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Gladys Cooper

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Gladys Cooper


Gladys Cooper Vintage Postcard Actress Glamour Girl Gladys Cooper

Full Name
Gladys Constance Cooper

18 December 1888 (
Hither Green, London, England

November 17, 1971, Henley-on-Thames, United Kingdom

Philip Merivale (m. 1937–1946), Neville Pearson (m. 1927–1936), Herbert Buckmaster (m. 1908–1921)

John Buckmaster, Joan Buckmaster, Sally Pearson

Mabel Barnett, William Frederick Cooper

Movies and TV shows
My Fair Lady, Now - Voyager, Rebecca, The Twilight Zone, The Song of Bernadette

Similar People
Wilfrid Hyde‑White, George Cukor, Irving Rapper, Philip Merivale, Geraldine Page

Movie legends gladys cooper

Dame Gladys Constance Cooper, DBE (18 December 1888 – 17 November 1971) was an English actress whose career spanned seven decades on stage, in films and on television.


Gladys Cooper NPG x126415 Dame Gladys Cooper Portrait National

Beginning on the stage as a teenager in Edwardian musical comedy and pantomime, she was starring in dramatic roles and silent films before the beginning of the First World War. She also became a manager of the Playhouse Theatre from 1917 to 1933, where she played many roles. Beginning in the early 1920s, Cooper was winning praise in plays by W. Somerset Maugham and others.

Gladys Cooper Elaborately wonderful images of Gladys Cooper

In the 1930s, she was starring steadily both in the West End and on Broadway. Moving to Hollywood in 1940, Cooper found success in a variety of character roles; she was nominated for three Academy Awards, the last one as Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady (1964). Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, she mixed her stage and film careers, continuing to star on stage until her last year.

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Early life and career

Gladys Cooper Gladys Cooper Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Cooper was born at 23 Ennersdale Road, 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.

Gladys Cooper Gladys Cooper a Pictorial More Reel Life

She made her stage debut in 1905 touring with Seymour Hicks in his musical Bluebell in Fairyland. The young beauty was also a popular photographic model. In 1906, she appeared as Lady Swan in London in The Belle of Mayfair and then in the pantomime Babes in the Wood as Mavis. The following year she became a chorus girl at the Gaiety Theatre, creating the small role of Eva in The Girls of Gottenberg. That Christmas, she was Molly in Babes in the Wood. In 1908, she appeared in the musical Havana followed, the next year, by Our Miss Gibbs, in which she played Lady Connie; she was then on tour again with Hicks, in Papa's Wife, before playing Sadie von Tromp in the hit operetta The Dollar Princess at Daly's Theatre in 1909. In 1911, she appeared in a production of The Importance of Being Earnest and in Man and Superman. Among several other plays, the next year she was Muriel Pym in Milestones at the Royalty Theatre. A highlight of 1913 was Dora in Diplomacy at Wyndham's Theatre. That year she also played the title role in The Pursuit of Pamela at the Royalty.

Gladys Cooper Dame Gladys Cooper British actress Britannicacom

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, however, including appearances as Lady Agatha Lazenby in The Admirable Crichton in 1916 and Clara de Foenix in Trelawny of the Wells. 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. During these years, she starred several times in My Lady's Dress. She appeared in W. Somerset Maugham's Home and Beauty in 1919, repeated Dora at His Majesty's Theatre in 1920 and elsewhere thereafter, and played numerous roles at the Playhouse Theatre.

Gladys Cooper Dame Gladys Cooper British actress Britannicacom

It was not until 1922, however, now in her mid thirties, that she found major critical success, in Arthur Wing Pinero's The Second Mrs. Tanqueray. Early in her stage career, she was criticised for being too stiff. Aldous Huxley dismissed her performance in Home and Beauty, writing "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." Evidently, her acting improved during this period, as Maugham praised her for "turning herself from an indifferent actress to an extremely competent one" through her common sense and industriousness. For both the 1923 and 1924 Christmas shows at the Adelphi Theatre, Cooper played the title character in Peter Pan, while also playing several other roles at that theatre during those two years. She appeared in Maugham's The Letter in London and on tour in 1927 and 1928, in Excelsior (adapted from "L'Ecole des Cocottes" by H.M. Harwood) in 1928, and in Maugham's The Sacred Flame in 1929, also in London and on tour.

