Can you believe that Gary Cooper died nearly 50 years ago?! It seems impossible to me that he's been gone so long -- he was born 105 years ago yesterday, and died at the early age of 60. The fact that he was gone before I was even born probably goes a long way towards explaining why he seems so distant to me -- I'm one of those people who looks at old stars with an embarrassing devotion, but for some reason Cooper's always been in a different category for me than other favorites like Cary Grant and Gregory Peck. While there's something familiar and accessible about those two, Cooper has an aloofness to him, like he's on a different plane than the rest of us. Though, intellectually, I know that not everything he did was serious, I can't help but think of him in films like Meet John Doe, and High Noon and The Pride of the Yankees -- roles with such gravity that he seems almost unreachable, so somber is his life.

If you need a Cooper fix (Really, who doesn't?), Vera Cruz is all over the various Showtimes this month, and Turner Classic Movies will be showing both Sergeant York and A Farewell to Arms (speaking of serious) on May 27.