|Cooper at the Golden Globe Awards|
The 'Silver Linings Playbook' star - who has been sober for eight years - admits he was very rebellious when he was younger but credits his "intellectually curious" late father Charles for inspiring him to become an actor.
He told the December issue of Esquire magazine: "I grew up in an interesting family. My father was Irish, and my mother was Italian. It's a rich tapestry. It's soaking in volatility. But I was raised well.
"I put them through some hell, of course. I got arrested [for underage drinking] when I was 15.
My mom [Gloria] always said, 'Just call me. I wanna know where you are,' We always had good lines of communication, me and my parents.
"My father was viciously smart and intellectually curious. We lived across the street from a movie theatre. And he would always talk about all these movies, and when I was at the age of being able to appreciate them, he just started throwin' 'em my way.
"He was a huge Tom Courtenay fan. 'Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner' was one of the first ones he showed me. And 'The Dresser. And 'Under the Volcano'. He loved Albert Finney."
The 37-year-old actor previously revealed that after years of abusing drugs and alcohol he realised he was ruining his life because he wasn't comfortable in his own skin and has now been clean since he was 29.
Earlier this year, he said: "I don't drink or do drugs anymore. Being sober helps a great deal ... I remember looking at my life, my apartment, my dogs [when I was still using], and I thought, 'What's happening?'
"I was so concerned what you thought of me, how I was coming across, how I would survive the day. I always felt like an outsider. I just lived in my head. I realised I wasn't going to live up to my potential, and that scared the hell out of me. I thought, 'Wow, I'm actually gonna ruin my life. I'm really gonna ruin it."