Cooper in Bonanza (1960)
September 30, 1933 |
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
|Spouse(s)||Pamela R. Cooper (m. 1960–2008)|
Cooper's earliest credited screen appearance was as an eighteen-year-old in 1952–1953 on the Armstrong Circle Theatre, then on NBC, in the two episodes "The Commandant's Clock" and "Changing Dream". Thereafter, he appeared in numerous films: Thunderbirds (1952) as Calvin Jones, Women They Almost Lynched (1953) as Jesse James Dingus, A Perilous Journey (1953) as Sam, Flight Nurse (1953) as Private First Class Marvin Judd, Sea of Lost Ships (1954) as a crewman, Johnny Guitar (1954) as Turkey Ralston, The Outcast (1954) as The Kid, The Rose Tattoo (1955) as Seaman Jack Hunter, The Last Command (1955) as Jeb Lacey, Rebel in Town (1956) as Gray Mason, Duel at Apache Wells (1957) as Johnny Shattuck (or the Durango Kid), and Outlaw's Son as Jeff Blaine. In 1959, he guest starred on CBS's fantasy drama The Millionaire as William Williams in the episode "Millionaire Alicia Osante."
Starting in 1959, Cooper began appearing on dozens of television westerns; first, on NBC's Tales of Wells Fargo as Matthew Land in the episode "Home Town", on Wichita Town as Tom Warren in the episode "Passage to the Enemy", and on Ward Bond's Wagon Train as the principal guest star of two episodes, "The Steve Campden Story" and "The Tom Tuckett Story". In 1960, he starred on Don Durant's CBS series Johnny Ringo, a spinoff of Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, on which Cooper appeared five times between 1956 and 1960. The Zane Grey episodes were "Vengeance Canyon" (1956) as Clint Harding, "The Sunrise Gun" (1959) as Sam Duskin, Jr., and three 1960 segments, "Miss Jenny" with Vera Miles in the title role and Cooper as Darryl Thompson, "The Sunrise Gun," again as Sam Duskin, Jr., and "Desert Flight" as Sandy.
Cooper appeared in the title guest-starring role in Stagecoach West, starring Wayne Rogers and Robert Bray. In "The Saga of Jeremy Boone" (November 29, 1960), Cooper is cast as a wealthy young Texan seeking to establish his own ranch in the Midwest and who claims descent from frontiersman Daniel Boone. He is smitten by Felicia Sparks, a beautiful conwoman some ten years his senior, played by Marti Stevens. Steve Brodie plays Deuce Stone, Felicia's estranged partner, who tries to kill Jeremy for the $40,000 he has announced exists in his money belt. Wayne Rogers as Luke Perry races to keep Deuce from killing Jeremy, who survives a shot in the back.
Other westerns followed: NBC's The Westerner as Cal in "Hand on the Gun" (1960) and ABC's The Rifleman as Simon Lee in the 1961 episode "Face of Yesterday," NBC's Bonanza as Sam Kirby in "Showdown" (1960) and as Johnny Lightly in "The Horse Breaker" (1961). In 1962, Cooper appeared in two episodes of NBC's Laramie as Sandy Catlin in "The Runt" and as Johnny Hartley, the nephew of Sheriff Mort Corey, played by series character Stuart Randall, in the episode entitled "Gun Duel." In 1963, Cooper was cast as Kid Carter in the theater film, Gunfight at Comanche Creek, with Audie Murphy and DeForest Kelley in the lead roles.
Cooper appeared three times on CBS's Gunsmoke: as Breck Taylor in the two 1965 episodes "Breckinridge" and "Two Tall Men" and as Pitt Campbell in "Apprentice Doc" in 1961. He appeared on CBS's Rawhide as Clell Miller in the episode "The Photographer" (1964). In 1967, Cooper appeared as Lieutenant Drake in the film Red Tomahawk. In 1969, he starred in the syndicated series Death Valley Days as Jason Tugwell in the episode "Biscuits and Billy the Kid."
