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"In the Spotlight"


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Cascabel, thank you very much for the plaudits. I appreciate it. My threads relate to what Turner Classic Movies is all about...movies and the stars.

For your information the Happy Birthday thread will cease on January 1st 2008. I will continue to post In the Spotlight and Ask Mongo .

Happy Hoidays to you and a happy and healthy 2008!

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In the Spotlight: GLADYS COOPER



In a scene from "Now, Voyager"


Essential character actress Gladys Constance Cooper was born on December 18, 1888 in Lewisham, London, one of the three daughters of Charles William Frederick Cooper by his marriage to Mabel Barnett.


The lady made her stage d?but in 1905 touring with Seymour Hicks in his musical "Bluebell in Fairyland", among many others. The young beauty also was a popular photographic model, and in 1913 she appeared in her first film, "The Eleventh Commandment".


It was not until 1922, however, that she found major critical success in the stage play "The Second Mrs. Tanqueray". 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 first noticed in Hitchcock's "Rebecca" followed by "Kitty Foyle", "That Hamilton Woman", "This Above All", "Mr. Lucky", "The White Cliffs of Dover", "Mrs. Parkington", "The Valley of Decision", "Love Letters", "The Green Years", "Green Dolphin Street", "The Bishop's Wife", "The Pirate" with Judy Garland, "The Secret Garden", "Madame Bovary", "Separate Tables", etc.


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 skeptical nun in The "Song of Bernadette", and Rex Harrison's mother, Mrs. Higgins, in "My Fair Lady".


Among many other appearances, she starred in the 1960s TV series "The Rogues" with David Niven, Charles Boyer and Gig Young. For this she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 1965.

She also appeared in three episodes of "The Twilight Zone", notably "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 with Robert Redford. 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 fianc?e.


Her last major success on the stage was in the role of Mrs. St. Maugham in "The Chalk Garden", a role she created in London and on Broadway.

In 1967 at nearly 80 years of age, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of British Empire . She continued to act past her 80th birthday, including a memorable performance in 1971 in a revival of "The Chalk Garden".


She was maried three times including to Captain Herbert Buckmaster (two children, including a daughter, Joan Buckmaster who married the actor Robert Morley), English baronet Sir Neville Pearson; (one daughter), and to English actor Philip Merivale.

She lived for many years in Santa Monica, California, as a permanent resident alien with her third husband (Merivale), until his death in 1946 at 59 from a heart ailment.


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 in 1971 from pneumonia at the age of 82 in Henley-on-Thames, England. A grand Dame indeed.

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