Friday, October 22, 2010


One last story about that episode of 'The Andy Griffith Show'.....

In the episode "Mayberry Goes Hollywood" Barney tells Andy about somebody in town named Gordon Bellfield, who went out to Hollywood in the summer of 1960. Gordon traveled on a tour bus to see the stars' homes, and it stopped outside of Gary Cooper's house.

Gordon and the other passengers got out and went up to Cooper's porch, where the daily paper was still lying on the ground. The lady who sat next to Gordon on the bus bent down to pick it up but that's when Gary Cooper's maid came out. She told them to get off the grass and they all skedaddled back onto the bus.

In April of 1960, Gary Cooper had surgery for prostate cancer, but by that point it had already spread to his colon. Soon after, he developed cancer in his lungs and bones.

So when Gordon and those other tourists were gathered outside his house, the star of "High Noon" was probably inside in very poor health. I'm surprised the maid didn't chase them off with a much sterner warning. Or a broom.

When Barney related that story, it was January of 1961. By April of that year, the news had been made public, mostly due to Jimmy Stewart's emotional speech when he accepted an honorary Oscar for his friend.

On May 13, 1961, Gary Cooper passed away.

[The picture is from Gary Cooper's last visit home to Helena, Montana, in 1960.]


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