In 1970, Cooper appeared as another "Jason" in the episode "With Love, Bullets, and Valentines" of the long-running NBC series The Virginian starring James Drury and Doug McClure. In 1971, Cooper appeared in the role of "Colorado" in the James Garner film Support Your Local Gunfighter. In 1974, Cooper guest starred as Goodnight in the episode "The Cenotaph: Part 2" of ABC's Kung Fu starring David Carradine. Twenty-one years later in 1995, Cooper appeared as Sheriff Dowd in the episode "The Promise" of another Kung Fu series, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.
Cooper made many appearances in roles other than westerns. In 1961, he appeared as Dauger in the American Civil War episode, Still Valley, of CBS's The Twilight Zone created by Rod Serling. In 1962, he guest starred as Mark Perry in "The Exclusive Story" on Robert Young's CBS comedy/drama series Window on Main Street. In 1965, Cooper was cast as Sam Grayson in the episode "Won't It Ever Be Morning?" of NBC's Kraft Suspense Theatre. He guest starred in five episodes of CBS' s legal drama Perry Mason starring Raymond Burr: as murderer Frank Wells in "The Case of the Impatient Partner", as Davis Crane in "The Case of the Promoter's Pillbox" (1962), as James Grove in "The Case of the Polka-dot Pony" (1962), as two-time murderer Jasper in "The Case of the Mischievous Doll" (1965), and as Lowell Rupert in "The Case of the Baffling Bug" (also 1965).
On September 16, 1966, he appeared, along with Larry Ward, James T. Callahan, and Warren Stevens, in the ABC science fiction series The Time Tunnel in the role of Nazarro, an astronaut, in the episode "One Way To The Moon." In 1969, he portrayed "Pete" in the episode "The Playground" of Mike Connors's CBS detective series Mannix. The next year, he appeared again as Pete in the Mannix episode "To Cage a Seagull." He portrayed Officer Brinkman in the episode "Log 95: Purse Snatcher" of Jack Webb's NBC police drama Adam-12, starring Martin Milner and Kent McCord. He guest starred on Robert Young's ABC medical drama, Marcus Welby, M.D.
In 1974, Cooper appeared as Ben Steward in the episode "Cheers" of David Hartman's NBC drama Lucas Tanner. In 1975, he appeared as Hank in the two-parter "The Sky's the Limit" on NBC's Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. In 1979, he appeared as Waverly in NBC's B. J. and the Bear starring Greg Evigan. He continued in the role of Waverly in 1979–1980, when NBC revamped the series as The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, with Claude Akins in the title role. Cooper appeared in episodes "Perkins Bombs Out," "Treasure of Nature Beach," "Police Escort," "The Boom Boom Lady," and "Dean Martin and the Moonshiners."
From 1981 to 1983, appeared as the stunt scene director in seven episodes of ABC's The Fall Guy starring Lee Majors, including "The Molly Sue", "The Further Adventures of Ozzie and Harold", "Manhunter", "License to Kill: Part 1", and "No Way Out". Among Cooper's last television roles were as Mr. Parrish in two 1985 episodes, "Dead Ends" and "Terms of Estrangement", of CBS's prime time soap opera Dallas and as a bureaucrat in the Dallas spinoff, Knots Landing in the 1986 episode "His Brother's Keeper." He appeared too in 1986 as J. Howard Tucker in the episode "Gibbon Take" of the NBC legal drama L.A. Law. Cooper's last film roles were as in Lightning Jack (1994) and in the 1996 television production Joan Crawford: Always the Star.
Cooper, a native of Hartford, Connecticut, resides in the Greater Los Angeles Area. He has two daughters. He attended Columbia University in New York City. His wife, actress Pamela R. Cooper, died in 2008.
- The Eternal Sea (1955)
- IMDB lists Cooper's year of birth as 1933, but TV.com posts 1930.
- "Awards for Ben Cooper". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
- "Ben Cooper". Internet Movie Data Base. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
- "Stagecoach West: "The Saga of Jeremy Boone"". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- "Ben Cooper". All Movie. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ben Cooper.|