Cliff Watts / Esquire 1 / 6
Cliff Watts / Esquire 1 / 6

Bradley Cooper wasn't always the poster child for good behavior growing up in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania -- but he was still a pretty good seed.

The 37-year-old "Silver Linings Playbook" actor appears on the December cover of Esquire. In the accompanying interview, Cooper talks candidly about his small town upbringing and credits his parents for keeping him on the straight and narrow.

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"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," he says. (Cooper has been sober since age 29.)

"My mom [Gloria] always said, 'Just call me. I wanna know where you are,'" said the actor, who was spotted on Monday night snacking on Sheila G's Brownie Brittle at New York's Royalton Hotel during the after-party for the "Silver Linings" premiere. "We always had good lines of communication, me and my parents."

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Cooper credits his late father, Charles, with shaping the man he is today.

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"My father was viciously smart and intellectually curious. We lived across the street from a movie theater. 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," the actor says of his dad, who passed away in early 2011. "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."


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