Among other roles, Cooper was Clemency Warlock in Cynara (1930), Wanda Heriot in The Pelican (1931), Lucy Haydon in Dr Pygmalion (1932), Carola in The Firebird (1932), Jane Claydon in The Rats of Norway (1933), Mariella Linden in The Shining Hour in 1934 and 1935, in London and New York City and on tour (at the same time making her first "talkie" film, The Iron Duke), also playing Desdemona and Lady Macbeth on Broadway in 1935. She was Dorothy Hilton in Call it a Day, again in both London and New York, from 1935 to 1936. A highlight of 1937 was Laura Lorimer in Goodbye to Yesterday in London and on tour. In 1938, she played Tiny Fox-Collier in Spring Meeting in New York, Montreal and Britain, as well as several Shakespeare roles and Fran Dodsworth in Dodsworth. She repeated Spring Meeting in 1939.

Later career

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 sceptical 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".

Her only stage roles in the 1940s were Mrs. Parrilow in The Morning Star in Philadelphia and New York (1942) and Melanie Aspen in The Indifferent Shepherd in Britain (1948). She returned to theatre (between films) more often in the 1950s and 1960s, playing in London and on tour in such roles as Edith Fenton in The Hat Trick (1950); Felicity, Countess of Marshwood, in Relative Values (1951 and 1953); Grace Smith in A Question of Fact (1953); Lady Yarmouth in The Night of the Ball (1954); Mrs. St. Maugham in The Chalk Garden (1955–56), Dame Mildred in The Bright One (1958); Mrs. Vincent in Look on Tempests (1960); Mrs. Gantry (Bobby) in The Bird of Time (1961); Mrs. Moore in a stage adaptation of A Passage to India (1962); Mrs Tabret in The Sacred Flame (1966 and 1967); Prue Salter in Let's All Go Down the Strand (1967); Emma Littlewood in Out of the Question (1968); Lydia in His, Hers and Theirs (1969); and others. She received two nominations for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, for her roles in The Chalk Garden and A Passage to India. She also had numerous television roles in the 1950s and '60s, including an important recurring part in The Rogues television series.

In later years, she appeared in several television roles. These included, among others, three episodes of The Twilight Zone. In the first, titled "Nothing in the Dark" (1962), she played an old lady who refuses to leave her flat for fear of meeting 'Death'. A young policeman (Robert Redford) is shot at her doorstep and persuades her to let him inside. Her second appearance was in "Passage on the Lady Anne", which aired on 9 May 1963. Her final episode was the 1964 "Night Call", where she portrayed a difficult, lonely old lady who is besieged by late-night phone calls. Cooper starred in the 1964–65 series The Rogues with David Niven, Charles Boyer, Gig Young, Robert Coote, John Williams and Larry Hagman. For this, she won a Golden Globe Award in 1965. The series lasted a single season of thirty episodes, most of which featured Cooper in a recurring supporting role.

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.

Private life and final years

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.


