Funny, before my marriage I wasn't too interested in sports. As a kid in Montana, of course, there was riding on the ranch, hunting off the back porch and fishing. But in my early days in Hollywood, I played outdoor roles and was an indoor guy.
Then I met my wife Rocky. She loved sports. Tennis and swimming and skeet. And she taught me that I was missing a part of my life. Since our marriage in 1933, we've kept a kind of balance—so much time for work, so much for pleasure, so much for sports.
Maria came along and learned to swim by the time she could walk. We kept trying new things. The three of us went bowling. We took up golf.
Sometimes I get away from the women to do a little bird shooting. But generally what we do we do together. I don't know what would happen if we were sentenced to stay permanently indoors.
Lately we've been fascinated by Scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) diving. Last summer in the Mediterranean we swam through those clear waters amid wrecks of ancient ships, finding bits of Roman jugs and pottery dating back to 200 B.C. It's a different world down there among the fish.
Naturally because we love sports, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is important around our house. You stand in line to see it. And I'm usually third in line. That's a part of my life too.
Two-time Academy Award winner—for "Sgt. York" and "High Noon"—Cooper is the son of a Montana Supreme Court Justice. He was educated in England and at Grinnell College in Iowa. One of the screen's most versatile actors, he has not only won fame as an outdoor hero, but also in white-tie-and-tails and period costume roles. (And in the famous No. 4 uniform of Lou Gehrig, in "Pride of the Yankees," as well.) Cooper is currently starring in "Man of the West", a Mirisch Company Production for United Artists release.