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albatros1 ( 2007-10-12 )
Source: Wikipedia The Internet Encyclopedia
Dame Gladys Constance Cooper DBE (18 December 1888 – 17 November 1971) was an Oscar-nominated English actress. Cooper was born in Lewisham, London, one of the three daughters of Charles William Frederick Cooper by his marriage to Mabel Barnett. She made her stage début in 1905 touring with Seymour Hicks in his musical Bluebell in Fairyland. The young beauty also was a popular photographic model. In 1906, she appeared in London in The Belle of Mayfair, and the following year she became a chorus girl at the Gaiety Theatre, London. In 1911, she appeared in a production of The Importance of Being Ernest, and in 1913 she appeared in her first film, The Eleventh Commandment. In addition, 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 appeared in W. Somerset Maugham's Home and Beauty in London in 1919. It was not until 1922, however, that she found major critical success, in Arthur Wing Pinero's The Second Mrs. Tanqueray. Early in her stage career, she was criticized for being stiff. Aldous Huxley dismissed her performance in Home and Beauty: "she is too impassive, too statuesque, playing all the time as if she were Galatea, newly unpetrified and still unused to the ways of the living world."  Yet Maugham praised her for "turning herself from an indifferent actress to an extremely competent one" through her common sense and industriousness.. She also appeared in Maugham's The Letter in 1927. Cooper found success in Hollywood in a variety of character roles and was most frequently cast as a disapproving, aristocratic society woman. She appeared in Rebecca and The Green Years, and she was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performances. These include Bette Davis's pathologically repressive mother in Now, Voyager, a sceptical nun in The Song of Bernadette, and Rex Harrison's mother, "Mrs. Higgins," in My Fair Lady. At nearly 80 years of age, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of British Empire (DBE). She continued to act past her 80th birthday, including a memorable performance in 1971 in a revival of The Chalk Garden at the Haymarket Theatre. She was married three times: 1) Captain Herbert Buckmaster 1908; (two children, including a daughter, Joan Buckmaster (1910 – 2005) who married the actor Robert Morley). 2) The English baronet Sir Neville Pearson (1927 – 1936); (one daughter, Sally Pearson (aka Sally Cooper) who was married from 1961 to 1986 to the actor Robert Hardy. 3) The English actor Philip Merivale (30 April 1937 – 12 March 1946). She lived for many years in Santa Monica, California, as a permanent resident alien with her third husband, until his death aged 59 from a heart ailment. Her stepson through this marriage was John Merivale. She herself eventually returned to the United Kingdom for her final years. She appeared with Wendy Hiller and Leo Genn in Somerset Maugham's The Sacred Flame in London in 1967. She died from pneumonia at the age of 82 in Henley-on-Thames, England. Among many television appearances, she starred in the 1960s in The Rogues with David Niven, Gig Young, Robert Coote, John Williams and Larry Hagman. For this she won a Golden Globe Award in 1965. She also appeared in three episodes of The Twilight Zone. The first, entitled "Nothing in the Dark", in 1962. In this episode she plays an old lady who refuses to leave her apartment for fear of meeting Death. A young policeman (Robert Redford) is shot at her doorstep and persuades her to let him in. Her second appearance was in 1964, in an episode entitled, Night Call. Here she plays an old lady who is besieged by late night phone calls from the ghost of her long-dead fiancée. She also appeared in a third and final episode, Passage on the Lady Anne, which aired on May 9th 1962.
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