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Charles Henry Cooper

Charles Henry Cooper

American lawyer and judge; father of actor Gary Cooper
Charles Henry Cooper
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American lawyer and judge; father of actor Gary Cooper
A.K.A. Charles Cooper
Was Jurist Judge Farmer
From United States of America England United Kingdom
Type Law
Gender male
Birth 15 September 1865, Houghton Regis, United Kingdom
Death 17 September 1946, Tracy, California (aged 81 years)
Star sign Virgo
Politics Republican Party
Mother: Rebecca Duncan Cooper
Father: John Gooding Cooper
Spouse: Alice Cooper
Children: Gary Cooper Arthur Leroy Cooper
The details


Charles Henry Cooper (15 September 1865 - 17 September 1946) was a British-born American lawyer, rancher, and Justice of the Montana Supreme Court from 1919-1924. He was the father of celebrated American actor Gary Cooper.

Early life

Charles Henry Cooper was born on September 15, 1865, in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, England, of middle-class farming parents. He was one of twelve children of John Gooding Cooper (1830-1877) and his wife Rebecca, née Duncan (1832-1877).

Cooper excelled as a student and was encouraged to pursue a legal career. After convincing his parents, he and his older brother Walter (1862-1936) emigrated to the United States in 1885. Charles was nineteen at the time. The brothers arrived in Boston Harbor. Shortly after, Charles separated from his brother and headed west, to Montana.

Life and Career

After arriving in Helena, Montana, Cooper studied law and in 1893 he was admitted as a legal scholar. The same year he met his future wife Alice Augusta Louisa Brazier (1873-1967,) originally from Sheerness, Kent, England. The two married two years later, in 1895.

In 1895, Cooper became an assistant to Preston Leslie, U.S. District Attorney of Montana and former territorial governor of Montana. The same year, Cooper and Alice gave birth to their first son, Arthur Leroy (1895-1982.) Arthur went on to become a banker.

Cooper later worked with Wilbur F. Sanders' law firm.

By the early 1900s, Cooper had become a US citizen and the family was well-established in Montana. In 1901, their second son, Frank James was born, who later became a well-known actor under the name Gary Cooper.

Cooper had earned his law degree and was engaging in local politics. He even introduced Theodore Roosevelt when the candidate visited Helena during the 1904 Presidential campaign. The family did well financially and in 1906, they acquired a 600-acre ranch, the Seven Bar Nine ("7bar9") near Craig, Montana. The ranch was evacuated in 1908 when Hauser Dam was being constructed.

In 1910, Cooper sent his wife, Alice, and the two sons to England for an extended vacation. While in England, Alice decided to continue their sons' education at Dunstable School instead of in Helena. Cooper agreed and in 1911, the whole family moved to England. At the school in Dunstable, Gary was named "Cooper II" and Arthur "Cooper I" as his younger brother. The parents returned to Helena in 1911 without the children; the children returned after they finished school in 1915.

From January 1919 to late August 1924, Cooper served as Associate Justice at the Montana State Supreme Court. He resigned as a judge four months before the end of his six-year term in connection with the resignation of incumbent District Attorney Wellington D. Rankin (brother of suffragist Jeannette Rankin). He then moved to Hollywood, California, where he had a law firm and worked as an agent for his son Gary Cooper. In April 1928 he returned to Helena, where he again acquired a ranch that was to serve as the location for his son's films. Due to mismanagement, the ranch had to be sold for financial reasons in 1939.

Cooper was a registered republican.


Cooper died on September 17, 1946, at the age of 81 in Tracy, San Joaquin County, California. His grave is in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

To cite the article
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Article Title: Charles Henry Cooper: American lawyer and judge; father of actor Gary Cooper - Biography and Life
Author(s): PeoplePill.com Editorial Staff
Website Title: PeoplePill
Publisher: PeoplePill
Article URL: https://peoplepill.com/people/charles-henry-cooper/
Publish Date: 27 Nov 2016
Date Accessed: 23 Oct 2020
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