Bradley Charles Cooper was born on January 5, 1975 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother, Gloria (Campano), is of Italian descent, and worked for a local NBC station. His father, Charles John Cooper, who was of Irish descent, was a stockbroker. Immediately after Bradley graduated from the Honors English program at Georgetown University in 1997, he moved to New York City to enroll in the Masters of Fine Arts program at the Actors Studio Drama School at New School University. There, he developed his stage work, culminating with his thesis performance as John Merrick in Bernard Pomerance's "The Elephant Man", performed in New York's Circle in the Square.
While still in school, Bradley began his professional career, appearing opposite Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and the City (1998) and on the drama series The Beat (2000). His weekends were spent with LEAP (Learning through the Expanded Arts Program), a non-profit organization that teaches acting and movement to inner city school child