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Chris Cooper (1951)

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Christopher W. "Chris" Cooper is an American film actor. He became well known in the late 1990s. He has appeared in supporting performances in several major Hollywood films, including The Bourne Identity, American Beauty, Capote, The Town, The Kingdom, Syriana, October Sky, Seabiscuit, and Adaptation, for which he won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor.


 early life
Cooper was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Mary Ann, a homemaker, and Charles Cooper, who served as a doctor in the United States Air Force and operated a cattle ranch. He has an older brother, Chuck, and grew up as a self-described "blue-collar cowpoke" in Houston, Texas, and Kansas City. During his time in Kansas City, Cooper performed with The Barn Players, a local community theater that has operated since 1955. He went on to serve in the United States Coast Guard Reserve. He attended Stephens College, where he studied ballet, and then the University of Missouri, where he double-majored in the school of Agriculture and the school of Drama. After graduation, Cooper moved to New York City to pursue an acting career.

Cooper's early performances include Matewan, the 1987 picture by John Sayles; the 1989 miniseries Lonesome Dove; and the 1990 picture Thousand Pieces of Gold, which is based on the novel of the same title, and 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 ; 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?"

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 The Bourne Supremacy. He received another Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his supporting role as racehorse trainer Tom Smith in Seabiscuit.

Cooper has played his share of low-key heroic and non-heroic types. In 2005, for example, he starred in Silver City, playing an inept Republican gubernatorial candidate, a character noted for similarities to U.S. President George W. Bush.

Cooper was generally busy in 2005, appearing in three acclaimed films: Jarhead ;
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 ". In 2007, he appeared as a government agent in dangerous territory in the action thriller The Kingdom and most recently voiced the character Douglas in the film adaptation of Maurice Sendak's book, Where the Wild Things Are .

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

 personal life
Cooper resides in Kingston, Massachusetts, with his wife, Marianne Leone Cooper, whom he married in 1983. In 1987, their son Jesse Lanier Cooper was born. Three months premature, Jesse developed a cerebral hemorrhage and cerebral palsy. After searching for the best schools for children with special needs, Cooper and Leone moved to Kingston, where they became strong advocates for exceptional children. Jesse was eventually mainstreamed into Silver Lake Regional High School, where he became an honor student. On January 3, 2005, Jesse Cooper died from SUDEP. A memorial fund was set up in his name, the Jesse Cooper Foundation.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Chris Cooper", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.