    The Persuaders! (TV Series) as
    Grand Duchess Ozerov
    - The Ozerov Inheritance (1971) - Grand Duchess Ozerov
    The Doctors (TV Series) as
    Harriet Vey
    - Episode #1.140 (1971) - Harriet Vey
    - Episode #1.139 (1971) - Harriet Vey
    - Episode #1.138 (1971) - Harriet Vey
    - Episode #1.137 (1971) - Harriet Vey
    - Episode #1.136 (1971) - Harriet Vey
    - Episode #1.135 (1971) - Harriet Vey
    - Episode #1.134 (1971) - Harriet Vey
    - Episode #1.133 (1971) - Harriet Vey
    - Episode #1.132 (1971) - Harriet Vey
    - Episode #1.131 (1971) - Harriet Vey
    The Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens (TV Movie) as
    Mrs. Ternan
    A Nice Girl Like Me as
    Aunt Mary
    The Happiest Millionaire as
    Aunt Mary
    Callan (TV Series) as
    Dr. Schultz
    - Goodness Burns Too Bright (1967) - Dr. Schultz
    Adam Adamant Lives! (TV Series) as
    Grand Duchess Vorokhov
    - Black Echo (1967) - Grand Duchess Vorokhov
    The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (TV Series) as
    Mama Rosha
    - The Romany Lie Affair (1966) - Mama Rosha
    Emergency-Ward 10 (TV Series) as
    Sister McInnes
    - Episode #1.861 (1965) - Sister McInnes
    - Episode #1.860 (1965) - Sister McInnes
    - Episode #1.859 (1965) - Sister McInnes
    - Episode #1.858 (1965) - Sister McInnes
    Ben Casey (TV Series) as
    Dr. Hagar Brandt
    - Because of the Needle, the Haystack Was Lost (1965) - Dr. Hagar Brandt
    The Rogues (TV Series) as
    Margaret St. Clair
    - A Daring Step Backward (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Mr. White's Christmas (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Wherefore Art Thou, Harold? (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Our Men in Marawat (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - The Pigeons of Paris (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - The Bartered MacBride (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Bow to a Master (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - The Diamond-Studded Pie (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - The Golden Ocean (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Bless You, G. Carter Huntington (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Gambit by the Golden Gate (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Money Is for Burning (1965) - Margaret St. Clair
    - The Real Russian Caviar (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Hugger-Mugger, by the Sea (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - The Boston Money Party (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Plavonia, Hail and Farewell (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Fringe Benefits (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Take Me in Paris (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Two of a Kind (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Death of a Fleming (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - House of Cards (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - Viva Diaz! (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - The Stefanini Dowry (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - The Day They Gave Diamonds Away (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    - The Personal Touch (1964) - Margaret St. Clair
    The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (TV Series) as
    Laura / Mrs. Raydon
    - Consider Her Ways (1964) - Laura
    - What Really Happened (1963) - Mrs. Raydon
    My Fair Lady as
    Mrs. Higgins
    The Twilight Zone (TV Series) as
    Elva Keene / Millie McKenzie / Wanda Dunn
    - Night Call (1964) - Elva Keene
    - Passage on the Lady Anne (1963) - Millie McKenzie
    - Nothing in the Dark (1962) - Wanda Dunn
    The Outer Limits (TV Series) as
    Mrs. Palmer
    - The Borderland (1963) - Mrs. Palmer
    Burke's Law (TV Series) as
    Harriet Richards
    - Who Killed Sweet Betsy ? (1963) - Harriet Richards
    The List of Adrian Messenger as
    Mrs. Karoudjian
    Going My Way (TV Series) as
    Mrs. Sedgwick
    - Custody of the Child (1963) - Mrs. Sedgwick
    Pygmalion (TV Movie) as
    Mrs. Higgins
    Fair Exchange (TV Series) as
    - Dorothy's Trip to Europe (1962) - Nell
    The Dick Powell Theatre (TV Series) as
    Margaret Langdon
    - In Search of a Son (1962) - Margaret Langdon
    Playdate (TV Series) as
    Mrs. Smith
    - Question of Fact (1962) - Mrs. Smith
    Naked City (TV Series) as
    Mrs. Ernest Johns, Sr.
    - Memory of a Red Trolley Car (1962) - Mrs. Ernest Johns, Sr.
    If the Crown Fits (TV Series) as
    Madam Olga
