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Miriam Cooper

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Miriam Cooper

Born : 7 November 1891
City : Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
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Miriam Cooper Biography
There were actors in our industry a very long time ago who realized their dreams and their passion even when the industry was being established and was at a juvenile stage. Their contribution to this industry is appreciable and to be cherished always. Without them, the establishment of such a great industry would not have been possible. Their hard work, their struggle and their passion to work and act had taken this industry so far. They are the inspiration for millions of people and many aspiring actors as well who have been wishing to be just like them. Miriam Cooper is that one name of the industry that has made this industry proud and given us a lot to cherish for all our lives. There are some lesser known facts about her life, so let us just get to know her better.

Miriam Cooper Early Life and Academy Specifics | Troubled Relationship 


Miriam Cooper was born on 7th November 1891, in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. Her parents Julian Cooper and Margaret Stewart named her Miriam Cooper. Her mother belonged to a conservative Catholic family and her paternal grandfather was known to have helped to discover the Navassa Island and had been making money by selling guano. Her parents fell in love when her father was studying at Loyola University. Together the couple gave birth to their five children, unfortunately, one of their kids died in infancy. She has 3 siblings including her sister named Lenore and two brothers namely Nelson and Gordon

Miriam Cooper had been through a tough time when she was young because her father had abandoned the family and went to Europe. Before her father had left them, their family had been living very peacefully in Washington Heights, but as he left the family became destitute. Then the family had to move to Little Italy which Miriam did not like much. She often said that she had a troubled relationship with her mother, as she felt that she loved her but her mother was cold to her. She made this opinion about her mother because once her mother had told her that she hater Miriam for looking like her father. Her mother got remarried in the year 1914. By this time she had found solace as she used to play in an abandoned Dutch Cemetery. She used to lie down on the graves and day dream about a million of things. To make her sister Lenore behave, she also became a storyteller, repeating Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven and saying it was named after her. Miriam Cooper said that these things were important to her as it played a great role in her life by having influences on her acting career as well as her Christian faith. She had never intended to be an actress, she always had wanted to become a painter and was trained for that only. For her schooling, she went to the St. Walpurga’s School where the nuns had helped her by arranging her tuition. After she was done with her schooling she attended an art school named the Cooper Union and this time with the help of Parish. When Miriam Cooper got 21, her mother’s friend suggested her to pose for Charles Dana Gibson. It was the first painting known which Gibson had done on oils.

Then one day Miriam Cooper went to Biograph studios suggested by a friend, she wanted to see what they did there. She just saw a flicker which was behind her mother’s back and she did not like it at all. She along with her friend walked up to the stage and watched the full filming of A Blot on Scutcheon. There was one of the assistants on the sets who asked them if they were interested in acting as extras in the film. They were given to choose from the role of a page boy or a scullery maid. Cooper chose to be the scullery maid as she did not want to wear slacks. Her friend turned the opportunity down but Cooper stayed there and acted at the rate of $5 per day. After shooting, Cooper was asked to stay in costume as D. W. Griffith wanted to screen test her.  

Miriam Cooper Career | 50th Anniversary of the American Civil Wars | First Feature Films


After Miriam Cooper played the role of scullery maid with Biograph studios, she never heard a word back from them. She was now very interested in making money and thus she decided to approach Edison Studios and Vitagraph, but to her dismay, she was not chosen. In the year 1912, she was selected by the Kalem Company who had hired her as an extra. Miriam Cooper was making improvement every now and then and as her roles grew she was invited to join them in their stock performance. They were heading to Florida to film there and they invited her to come along. Miriam Cooper was being offered $35 per week and also the price for her expenses was also being paid by the company. At first, she was very much hesitant to confess everything about her career to her family, but then she changed her mind and told them everything. Her family did not approve of her doing that and she decided that she could no longer live that way and announced her plans which made her mother disappointed. 

