Chris Cooper Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (4)  | Trivia (19)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (2)

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Christopher Walton Cooper was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Mary Ann (Walton), a homemaker, and Charles Sherwood Cooper, a cattleman and internist who served as a doctor in the US Air Force. His parents were from Texas, where Cooper was raised.

Educated at the University of Missouri school of drama, Cooper appeared on Broadway in "Of the Fields Lately (1980)", and off-Broadway in "The Ballad of Soapy Smith (1983)" and "A Different Moon (1983)". He debuted in films in the John Sayles movie Matewan (1987). Although his performance was well received, the picture was not successful. Other films he has appeared in include Guilty by Suspicion (1991), Money Train (1995) and A Time to Kill (1996). On television, Cooper has been featured in the mini-series Lonesome Dove (1989) and Return to Lonesome Dove (1993), as July Johnson. He has also appeared in a number of television movies. In 1996, he starred in his third John Sayles movie, Lone Star (1996), where he plays Sam Deeds, the sheriff whose lawman father becomes a posthumous suspect in a murder investigation.

Cooper married actress/producer/scriptwriter Marianne Leone on July 8, 1983. They have one child, a son Jesse, who died on January 3, 2005 at the age of 17, of natural causes related to cerebral palsy. Jesse Cooper inspired his mother to author the script for the film "Conquistadora." It relates the true story of Mary Somoza, the mother of twins with cerebral palsy, who fought the educational system to provide the best education possible for her children.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com> and Carlie Lawson

Family (3)

Spouse Marianne Leone (8 July 1983 - present)  (1 child)
Children Jesse
Jesse Cooper
Parents Mary Ann Cooper (Walton)
Charles Sherwood Cooper

Trade Mark (4)

Usually plays characters that are associated with the government (including the military), politics, or agencies. See: The Bourne Identity (2002), Silver City (2004), Syriana (2005), Me, Myself & Irene (2000), Jarhead (2005), The Patriot (2000), American Beauty (1999), Breach (2007).
Deep gravelly voice
Intense understated performances
Frequently cast by John Sayles.

Trivia (19)

Lives in Kingston, Massachusetts, USA.
Filmed scenes for The Ring (2002) that were cut, though a picture of him in a newspaper remains in the film.
Son, Jesse Cooper (with Leone), born 1987, died January 2005 from causes related to cerebral palsy.
Studied ballet at Stephens College in Columbia.
He majored in agriculture and acting at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
Turned down the role of Jim Gordon in Batman Begins (2005).
As a young man, he did some construction work, including helping with the construction of Royals Stadium in Kansas City, now known as Kaufman Stadium.
Graduated from Southwest High School in 1969. Southwest High School closed down in 1998 and reopened in 1999 as Southwest Charter School. Southwest High School is located in the Kansas City, Missouri School District.
Said he was afraid of taking the role in American Beauty (1999); his wife convinced him to take the role of the repressed soldier.
His parents were from Texas. His mother, Mary Ann (Walton), was a homemaker, and his father, Charles Sherwood Cooper, was an internist who served as a doctor in the US Air Force, and a cattleman.
Older brother, Chuck Cooper (born in 1948), is a contractor.
His first foray into acting came when he was drafted from the set-builder ranks of his local community theater to serve as a last-minute substitute for Tom Berenger in a production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" as the paper boy.
One of his first notable roles was in Lonesome Dove (1989), in which he worked opposite Anjelica Huston. In The Kingdom (2007), he appears with her brother Danny Huston, as well as Jennifer Garner, who played Anjelica's character in the Lonesome Dove prequel Dead Man's Walk (1996).
As of 2022, has appeared in four films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: American Beauty (1999), Seabiscuit (2003), Capote (2005), and Little Women (2019). American Beauty (1999) won in the category.
Did not make his first screen appearance until he was thirty-six years old.
He filmed a few scenes in Her (2013), which would reunite him with Spike Jonze right after their successful partnership in Adaptation. (2002), but his part was deleted from the final film.
He spent a year in Kansas City helping to build the football and baseball stadium in 1970.
While under going acting training in New York he spent his spare time restoring apartments.
His father had a cattle ranch in Kansas.

Personal Quotes (6)

