Bradley Cooper

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Bradley Charles Cooper was born January 5, 1975 and is an American actor and filmmaker.

Cooper was born on January 5, 1975, in Philadelphia, and grew up in the nearby communities of Jenkintown and Rydal.

His mother, Gloria (née Campano), worked for the local NBC affiliate. His father, Charles Cooper, worked as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch. Cooper’s father was of Irish descent, while his mother is of Italian ancestry (from Abruzzo and Naples). He has an older sister, Holly.He had cholesteatoma in his ear soon after his birth, and punctured his eardrum when he started diving at an early age. 

He initially wanted to attend Valley Forge Military Academy and move to Japan to become a ninja. At an early age, his father introduced him to films like The Elephant Man, which inspired him to be an actor. Cooper says that his parents were initially apprehensive of his career choice, but they eventually changed their perceptions when they saw Cooper play the part of Joseph Merrick in an excerpt from the play The Elephant Man

While attending Germantown Academy, he worked at the Philadelphia Daily News. After graduating from high school in 1993, Cooper attended Villanova University for one year before transferring to Georgetown University. Cooper graduated with honors from Georgetown in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He was a member of the Georgetown Hoyas rowing team and acted with Nomadic Theatre. While at Georgetown, Cooper became fluent in French and spent six months as an exchange student in Aix-en-Provence, France. In his television debut, Sex and the City in 1999, he made a brief appearance opposite Sarah Jessica Parker. Cooper later served as a presenter on the tourism series Globe Trekker (2000), which took him to such places as Peru and Croatia, and had a recurring role in the short-lived series The Street.

Cooper had been interested in a career in diplomacy when he auditioned for the master class graduate degree at the Actors Studio and was selected by James Lipton. In 2000, he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in acting from the Actors Studio Drama School at The New School in New York City. There, he trained with the coach Elizabeth Kemp. She advised him on many of his films. While studying in New York City, Cooper worked as a doorman at the Morgans Hotel, and briefly interacted with Robert de Niro and Sean Penn in question-and-answer master class sessions, which were later featured episodes of Inside the Actors Studio.

Cooper’s cinematic debut came in the ensemble comedy Wet Hot American Summer (2001), a film that takes place at a fictional summer camp in 1981. He played Ben, a counselor and the love interest of Michael Ian Black’s character. Although the film was critically and commercially unsuccessful, it has developed a cult status over the years. Cooper reprised the role in the film’s prequel Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015), an eight-episode Netflix series.

He first gained recognition as Will Tippin in the spy-action television show Alias (2001–2006), and achieved minor success with a supporting part in the comedy film Wedding Crashers (2005). His breakthrough role came in 2009 with The Hangover, a critically and commercially successful comedy, which spawned two sequels in 2011 and 2013. Cooper’s portrayal of a struggling writer in the thriller Limitless (2011) and a rookie police officer in the crime drama The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) drew praise from critics.

Cooper found greater success with the romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook (2012), the black comedy American Hustle (2013), and the war biopic American Sniper (2014), which he also produced. In 2014, he portrayed Joseph Merrick in a Broadway revival of The Elephant Man, garnering a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play, and began voicing Rocket Raccoon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In 2018, Cooper produced, wrote, directed and starred in a remake of the musical romance A Star Is Born. He gained another Academy Award nomination for producing Joker (2019).

Cooper supports organizations that help fight cancer. In June 2014, he joined the board of directors for the charity Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a non-profit organization that serves people coping with cancer. In April 2016, he participated in the launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy that works for cancer patients. He served as an executive producer for Stand Up to Cancer’s Fifth Biennial Telecast, a primetime fundraising special that aired in September. 

In 2009, Cooper took part in an Alzheimer’s Association campaign that aimed to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. He is also one of the members of the Alzheimer’s Association Celebrity Champions, an initiative launched for a similar purpose. In 2015, Cooper spoke at The National Geographic Society for the group Got Your 6 to help ensure military veterans are better represented in popular culture. 

Cooper has abstained from alcohol since 2004, remarking that it would have destroyed his life.