Skip to main content

Many famous Hollywood stars have been craving the spotlight since they were toddlers. Some were brought up in famous families, following in their parents’ footsteps. Others started working in commercials at five years old, then becoming models before pursuing their acting careers. Some attended special performing arts high schools before perfecting their skills in college. 

One of Hollywood’s brightest stars — and most handsome heartthrobs — didn’t even think about acting until he was in college. Bradley Cooper, who is now a mega-star and talented actor, producer, writer, and director, had a much different dream when he was a kid.

Who is Bradley Cooper?

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Cooper was born in Philadelphia in 1975. His mom worked for a local NBC station and his dad was a stockbroker. Unlike many celebrities, Cooper didn’t decide to pursue a career in acting until he had already graduated from college. He attended Georgetown University, graduating with an English degree.

He then decided to apply to The New School in New York City. He was accepted into the Master of Fine Arts graduate program, and it was there that he discovered his love for acting (and honed his incredible talent). 

While Cooper was in school, he began working in television. His first television appearance was in Sex in the City, acting alongside Sarah Jessica Parker as one of her character’s many quick flings. He also had a recurring role on J.J. Abrams’ spy drama, Alias.

In 2001, Cooper made it to the big screen, in the comedy Wet Hot American Summer. The movie was full of talented comedians, including Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd. 

Cooper’s movie debut led to numerous supporting roles in comedies like Wedding Crashers, Failure to Launch, and Yes Man. In 2009, he landed his breakout role in the hilarious hit The Hangover. Cooper’s wit combined with that of Zack Galifianakis and Ed Helms created movie magic.

The trio had audiences laughing so hard we were crying, and the film will be remembered as one of the best comedies in movie history. 

Although much of Cooper’s early career was comedic, the star was eager to show the world that he had many sides. In 2010, he stepped into the role of an action hero in The A-Team. 2011 found Cooper producing and starring in Limitless, a suspenseful thriller that explored the possibilities of the brain’s true potential.

He earned his first Oscar nomination for his 2012 performance in Silver Linings Playbook, when he played a recently released patient from a mental institution. 

In 2014, Cooper joined the MCU, bringing Rocket the Raccoon to life in Guardians of the Galaxy. Rocket quickly became a fan favorite, and Cooper reprised the voice role in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. 2014 also brought Cooper both acting and producing award nominations for American Sniper.

In 2018, he tried his hand at directing the newest remake of A Star Is Born–also taking on one of the lead roles. 

If Bradley Cooper had followed his childhood dream, he wouldn’t have been an actor…


Lady Gaga on Why It Was ‘So Easy to Fall in Love With Bradley [Cooper] on Camera’

Cooper isn’t one of those actors who dreamed of the spotlight since he was a little kid. He wasn’t a child actor, filming commercials and taking the stage in his middle school drama club. He did host a travel series on the Learning Channel before getting his big break, but that wasn’t until he was well into adulthood. His childhood dreams, according to Insider, actually had nothing at all to do with Hollywood, acting, or the theater. 

When Cooper was a kid, he had an obsession with soldiers. He begged his father to let him join the army, going so far as to look in the yellow pages for the phone number for Valley Forge Military Academy. His father was dead set against it, however, so Cooper tried to make an alternative deal with his dad. He’d give up on his dream of being a soldier if his dad would send him to Japan to train to become a ninja.

Unfortunately for young Cooper, his dad squashed that dream as well–although the rest of us are very thankful for that! 

What’s Cooper working on now?

Cooper enjoyed his experience in the director’s chair for A Star Is Born, so he’s using those talents to delve into an exciting new project. He’s taking on the incredible story of the legendary composer Leonard Bernstein, co-writing a script with Josh Singer.

Cooper will be producing, directing, and starring in the beautiful biopic about Bernstein’s life, exploring his relationship with his wife and family and his impressive career.

Fans can also catch Cooper lighting up the big screen soon in Guillermo del Torro’s upcoming film, Nightmare Alley. Cooper will play a con man working with a traveling carny, working with a mind-reader to swindle unsuspecting victims.