(On landing his role in Matewan) That was my first feature film, but it came in kind of an interesting way. My wife [Marianne] was also an actor. When we were living in New York, she answered a backstage ad for an NYU student's film, and that turned out to be Nancy Savoca. So Marianne did Nancy's half-hour junior black-and-white piece. Then she and Nancy and Rich, Nancy's husband-we all four became real good friends from that experience. Then Nancy worked on Brother From Another Planet when John [Sayles] was shooting that. And she was aware that John beforehand had lost financing. He wanted to do Matewan, but lost the financing, so he went on to do Brother From Another Planet. So Nancy gave John my name, and said, "When the time comes for Matewan, take a look at this guy." So that's kind of how that came about. It was an audition in midtown. I went up and read a couple of scenes. And then some months passed. I went to London to do a West End production with Harold Pinter-it was a Tennessee Williams play, Sweet Bird Of Youth, directed by Harold Pinter and starring Lauren Bacall. So in the seven months that I was over in England, news came. I got a callback to read some more scenes. So we did the Sunday matinée, and I had to get on a plane, fly to the States, do the audition, get back on the plane, fly back for Tuesday night's performance. I had virtually noooo sleep. I was really on a high just in anticipation of the audition. And then during that Tuesday-night performance, I came really, really close to fainting onstage because I was so tuckered.
(On Money Train) We had just moved to Kingston, I think in '94. I think I had gone into New York and auditioned for one or two characters in that script, and we bought this little house here that we still live in. And financially, we had no business buying this house. We were scared to death. So it was an opportunity to make some money and do another film role, and it's something I thought would be very challenging. It turned out to be... Certainly not a pleasant character. Sometimes you go into those dark areas, and that's what you're called to do. It was a pretty wicked, awful character, considering what he did. I just really can't say that was an enjoyable role. It was more of an opportunity, and kind of survival. Something for a number of reasons that I just had to do.
(On Adaptation) The audition I did was very, very unusual, in that when I read the script, I just saw so many possibilities and ways to play a scene. If you're not familiar with the audition process-you're lucky if you get a second reading of the character. I went to the audition and pleaded with Spike to please allow me to show him four or five interpretations of a scene. And he let me do that. We did four, possibly five scenes where I showed him different ways I thought this could be played. Then once I was cast, and we were shooting the film, when the finished product came out, that's how Spike directed me. He would say in a particular scene, "Okay, here you are picking up Susan Orlean at her hotel, and you're going into the Everglades or whatever. Okay, on first meeting her, you could be terribly intimidated. Here you are, this Florida redneck cracker meeting this intellectual New York journalist, and you're completely intimidated. Okay, now play it like you're the smartest guy in the world, and she's lucky to have this time to spend with you. So you're very confident." So on and so forth. So we'd play all those different variations, and then when it came to editing the film, it was up to Spike to choose what take he wanted. And that became a real surprise to me at the premiere when I saw the film, because I didn't know what take he was going to use.
(On landing Lonesome Dove) It's a mystery-I know they auditioned a lot of folks in L.A., and if I remember correctly, they had a handful of actors they were going to read in New York. And why or how I got the opportunity to audition for Lonesome Dove, I have no idea. But I knew that character of July Johnson was just-seemed to fit me like a glove. And I worked my tail off on that audition. And also, somehow, somewhere getting the news that the director felt pretty sure he had cast the role of July Johnson, that just spurred me on to try and give the best audition I could ever give at that time. And I guess it worked out.
(On his role in The Town) It's like one scene. But a great scene, I think. This is a great adaptation from a Chuck Hogan book called Prince Of Thieves. I play Ben Affleck's father, who is doing five life terms for a Brinks heist that I committed and killed a couple of the guards. But this story is generational. It's thieves who pass down their triumphs and mistakes to the next generation, so that they don't make the same mistake that the previous-like I had made. So Ben is visiting me in Walpole Prison. We spent just a great day with this prison visit scene. And Ben was kind enough to assemble 13 minutes of film that involved every reference to my character before my scene, so I could see how other people saw him before I played him.
The Bourne Identity. It's pretty amazing. I had the Bourne script for a good month and a half, and I knew I was going to Prague to shoot my segment of the film. So two weeks before I'm off to Prague, I get a call from the production company, and they say "Look, forget the script. We've got a lot of re-writing to do, and we'll send you a script as soon as we can." So a week goes by, and I'm getting pretty freaked out, because here I am, and I don't know what the heck I'm going to do. And I'm not a quick line-reader. I don't learn lines real quickly. So a week went by, and it's a week before I go to Prague, and I get another script. I no sooner set that script down, than within an hour, production's calling saying "Forget that script. We're still in re-writes. We'll send you something as soon as we can." I flew to Prague without a script. I didn't know what the heck I was going to do. I think it's fair to say-I think it's been out in the atmosphere enough that people know that's just how the shoot went. And I think it's kind of how the second shoot went. We were working 12-14-hour days, and then I would find myself hanging around the set for another hour asking anybody, "Do we have pages for tomorrow?" And it was a great, great example of finding that survival gear. I mean literally, that gear to work in that kind of situation. All those guys, that support team that I had around me while we were tracking down Bourne, we'd get these pages of technical jargon, and we'd have to go off to a quiet corner for a half-hour and just jam and learn these scenes and make them look interesting, and make them look like we knew what we were talking about. So that was quite an experience. Boy, somebody was watching out for me, because at the same time, I'm going through jet-lag, and doing a lot of physical scene work, and I would get maybe four hours of sleep a night. And I'm just so surprised it went as well as it did.

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