Chris Cooper

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Chris Cooper
Chris Cooper at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Cooper at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Born Christopher Walton Cooper
(1951-07-09) July 9, 1951 (age 65)
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Alma mater University of Missouri
Occupation Actor
Years active 1987–present
Spouse(s) Marianne Leone (m. 1983)
Children 1

Christopher Walton "Chris" Cooper[1] (born July 9, 1951) is an American film actor. He became well known in the late 1980s. He has appeared in supporting performances in several major Hollywood films, including the drama American Beauty (1999), the biopic about a NASA engineer titled October Sky (1999), the action spy film The Bourne Identity (2002), the biographical sports psychological-drama thriller film Seabiscuit (2003), the biographical film about Truman Capote, Capote (2005), the geopolitical thriller Syriana (2005), the action-thriller The Kingdom (2007), the crime drama The Town (2010), and the musical comedy film The Muppets (2011). He also portrayed Sheriff July Johnson in the legendary miniseries "Lonesome Dove", which became the most successful Western of all time.

Cooper won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the comedy-drama metafilm Adaptation (2002). He played a lead role in the historical and political thriller Breach (2007), playing FBI agent and traitor Robert Hanssen. He played Daniel Sloan in the 2012 political action thriller The Company You Keep, and supervillain Norman Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014). He also portrayed Al Templeton on the 2016 Hulu miniseries 11.22.63.

He is a frequent collaborator with director John Sayles, including Matewan (1987), City of Hope (1991), Lone Star (1996), Silver City (2004) and Amigo (2010).

Early life[edit]

Cooper was born on July 9, 1951 in Kansas City, Missouri to Charles and Mary Ann Cooper (December 31, 1925 - January 25, 2015).[1][2] He has an older brother, Chuck Cooper (born 1948).[3] His father was both a United States Air Force doctor and a cattleman and his mother was a housewife.[4][5][6] Both of his parents were from Texas.[4] Cooper grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City and spent his summers at his family's cattle ranch, located about 15 miles west of Leavenworth, Kansas.[4][6] He was also raised in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Houston.[7] While attending high school in Kansas City, Cooper worked for a local theater company: "I had a background in carpentry, so I could build sets and work in the wings and shift scenes in the evening."[8] After he graduated high school, Cooper became the shop foreman for another repertory group.[8] He also considered helping his father raise cattle for a living.[6] Cooper avoided getting drafted to serve in the Vietnam War following a stint in the Missouri River Coast Guard.[4][9]

Cooper attended the University of Missouri-Columbia and enrolled in the theater program, originally majoring in set design.[4][8] It was during his sophomore year when Cooper changed his major to acting in order to overcome his "overpowering shyness."[4] Cooper therefore took acting classes at the University of Missouri.[6] He recalled in a 1996 interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, "I started going in and watching some shows at the theater department. I started taking theater classes and auditioned for plays. And once I got into it, it was pretty immediate. I really felt right, felt at home."[8] Cooper also took dance classes at Stephens College.[5][9]

After he graduated from the University of Missouri, Cooper moved to New York City in 1976.[5][10] While living in New York, Cooper shared a one-bedroom railroad flat with four other aspiring actors and dancers.[4] He supported himself by renovating apartments.[4] In addition, he worked in construction and served as a janitor and a chauffeur.[5] At the same time, he studied with Stella Adler and Wynn Handman.[4][5][8] Prior to his film debut with Matewan (1987), Cooper spent the previous twelve years doing stage work with the Actors Theater of Louisville and the Seattle Repertory.[5][6] In 1985, Cooper appeared in the London revival of Sweet Bird of Youth.[10]

Career[edit]

Cooper's early performances include John Sayles' 1987 film Matewan; the 1989 CBS-TV Western miniseries Lonesome Dove; the 1991 indie Western drama Thousand Pieces of Gold, and the 1992 ABC-TV docudrama Bed of Lies, opposite Susan Dey.

Some of his more notable later performances include: Money Train, as a psychotic pyromaniac who terrifies toll booth operators; Lone Star, in a rare leading role as a Texas sheriff charged with solving a decades-old case; as Deputy Dwayne Looney in director Joel Schumacher's 1996 film A Time to Kill (based on the John Grisham novel); as Frank Booker in 1998's The Horse Whisperer; and as a homophobic Marine Corps colonel in American Beauty, a role that garnered him a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. To get into character, Cooper said he "depended on a friend who’d fought in Vietnam. I asked him to go deep. What would this man have done? What would be on his walls? On his desk?"[11]

In 2000, Cooper played Colonel Harry Burwell (inspired by "Lighthorse Harry" Lee) in The Patriot. He was nominated for another Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA Award, and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe Award in 2003 for playing the role of John Laroche in Adaptation. In 2002, Cooper also appeared in The Bourne Identity as a ruthless CIA special ops director, a role he reprised (in flashbacks) in The Bourne Supremacy.

