Chuck Cooper began his professional acting career 30 years ago, debuting on Broadway in 1983, winning a Tony for his portrayal of the character Memphis in “The Life.” He returned for “Romeo and Juliet,” where he portrayed Lord Capulet, father of Juliet, and in Act One, where he portrayed the great dramatic (and drunken) actor Charles Gilpin
Update June 20, 2015: Cooper will soon co-star in his next Broadway production, “Amazing Grace,” beginning performances June 25 and opening July 16 at the Nederlander Theater.
Cooper has also appeared in about a dozen movies, and been a guest star on about the same number of television series including (since he’s a New York actor) both Law & Order and Law & Order SVU. Off-Broadway, he has appeared in such celebrated productions as The Piano Lesson at the Signature Theater and Caroline Or Change at the Public Theater, where he played both a dryer and a bus. His favorites role, he says, is as father of Eddie, Alex and Lilli.
I ran into him outside New York City Center, and asked him if he had advice for performers just starting out.