The Living Dead Wiki
The Living Dead Wiki

Harry Cooper was one of the few people who were trapped by a horde of ghouls in a Pennsylvanian farmhouse during the early stages of the 1968 incident. He is a father, a husband, and served as the minor antagonist of Night of the Living Dead.

Although considered an antagonist; it's debatable whether the characters would have survived the night had they listened to his advice to lock themselves in the basement cellar. Ben would eventually flee there as a last resort. From a certain perspective (particularly Harry's), Ben's ideas and actions resulted in the death of multiple survivors.


Harry is a cautious, anxious, and often selfish man who sees competition as a direct threat to his masculinity. He is accustomed to wielding authority and holds grudges. His wife, Helen suggests Harry is not satisfied with being right but also wants his doubters to be proven wrong. Despite his cowardice and selfishness, Harry shows deep affection for his daughter, Karen.


When the outbreak occurred, Harry, his wife Helen, and their daughter Karen were attacked by a horde of ghouls that overturned their vehicle and bit Karen. They joined with Tom and Judy and hid in the cellar of a Pennsylvanian farmhouse.

When Tom and Harry finally emerge from the cellar, they find two more survivors, Ben and Barbra occupying the house. The survivors immediately disagree on strategy. Harry insists they should barricade themselves in the cellar and wait for help. Ben and Tom disagree, arguing the cellar should be reserved for an emergency retreat.

Harry returns to his wife and daughter in the cellar. After revealing their marital troubles, Helen discovers there is a radio and television upstairs and opts to join the other survivors. The group watches an emergency news broadcast and learn the town of Willard, just seventeen miles away, is being used as a emergency service station. Though Harry disagrees with Ben's plan to re-fuel his truck and escape, he participates by tossing homemade explosive cocktails from the second-floor window as a distraction.

Later, when Ben is almost overwhelmed and tries to get back in, Harry, torn between risking his life to help Ben and leaving Ben to die to save himself, chooses to retreat downstairs and leave Ben to the zombies. However, at that moment, Ben breaks back into the house, and with Harry's help, he locks the hordes out.

However, Ben then viciously attacks and pummels Harry for leaving him to die and threatens to feed him to the zombie hordes. Later, when the house's power is cut and zombies begin breaking in, rather than help keep the zombies out, Harry grabs Ben's rifle and holds him at gunpoint. He orders Helen to get in the cellar, but while he is distracted, Ben wrestles the gun from Harry and mercilessly shoots him in the stomach.

Harry stumbles downstairs, into the cellar, towards his dead daughter before dying from the gunshot. Karen shortly after reanimated and partially devoured her father's corpse.

After Ben locks himself in the cellar with the dead Harry and Helen, Harry reanimates and is shot several times and killed by Ben.


Harry is shown to be a stubborn, selfish and irrational man. He also took an instant dislike to Ben and twice tried to leave him to die. He also hated being proven wrong, but liked to prove others wrong.