Cooper received another Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his supporting role as racehorse trainer Tom Smith in 2003's Seabiscuit. In 2004, Cooper starred in Silver City, playing an inept Republican gubernatorial candidate, a character noted for similarities to U.S. President George W. Bush.

Cooper appeared in three acclaimed films in 2005: Jarhead (which reunited him with American Beauty director Sam Mendes and October Sky actor Jake Gyllenhaal); Capote; and Syriana. He also acted in the thriller Breach, playing real-life FBI agent and traitor Robert Hanssen. Cooper commented that Breach was "the first studio film where they've considered me the lead [actor]". In 2007, he appeared as a government agent in dangerous territory in the action thriller The Kingdom and voiced the character Douglas in the film adaptation of Maurice Sendak's book, Where the Wild Things Are (2009).

At the 2010 Sundance film festival, Cooper appeared alongside Ben Affleck in the drama, The Company Men, early reviews of which praised Cooper's performance as "pitch-perfect".[12]

In 2015, he starred in the short play Bite the Hand by Ara Watson, for Playing On Air, a non-profit organization that “records short plays [for public radio and podcast] written by top playwrights and performed by outstanding actors.”[13][14]

Cooper portrayed Norman Osborn in the 2014 film The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in an uncredited role. He will appear in Ben Affleck's crime drama Live by Night, scheduled for release in October 2017.

Personal life[edit]

Cooper and wife Marianne Leone Cooper, April 2007

Cooper met his future wife, Marianne Leone, in 1979 at an acting class in New York City.[3][4][8] On their first date, she helped him carry sheet rock up eight flights of stairs: "That's when I knew this was the girl for me."[4] They married in July 1983.[2][3] Their son, Jesse Lanier Cooper,[15] was born three months prematurely on October 1987.[16] Three days after he was born, Jesse suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and developed cerebral palsy.[6][16][17] Jesse was eventually mainstreamed into Silver Lake Regional High School, where he became an honor student.[15][16] Cooper recalled in a 2003 interview with The Morning Call, "(Jesse) is the best thing that ever happened to us. He's in a wheelchair and he communicates only by computer, but he's taught me so much because he's just so incredibly focused. Now he's in a regular school, which we fought to get him into. He's an honors student, and he's doing great."[6] On January 3, 2005, Jesse Cooper died suddenly and unexpectedly from epilepsy.[15][16] A memorial fund was set up in his name, the Jesse Cooper Foundation.[18] The death of his son has somewhat helped Cooper understand the characters he played following such as Charles Aiken in August: Osage County (2013)[19] and Phil Eastwood in Demolition (2015).[20]

