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Ben Cooper, a Western film icon’s death, 86

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Ben Cooper, Western movie actor, best known for his role as a bandit in Turkey Ralston in “Johnny Guitar,” and a host of other projects for the big and small screens, has died. He was 86.

Cooper died Monday in a Memphis, Tenn., after a long battle with illness, his nephew, Pete Searls, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

Was born on Sept. 30, 1933, in Hartford, Conn., The Cooper cut his chops to act, in the period comedy “Life With Father” on Broadway in March 1942, where he remained for seven years, two of the family’s four sons-all over the period of time.

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Actor Ben Cooper is living in a Boomtown party on May 20, 1956, At Ciro’s in Los Angeles, California, usa. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Dressing Archives/Getty Images)

“I was in the right size, and I looked to the right, and I was very polite, and I know that all [the script],” he said in an undated interview, filmed at the Museum of Western film history in Lone Pine, Calif. “It was as simple as that.”

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For the ambitious performer went to the campus of Columbia University, and worked in live television before making his film debut, and with it, had an uncredited part in Anthony Mann-directed noir flick “street” in the 1950’s.

With nearly one hundred titles to his name, including the “Duel at the Comanche Park” in 1963 and “the Arizona Raiders” in 1965, and the fresh-faced, Cooper has thrived in the Western genre for more than 20 years of age.

Cooper said that he was built to be a cowboy since he was a youngster.

Bonanza “Showdown” part 1. (l-r) Ben Cooper as Sam Kirby, Jody Warner as Ellie McClure. Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

“They let me in to play cowboy, and they paid me [for],” he said. “I would have ridden horses, I’ve got my own horse when I was 12. I used to have to jump on him bareback. I didn’t know they had stunt men; and I would be watching a movie and then to practice it on my horse until I was able to do [the stunt].”

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Well-known for its gun-wielding efforts, Cooper said he has practiced the art of the quick draw 90 minutes a day for the next four years to be a master of the craft.

Cooper is survived by his daughter, Pamela; and his sister, Bunny.

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Reps for Cooper, does not immediately react to Fox News’ request for comment.

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