HELENA – The Queen City has produced its share of famous people, most notably Hollywood western actor Gary Cooper.

Frank James “Gary” Cooper was born in 1901 to English immigrants in Helena. He grew up on his family’s ranch near Craig.

Originally wanting to be an artist, Cooper moved to Los Angeles to try and make enough money as movie extra to pay for a professional art course.

Cooper went on to perform in over 80 movies and even win an Academy Award for best actor.

Story continues below

Cooper best known for his role in the Western “High Noon” by some was considered an “American Ideal for people of his generation.”

‘High Noon’ was filmed during one of the darkest periods in U.S. film history.

A new book by Glenn Frankel called “The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic” offers a sweeping look into cooper’s career during this time which hasn’t been explored this deeply.

“What was going on in America at the time with a lot of the communist activities and the blacklisting that was going on in the Hollywood community. His role in that hasn’t been heard before, really delved in to,” said Susan Near of the Montana Historical Society

There will be a book signing with the author at the Montana Historical Society Wednesday at 7 p.m.