Christopher W. "Chris" Cooper (born July 9, 1951) 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, Breach, The Muppets and Adaptation, for which he won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor.
He played Daniel Sloan in the 2012 film The Company You Keep, and Norman Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014).
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 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?
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 suddenly and unexpectedly from epilepsy. A memorial fund was set up in his name, the Jesse Cooper Foundation.