logo
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Western Movie Icon and 'Johnny Guitar' Star Ben Cooper Dies at 86 after Battling Long Illness

Jaimie-lee Prince
Feb 27, 2020
11:42 A.M.

Ben Cooper was among the pioneers of Western movies. Sadly, the on-screen cowboy has passed away, leaving behind an array of action-packed films in his midst.

Advertisement

According to the Hollywood Reporter, actor Ben Cooper passed away on Monday at his Memphis, Tennessee home. Cooper's nephew Pete Searls made the grim announcement to the outlet.

Cooper was 86 years old at the time of death. He was perhaps best known for playing Turkey Ralston in 1954's "Johnny Guitar." Yet Cooper was far from a one-time wonder.

Advertisement

Early career

Cooper began his entertainment career early when he starred in Broadway's "Life with Father" at just nine years old in 1942. He remained in the play for a few years and played two sons.

At 18, Cooper got onto the tv show, "Armstrong Circle Theater." That boosted him into Western film roles, and he signed on with Republic Pictures for the long-term.

Advertisement

Western films

Cooper would go on to appear in 1952's "Thunderbirds," 1955's "The Last Command," 1956's "Rebel in Town," 1957's "Duel at Apache Wells," 1965's "Arizona Raiders, " 1966's "Waco," and 1967's "The Fastest Guitar Alive."

In 1971, Cooper did "Gunfighter" and "One More Train to Rob." He further appeared in shows like "Bonanza," "Wagon Train," "The Rifleman," "Death Valley Days," "Tales of Wells Fargo," and "The Twilight Zone."

Advertisement

Last appearances

Cooper was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on September 30, 1933. He would attend Columbia University and spend a short time in the army. In addition to television, he also acted in over 3,000 radio shows.

His most recent roles were on Claude Akins' "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo" where he played district attorney Alexander Waverly. He also appeared in Lee Majors' "The Fall Guy" in the early 80s.

Advertisement

Cooper's survivors

Cooper once said in an interview that he would practice drawing his gun quickly for 90 minutes every day over four years, reported the Hollywood Reporter.

The Museum of Western Film History also did an interview with Cooper about his lengthy career. "They let me play cowboy, and they paid me [for it]," Cooper said heartily.

Advertisement

The star's nephew said that Cooper died in his sleep on Monday after a long illness. He leaves behind a granddaughter Pamela, a grandson, Phillip, a sister, Bunny, and a son-in-law, Craig.

Esther Scott's death

Cooper's death follows that of "Boyz N the Hood" star Esther Scott, who passed away at 66 on February 14. Scott suffered a heart attack before she was taken to the hospital and declared dead days later.

Esther Scott at "The Birth of a Nation's" special presentation for the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2016, in Canada | Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Esther Scott at "The Birth of a Nation's" special presentation for the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2016, in Canada | Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Scott was surrounded by family when she passed. Though not widely known by name, she starred in about 73 shows and films, her last being 2016's "The Birth of a Nation."

Advertisement
info
Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Advertisement
Related posts

Inside Anderson Cooper's Converted Firehouse Where He Lives with Kids He Shares with His Best Friend

April 09, 2022

Are Bradley Cooper & Irina Shayk Back Together Again? They Sparked Many Reconciliation Rumors after Their Split

February 08, 2022

Why Is Chris Pratt Receiving Backlash? Here Are All His Criticised Comments

May 24, 2022

James Drury Died Months after Wife of 40 Years – He Had Several Heartbreaks before His 'Wonderful Marriage'

March 02, 2022

CNN Anderson Cooper Thought He Would ‘Never Be Able to Have a Kid’ - Now He Is a Happy Father of 2

January 05, 2023

Harry Morgan Wanted to Be Remembered as a 'Pleasant Person' after 'M*A*S*H' Made Him a 'Better Human'

April 04, 2022

Chrissy Metz's Ex-husband Martyn Eaden Filed for Divorce in 2014 — Her Love Life Flourished after They Split

January 26, 2022

Martin Milner’s Passion Was His Family - His Wife of 58 Years & 4 Kids Traveled with Him on ‘Route 66'

February 19, 2022

Liam Neeson Walked TV Wife Down Wedding Aisle Just 2 Months after Natasha Richardson's Death

May 15, 2022

Robert Redford Lives 'Whole New Life' after Marrying 21-Years-Younger Wife — It Took Them 13 Years to Wed

March 21, 2022

Paul Newman Had 6 Children with 2 Women – His Will Caused a Rift between His Family and Adviser

November 29, 2022

Hugh Hefner Had 4 Kids with 2 Wives — His Son Marston Was Arrested for Alleged Attack of a Playboy Playmate

February 21, 2022

Paul Newman’s 50-Year Marriage Started at the Expense of His Relationship with His 1st Wife

February 02, 2022

Liam Neeson 'Fell in Love' with a Woman Years after Wife's Death Saved the Lives of 3 People

March 18, 2022