Cooper formerly maintained residences in Hoboken, New Jersey and Plymouth, Massachusetts.[8] As of 2003, he currently resides in Kingston, Massachusetts.[21][22] He has been close friends with frequent collaborator John Sayles since 1985.[8][23] On May 14, 2016, Cooper received an honorary doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.[24]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1987 Matewan Joe Kenehan
1991 Guilty by Suspicion Larry Nolan
1991 Thousand Pieces of Gold Charlie
1991 City of Hope Riggs
1993 This Boy's Life Roy
1995 Pharaoh's Army Captain John Hull Abston
1995 Money Train Torch
1996 Boys John Baker
1996 Lone Star Sam Deeds Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
1996 A Time to Kill Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney
1997 Breast Men Dr. William Larson
1998 Great Expectations Joe
1998 The Horse Whisperer Frank Booker
1999 The 24 Hour Woman Ron Hacksby
1999 October Sky John Hickam
1999 American Beauty Colonel Frank Fitts, USMC Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
2000 Me, Myself & Irene Lieutenant Gerke
2000 The Patriot Colonel Harry Burwell
2002 Interstate 60 Bob Cody
2002 The Bourne Identity Alexander Conklin
2002 Adaptation. John Laroche Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Village Voice Film Poll for Best Supporting Performance
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
2003 Seabiscuit Tom Smith Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2004 Silver City Richard "Dicky" Pilager
2004 The Bourne Supremacy Alexander Conklin
2005 Capote Alvin Dewey Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2005 Jarhead Lt. Col. Kazinski
2005 Syriana Jimmy Pope
2007 Breach Robert Hanssen
2007 The Kingdom Grant Sykes
2007 Married Life Harry Allen
2009 New York, I Love You Alex Simmons
2009 Where the Wild Things Are Douglas (voice)
2010 The Tempest Antonio
2010 The Company Men Phil Woodward Nominated – Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
2010 Remember Me Neil Craig
2010 Amigo Colonel Hardacre
2010 The Town Stephen MacRay National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
2010 Bloom: the Plight of Lake Champlain Narrator Documentary (2011 New England Emmy Award, Environmental Program)
2011 The Muppets Tex Richman
2012 The Company You Keep Daniel Sloan
2012 Bloom: the Emergence of Ecological Design Narrator Documentary 3-part series (2013 New England Emmy Award, Environmental Program)
2013 August: Osage County Charles Aiken AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Award for Best Supporting Actor
Capri Ensemble Cast Award
Hollywood Film Award for Ensemble of the Year
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Norman Osborn Uncredited
2015 Demolition Phil
2015 Coming Through the Rye J.D. Salinger
2016 Live by Night Irving Figgis Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1987 The Equalizer Michael Episode: "The Rehearsal"
1988 American Playhouse Louis Halladay Episode: '"Journey Into Genius'"
1988 Miami Vice Jimmy Yagovitch Episode: '"Mirror Image'"
1989 Lonesome Dove July Johnson Miniseries
1990 Lifestories Mr. Hawkins Episode: '"The Hawkins Family'"
1991 In Broad Daylight Frank Wiliker Television film
1991 Darrow Eugene Debs Television film
1992 Bed of Lies Price Daniel, Jr. Television film
1992 Ned Blessing: The True Story of My Life Anthony Blessing Television film
1994 One More Mountain James Reed Television film
1996 Law & Order Roy Payne Episode: "Blood Libel"
2003 My House in Umbria Thomas Riversmith Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2008 American Experience Walt Whitman Documentary
2016 11.22.63 Al Templeton Miniseries

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Mary Ann Walton Cooper 1925 - 2015 Obituary". Muehlebach Funeral Care. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Chris Cooper Biography (1951-)". Film Reference. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Chris Cooper". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ryan, James (30 June 1996). "Mr. 'Last-Minute' Gets a Plum Role". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Dutka, Elaine (3 January 2003). "For this role, Cooper was willing to adapt (Part 2 of 2)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Longsdorf, Amy (26 July 2003). "Like Seabiscuit, Oscar winner Chris Cooper beats the odds". The Morning Call. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Ivry, Bob (10 March 1999). "Chris Cooper's New Role". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Rea, Steven (15 July 1996). "From Actor, Echoes Of Another Cooper Chris Cooper Isn't Related To Gary, But The Star Of `Lone Star' Has A Similar Presence.". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  9. ^ a b Pringle, Gill (17 August 2007). "Chris Cooper: The man who played a patriot in American Beauty is now turning traitor in Breach". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Blau, Eleanor (4 September 1987). "NEW FACE; FINDING A PERFECT FIT IN A ROLE IN 'MATEWAN'". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  11. ^ "In Step With: Chris Cooper". Parade Magazine. October 24, 2004. 
  12. ^ Aaron Peck (January 24, 2010). "Review: The Company Men – Sundance Film Festival". film.com. Archived from the original on January 31, 2010. 
  13. ^ Mogol, Allen (2015-02-23). "Broadway Direct". broadwaydirect.com. Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  14. ^ PlayingOnAir (2015-06-22). "New Podcast! BITE THE HAND by Ara Watson". Playing On Air. Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  15. ^ a b c "Son of actor Chris Cooper dead at 17 in Kingston". The Boston Globe. 5 January 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  16. ^ a b c d Lehner, Marla (6 January 2005). "Oscar Winner Chris Cooper's Son Dies at 17". People (magazine). Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  17. ^ Oney, Steve (16 September 2010). "Book review: 'Knowing Jesse' by Marianne Leone". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  18. ^ "Jesse Lanier Cooper memorial". Variety (magazine). 5 January 2005. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  19. ^ "Chris Cooper Brings A Lifetime Of Experience To 'August: Osage County'". WBUR-FM. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  20. ^ Shanahan, Mark (1 April 2016). "For Chris Cooper, a study in grief". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  21. ^ "Chris Cooper gives 'Seabiscuit' the silent treatment". The Augusta Chronicle. 28 July 2003. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  22. ^ Shanahan, Mark; Goldstein, Meredith (6 November 2014). "Chris Cooper to play J.D. Salinger". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  23. ^ Moore, Roger (7 April 2008). "Chris Cooper: One tough character". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  24. ^ "Actor Chris Cooper honored at UMass Lowell". WHDH (TV). 14 May 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 

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