He has been nominated for four Academy Awards, three for acting and one for producing, and one Tony Award. in English from Georgetown University (1997) and an MFA in acting from Actors Studio Drama School at The New School (2000).He was named the "Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine in 2011. He first gained recognition in the spy-action television show Alias and the television drama Jack & Bobby.

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After graduating from Germantown Academy in 1993, Cooper met Apoorva Walimbe upon whose suggestion he attended Villanova University, his father's alma mater, for a year before transferring to Georgetown.

and served as a presenter in the travel-adventure series Globe Trekker.

After his film debut in the satirical comedy Wet Hot American Summer, which later garnered a cult following, Cooper played Will Tippin in J. Abrams' successful television spy-action drama Alias After leaving Alias in 2003, Cooper guest-starred on the short-lived TV series Miss Match and later returned twice to Alias to reprise his role in guest appearances.

Cooper played the part of cowboy and race horse trainer Morgan Murphy in the TV movie The Last Cowboy, which aired on the Hallmark Channel in January, 2003.

Other notable films include the action-comedy The A-Team (2010), the thriller Limitless (2011), the crime drama The Place Beyond the Pines (2013), and the superhero film Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), in which he voiced Rocket Raccoon.

Cooper garnered consecutive Oscar nominations from 2013 to 2015 for his roles in the romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook (2012), the comedy-drama American Hustle (2013), and the biographical war drama American Sniper (2014).

For producing American Sniper, Cooper also received an Academy Award for Best Picture nomination.

For starring in the 2014 Broadway revival of the play The Elephant Man, Cooper garnered a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play nomination.

He also co-starred in the ABC Family film I Want to Marry Ryan Banks with Jason Priestley, and appeared as a regular guest star in the WB series Jack & Bobby.

He played the evil Sack Lodge in the hit comedy Wedding Crashers and appeared in the film Failure to Launch as Demo, a friend of Tripp (Matthew Mc Conaughey).

In September 2005, Fox debuted the sitcom Kitchen Confidential, based on a memoir by chef Anthony Bourdain, with Cooper in the leading role.