Ben Cooper (September 30, 1933 – February 24, 2020) was an American actor of film and television, who won a Golden Boot Award in 2005 for his work in westerns.
Cooper appeared on Broadway in Life With Father (1939). He debuted in the role of Harlan at age 9; before the play performances ended in 1943, Cooper had grown enough to play Whitney.
Cooper acted in thirty-four radio serials, many of them soap operas, in the era of old-time radio.
Film and television career
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 with Republic Pictures such as Thunderbirds, Johnny Guitar, The Last Command, Duel at Apache Wells (1956), and other films such as The Rose Tattoo.
Cooper began appearing on dozens of television westerns. He was cast as Clint Harding, a young man intent on murdering his father, in the 1956 episode, “Vengeance Canyon” on Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre. Walter Brennan and Sheb Wooley played outlaws, Joe and Brock, respectively, whom Clint encountered on the trail. Joe tries to convince Clint that vengeance is unproductive.
He appeared in Tales of Wells Fargo, Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and Rawhide. He unsuccessfully tested in 1962 for the role of Steve Hill on NBC’s 90-minute western television series, The Virginian. He played murderer Frank Wells in the 1961 Perry Mason episode “The Case of the Impatient Partner,” Davis Crane in the 1962 episode “The Case of the Promoter’s Pillbox,” and James Grove in the 1962 episode “The Case of the Polka Dot Pony.” He also played murderer Clyde Jasper in the 1965 Perry Mason episode “The Case of the Mischievous Doll”.
Cooper, a native of Hartford, Connecticut, resided in the Greater Los Angeles Area. After he was diagnosed with dementia, he moved to a memory care facility in Memphis, Tennessee in 2017 to be near his family; he died there on February 24, 2020 at the age of 86. He had two daughters by his late wife Pamela R. Cooper.
Cooper supported Barry Goldwater in the 1964 United States presidential election.
Cooper was a notable performer in many television westerns. Cooper also appeared in television pilots for Command (1958), The Reno Brothers (1960), and The Freebooters (1967). These performances include appearances in the following television westerns: