He was the son of the silent era cinematographer Douglas Percival Cooper. His early career included Green for Danger (1946) and London Belongs to Me (1948) for producer-director team Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, Stage Fright (1950) for Alfred Hitchcock, and Undercover (1943) for Ealing Studios. He worked with Jack Cardiff on Web of Evidence (1956), a thriller starring Van Johnson and Vera Miles and worked with J. Lee Thompson on the Wernher von Braun biopic I Aim at the Stars (1960). He co-produced Sea of Sand (1958) with Monty Berman.
He forged a partnership with special effects maestro Ray Harryhausen in later years, photographing several of his productions, including The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and First Men in the Moon (1964).
Cooper retired in 1972. He was married to actress Peggy Bryan, whom he outlived.
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