    - The Ballet (1961) - Madam Olga
    Rendezvous (TV Series) as
    - The Stray Cat (1960) - Helen
    ITV Play of the Week (TV Series) as
    Edith Salesby / Laura Anson
    - Lucky Strike (1960) - Edith Salesby
    - A Day by the Sea (1959) - Laura Anson
    Adventures in Paradise (TV Series) as
    Mrs. Maude Harper
    - Paradise Lost (1959) - Mrs. Maude Harper
    Separate Tables as
    Mrs. Railton-Bell
    The Ann Sothern Show (TV Series) as
    - The Countess of Bartley (1958) - Duchess
    Playhouse 90 (TV Series) as
    Mrs. Allen / Mrs. Palmer / Mrs. Millet
    - Verdict of Three (1958) - Mrs. Allen
    - The Mystery of Thirteen (1957) - Mrs. Palmer
    - Circle of the Day (1957) - Mrs. Millet
    Matinee Theatre (TV Series)
    - Dandy Dick (1958)
    Suspicion (TV Series) as
    Lady Windemere
    - Lord Arthur Savile's Crime (1958) - Lady Windemere
    Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series) as
    Marguerite Gillespie
    - The End of Indian Summer (1957) - Marguerite Gillespie
    The Joseph Cotten Show: On Trial (TV Series) as
    Lady Tichborne
    - The Tichborne Claimant (1957) - Lady Tichborne
    The Alcoa Hour (TV Series) as
    Aunt Pauline
    - Sister (1956) - Aunt Pauline
    The Man Who Loved Redheads as
    Caroline, Lady Binfield
    At Sword's Point as
    Queen Anne
    Thunder on the Hill as
    Mother Superior
    BBC Sunday-Night Theatre (TV Series) as
    The Queen Mother of Persia
    - Adventure Story (1950) - The Queen Mother of Persia
    Madame Bovary as
    Mme. Dupuis
    The Secret Garden as
    Mrs. Medlock
    The Pirate as
    Aunt Inez
    Homecoming as
    Mrs. Kirby
    The Bishop's Wife as
    Mrs. Hamilton
    Green Dolphin Street as
    Sophie Patourel
    The Cockeyed Miracle as
    Amy Griggs
    Beware of Pity as
    Mrs. Klara Condor
    The Green Years as
    Grandma Leckie
    Love Letters as
    Beatrice Remington
    The Valley of Decision as
    Clarissa Scott
    Mrs. Parkington as
    Alice, Duchess de Brancourt
    The White Cliffs of Dover as
    Lady Jean Ashwood
    The Song of Bernadette as
    Sister Marie Therese Vauzous
    Princess O'Rourke as
    Miss Haskell
    Mr. Lucky as
    Captain Veronica Steadman
    Forever and a Day as
    Mrs. Barringer
    Now, Voyager as
    Mrs. Henry Vale
    Eagle Squadron as
    Aunt Emmeline
    This Above All as
    Iris Cathaway
    The Gay Falcon as
    Maxine Wood
    A Yank in the R.A.F. as
    Mrs. Pillby (scenes deleted)
    The Black Cat as
    Myrna Hartley
    That Hamilton Woman as
    Lady Frances Nelson
    Kitty Foyle as
    Mrs. Strafford
    Rebecca as
    Beatrice Lacy
    The Iron Duke as
    Duchess d'Angoulème
    Bonnie Prince Charlie as
    Flora MacDonald
    The Bohemian Girl as
    Arline Arnheim
    Headin' North as
    Madge Mullin
    My Lady's Dress as
    The Wife
    Masks and Faces as
    Mabel Vane
    The Sorrows of Satan as
    Lady Sybil Elton
    The Real Thing at Last (Short) as
    American Witch
    Danny Donovan, the Gentleman Cracksman (Short) as
    Mrs. Ashworth
    The Eleventh Commandment (Short) as
    The Happiest Millionaire (performer: "There are Those" - uncredited)
    The British Empire: Echoes of Britannia's Rule (TV Mini Series documentary) as
    Queen Victoria
    - Oh! The Jubilee! (1972) - Queen Victoria (as Dame Gladys Cooper)
    The Dick Cavett Show (TV Series) as
    - Robert Morley (1971) - Self
    A Birthday Gala Tribute Noel Coward (TV Special) as
    Self - Performer
    The Joey Bishop Show (TV Series) as
    - Episode #4.56 (1969) - Self
    - Episode #2.138 (1968) - Self
    Call My Bluff (TV Series) as
    - Episode #1.25 (1966) - Self
    - Episode #1.7 (1965) - Self
    The Eamonn Andrews Show (TV Series) as
    - Episode #2.23 (1966) - Self
    The 37th Annual Academy Awards (TV Special) as
    Self - Nominee
    This Is Your Life (TV Series documentary) as
    - Ellaline Terriss (1962) - Self
    - A.E. Matthews (1958) - Self
    The Tonight Show Starring Jack Paar (TV Series) as
    - Episode #4.36 (1960) - Self
    Alan Melville Takes You from A-Z (TV Series) as
    Self - representing Mothers-in-law
    - M (1957) - Self - representing Mothers-in-law
    Archive Footage
    Cineficción Radio (Podcast Series)
    - La Muerte (2020)
    The Making of 'My Fair Lady' (Video documentary) as
    Mrs. Higgins (uncredited)
    The Switch as
    Grand Duchess Ozerov
    The Dick Cavett Show (TV Series) as
    - Gov. Ronald Reagan/Bob Newhart/James Wong Howe (1971) - Self
    MGM Parade (TV Series documentary) as
    Aunt Inez
    - Episode #1.34 (1956) - Aunt Inez
    - Episode #1.33 (1956) - Aunt Inez


    Gladys Cooper Wikipedia