The shooting of the film took place in Jacksonville, Florida with starring Anna Q. Nilsson and Guy Coombs as the leads. When the 50th anniversary of the American Civil Wars arrived the company had made many civil wars themed shots for which she was required and asked to learn to play drums and ride horseback. Miriam Cooper knew how to swim, so all of her talents were used in these shots. As the time passed by her roles grew in numbers as well as size because now she was an experienced actress and she used to get a lot of favorable reviews as well. She always had felt that her roles were as big as Anna Q. Nilsson she asked the company for a raise. They fired her that weekend and she returned to New York and to art school at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

After Miriam Cooper came back to New York she thought to try once again with Biograph studios. She went to Biograph office every day for one complete week but no one paid attention to what she had to say. One day while she was returning from her school she ran into Christy Cabanne the assistant who gave her, the first job.  He was excited to have found her as Griffith had been looking for her but since she did not have a telephone number they had been unable to find her. On her first day again back at the Biograph office, Griffith had called her five times but he used to send her away each time. Then he called her again a final time when he asked her to rehearse a scene along with Bobby Harron. In that scene, Bobby was supposed to play the role of her sweetheart who was a Confederate going for war. Pleased with what he'd seen, Griffith told her they would leave for California, where he would make a picture about the Civil War. Miriam Cooper would make $35 a week. She began to work on several projects of Reliance Majestic which were completed under the supervision of Griffith. Miriam Cooper acted in his first feature film named Home Sweet Home in 1914. She was gaining a lot of popularity every day and she was given a dressing room along with Mae Marsh. While film for a film with Henry B Walthall she was finding it difficult to work with him as she said he was cold and arrogant. She was also offered the role of the friendless one in Intolerance. 

After Miriam Cooper left working with Griffith she received multiple offers from Jesse Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille. But at that time she wanted to retire and become a good mother and housewife. Walsh also offered her to take a role in the movie The Honor System and he almost pleaded her to take the role. Cooper made $1000 per week working in this film in the role of Edith. The film got amazingly good reviews and after that, she signed a contract for filming with Fox Film Corporation at $1200 per week. She did amazing films like Evangeline and Should a Husband Die? These films made a lot of money. In the year 1920, she did a film named The Oath and that film had received the worst reviews along with worst reviews for her acting as well. This was the very first time in her career that has happened. 

Miriam Cooper Personal Life and Relationship 


Miriam Cooper once said that she got along with Griffith really well and she considered him a perfect gentleman. She also mentioned that at first when they had arrived in California, she misunderstood his mannerism to her insult. But then one day he called her and said that she was The Queen of Sheba and said that this name was stuck in her life for years. She claimed that she never had any romantic relationship with Griffith but she added the fact that once she had tried to kiss her after he drove her home. It happened once that after the shooting of the film Birth of a Nation Cooper’s Train stopped in Chicago and at that time Griffith had telegram her to meet him at his hotel room, but Copper could not reach out to him, so according to Cooper, this had ended the romantic feelings of Griffith for her. 

Then after joining Griffith’s company, Miriam Cooper met Raoul Walsh in the year 1914. It was when Mae Marsh had dumped him; she began to date in 1915. He was an assistant director to Griffith and he had asked Cooper for a favor. He wanted Cooper to talk to Griffith so he could make him the director. And on Cooper’s advice, Griffith did so.  After directing one picture for Griffith, Walsh was signed to Fox Studios which filmed in New York while Cooper still had to film in California. Walsh and Cooper got married in the month of February in 1916 and after her marriage, Miriam Cooper had left Griffith’s Company and she joined Walsh in New York. She had decided to quit her career for a while as she wanted to be a good wife and good mother but she was fed up with her husband’s gambling and cheating. When she suspected him to be cheating her, she gulped a bottle of carbolic acid, and doctors had to pump her stomach to save her. But, unfortunately, Walsh did not change and continued to cheat her all through their marriage. The debts they had were raising every day and she resented to be known as a director’s wife. 

After the filming of Kindred of the Dust, Walsh had confessed that he did not love Cooper anymore. The marriage dragged as the couple blamed each other of cheating. In the year 1925, they finally sorted out their differences and reconciled, but then Cooper again suspected Walsh of cheating her with Ethel Barrymore this time. This was when Cooper tried to threaten him that she would divorce him now but he pleaded in front of her asking for her forgiveness but soon after she found that he had been cheating her with a young society girl who he got engaged to as well. Miriam Cooper filed for a divorce after she found out that he was cheating her with his friend Lorraine Miller. He knew that he would lose his contract with Fox after he got separated from her but this did not change her decision. As Cooper was unable to conceive, so she along with Walsh adopted two boys and named them Jackie and Bobbie. After Walsh and Cooper got separated they had been suing each other constantly and Walsh had made his children do that as well. Miriam Cooper never heard from her sons after her separation from Walsh. 

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