Gary Cooper wowed audiences with his work in classic Hollywood films like High Noon, Love in the Afternoon and Sergeant York. But out of the millions of fans that adored the late showbiz icon, no one was more proud of Gary than his only daughter, Maria Cooper Janis.
The Mr. Deeds Goes To Town star was the dad of his beloved child with his wife, Veronica Balfe. Gary and the King Kong actress wed in 1933 and became parents less than four years later, welcoming Maria on September 15, 1937.
As the daughter of a Golden Age Hollywood heavyweight, Maria was catapulted into the spotlight at a young age. Not only did she step out at prestigious events with her famous father, but Maria even attended the premiere of 1959’s They Came to Cordura, where she was introduced to Queen Elizabeth‘s late sister, Princess Margaret.
It’s been more than 60 years since Maria said goodbye to her legendary father, but she can still remember the incredible man Gary was as clear as day. Speaking exclusively with Closer in September 2021, the Los Angeles native praised her dad for being a “very nonjudgmental” person.
“He thought that people had a right to believe what they wanted to believe,” Maria shared, saying this quality allowed him to form close bonds with fellow Hollywood superstars like Judy Garland and Jimmy Stewart, who was one of Gary’s “closest friends in the industry,” Maria explained.
“Bing Crosby was another good pal of my father,” the doting daughter continued. “He loved being around creative people and exchanging ideas.”
Though he hung out with the likes of Hollywood’s hottest A-listers, Maria noted her dad “wasn’t pretentious” by any means. “When he wasn’t working, he would go duck shooting or have the greatest day sitting at a local coffee shop eating a hamburger,” she recalled. “He would drink a scotch, but he really loved beer.”
To learn more about Gary’s only kid, scroll below!
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