Bradley Cooper was born on January 5, 1975 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother, Gloria Campano, worked for the local NBC affiliate and his father, Charles Cooper, worked as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch.
Cooper was raised in nearby Jenkintown and attended Germantown Academy, a private school in Fort Washington. As a child, Cooper was very interested in film and his idol was Dustin Hoffman. He first realized he wanted to be an actor after seeing Hoffman’s performance in Midnight Cowboy.
College and Graduate School
In 1993, Cooper enrolled at Villanova University to study English. He graduated with honors in 1997 and also played basketball during his time there. However, during his time at Villanova, Cooper appeared in a friend’s production of Waiting for Godot at the Edinburgh Festival which convinced him to pursue acting.
After graduating from Villanova, Cooper enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts program in acting at Actors Studio Drama School at The New School in New York City. He received his Master’s degree in 2000.
Early Career (2000-2008)
After graduating from acting school, Cooper appeared in multiple films, TV series, and plays throughout the early 2000s, mostly in minor or supporting roles. Some notable projects from this period include:
- Sex and the City (HBO series, 2000): Minor role
- Wet Hot American Summer (2001): Supporting role
- I Want to Marry Ryan Banks (ABC sitcom, 2004): Starring role, cancelled after 5 episodes
- Wedding Crashers (2005): Small role alongside Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson
In addition to on-screen roles, Cooper also performed in several stage productions in New York around this time:
- 2002: Lead role in The Understudy at the Williamstown Theatre Festival
- 2006-2007: One of the lead roles in Three Days of Rain on Broadway with Julia Roberts
Breakthrough Role in The Hangover (2009)
Cooper’s big breakthrough came in 2009 when he was cast as Phil Wenneck, one of the three leads, in the hit comedy The Hangover. The film was a massive critical and commercial success, grossing over $467 million worldwide.
Impact and Accolades of The Hangover
- Highest grossing R-rated comedy ever at the time
- Nominated for Best Ensemble by the Broadcast Film Critics Association
- Nominated for Favorite On Screen Team at the People’s Choice Awards
The success of The Hangover raised Cooper’s profile substantially and allowed him to take on leading man roles in larger studio films.
Dramatic Roles (2011-2014)
Following The Hangover, Cooper consciously worked to transition into more dramatic, complex roles:
|Struggling writer who takes experimental drug that enhances cognitive abilities
|Sci-fi thriller, generally positive reviews
|The Words (2012)
|Struggling writer who plagiarizes work he found in an old manuscript
|Romantic drama with mixed-to-negative reviews
|Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
|Former teacher with bipolar disorder trying to rebuild his life after stint in mental institution
|Romantic comedy/drama; earned Cooper Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor
|American Sniper (2014)
|United States Navy SEAL Chris Kyle
|Biographical war drama directed by Clint Eastwood; nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture
This demonstrated Cooper’s range and depth as an actor and marked his transition from comedy to more serious roles.
Commercial Success (2015-present)
In the mid 2010s, Cooper starred in several major commercial hits cementing his status as a bankable movie star.
American Hustle & Guardians of the Galaxy
In 2013, Cooper reprised his comedic role of Phil Wenneck in the hugely successful sequel The Hangover Part III. That same year, he starred opposite Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams in the crime dramedy American Hustle which grossed over $250 million and earned 10 Academy Award nominations.
The following year, Cooper voiced the wisecracking role of Rocket Raccoon in the Marvel Studios blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy which also starred Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana. The film grossed $773 million worldwide, demonstrating Cooper’s ability to succeed in major tentpole films.
Table: Career-Defining Films
|Box Office Gross
|Silver Linings Playbook
|Guardians of the Galaxy
A Star is Born
In 2018, Cooper directed, co-wrote, produced and starred as the lead role of musician Jack in the musical romantic drama A Star Is Born opposite pop star Lady Gaga. His directing work earned strong critical acclaim and the soundtrack for the film, curated by Cooper and Gaga, went triple platinum with several hit singles.
A Star Is Born marked the high point of Cooper’s career so far both creatively and commercially, earning 8 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor for Cooper and Best Actress for Gaga. It grossed over $435 million worldwide.
Throughout his acting career, Cooper has had several high-profile relationships but is currently unmarried:
- 2000-2008: Relationship & engagement to actress Jennifer Esposito
- Late 2000s: Brief relationships with actresses Renée Zellweger and Jennifer Lopez
- 2011-2019: Longterm relationship & daughter with Russian model Irina Shayk
Outside of acting, Cooper has been involved in supporting several charitable causes especially related to veterans and mental health awareness. He also speaks fluent French which he became fluent in from an exchange program.
In summary, Bradley Cooper has transitioned from early minor roles into one of Hollywood’s most popular and acclaimed leading men known for his versatility across comedy, drama and action films. Key projects like The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook and notably A Star Is Born represent the highlights of his career so far as actor, producer and director. With 8 Academy Award nominations and consistent box office success over the past decade, Cooper shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Going forward, he plans to focus heavily into working behind the camera – writing, directing and producing more of his own films after the success of A Star Is Born. At 45 years old, Cooper remains at the top of his game and will likely continue taking on compelling, complex big screen roles that showcase his impressive range and talent as a modern movie star.
FAQs About Bradley Cooper
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Bradley Cooper’s life and career:
How tall is Bradley Cooper?
Bradley Cooper is 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall.
What color are Bradley Cooper’s eyes?
Cooper has blue eyes.
Does Bradley Cooper sing in A Star Is Born?
Yes, Cooper sang live in all the musical performances in A Star Is Born. He underwent extensive vocal training with a vocal coach to prepare for the role even though he did not have significant singing experience prior.
Does Bradley Cooper have an Oscar?
No, despite three nominations (Best Actor for Silver Linings Playbook and A Star Is Born, Best Picture for Joker as producer), Cooper has not won an Academy Award yet in his career.
How much money does Bradley Cooper make per movie?
In recent years since 2015, Cooper has typically earned between $10-$20 million in base salary per movie, plus backend profits from box office grosses. At his peak, he can earn $30 million or more for major films he produces/directs.