 1927 until she left in 1933.

Cooper turned to film full-time in 1940, finding success in Hollywood in a variety of character roles and was frequently cast as a disapproving, aristocratic society woman, although she sometimes played lively, approachable types, as she did in Rebecca (1940). She was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performances as Bette Davis‘s domineering mother in Now, Voyager (1942), a skeptical nun in The Song of Bernadette (1943), and Rex Harrison’s mother, Mrs. Higgins, in My Fair Lady (1964). In 1945, after playing the role of Clarissa Scott in the film The Valley of Decision, for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer she was given a contract with the studio. Her credits there included both dramatic and comedy films, including The Green Years (1946), The Cockeyed Miracle (1946) and The Secret Garden (1949). Other notable film roles were The Man Who Loved Redheads (1955), Separate Tables (1958) and The Happiest Millionaire (1967) as Aunt Mary Drexel, singing “There Are Those”.

She returned to theatre between films in the 1950s and 1960s. She also had various television roles in the 1950s and ’60s. Cooper starred in the 1964–65 series The Rogues with David Niven, Charles Boyer, Gig Young, Robert Coote, John Williams and Larry Hagman. The series lasted a single season of thirty episodes, most of which featured Cooper as the matriarch of a crime family.

In 1967, at the age of 79, she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). Her last major success on the stage was at age 82, in 1970–71 in the role of Mrs. St. Maugham in Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden, a role she had created on Broadway and in the West End in 1955–56.

Cooper was married three times.

  • Captain Herbert Buckmaster (1908–1921). The couple had two children: Joan (1910–2005), who was married to the actor Robert Morley, and John Rodney (1915–83).
  • Sir Neville Pearson (1927–36). Sir Neville and Lady Pearson had one daughter, Sally Pearson, aka Sally Cooper, who was married (1961–86) to actor Robert Hardy.
  • Philip Merivale (1937–1946), a fellow actor. The couple lived for many years in Santa Monica, California as permanent resident aliens. He died at age 59 from a heart ailment. Her stepson from this marriage was John Merivale.

 

She lived mostly in England in her final years and died from pneumonia at the age of 82 in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

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Gladys Cooper: A Biography