Cooper, Gary: Politics in 1930s and 1940s

In 1936, Gary Cooper voted for the Democrat Presidential nominee, Franklin Roosevelt, but that was the exception; other than that, his voting pattern was straight Republican. He voted for Coolidge once and for Hoover twice.

He openly supported Wendell Wilkie in 1940. In 1941, because of his age (he was 40)  and various infirmities (bad hip), Cooper was barred from military service during WWII.  While Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart joined the army, John Wayne also did not.

Instead, Cooper, like Wayne, made patriotic features, war films and message drama.  

In 1944, a Presidential Election year, Cooper supported the Republican Party ticket, headed by Thomas Dewey, for whom he also campaigned.

Cooper made a speech criticizing President Roosevelt, “because  of the company he keeps,” explaining that the country should be saved from “foreigners,” a term that was perceived as referring to Jews like Bernard Baruch and Felix Frankfurter.  As a result, his public image was damaged, and in the future, he would be more careful in his public utterances.

In 1943, Cooper was one of the founding members of MPA, the leaders of which were Robert Taylor, Gable, Adolph Menjou, Sam Wood, Norman Taurog, Clarence Brown, producer Walt Disney.  The film industry was torn by a great internal strife, losing that presumed ideological unity which had made it a community in the first place.

 

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