Oscars 2024: Bradley Cooper's former teacher says he's a 'genuine guy'

Jenkintown native Bradley Cooper is nominated for Best Actor for his role as composer Leonard Bernstein in "Maestro."

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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Bradley Cooper remembered as 'genuine guy' by former teacher
Bradley Cooper remembered as 'genuine guy' by former teacher, hometown crowd

JENKINTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Jenkintown, Montgomery County native Bradley Cooper is up for an Oscar once again.

Cooper is nominated for Best Actor for his role as composer Leonard Bernstein in "Maestro."

Cooper also directed the film, which was nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

Action News spoke with Gabrielle Russomagno, an innovation consultant for Germantown Academy in Fort Washington. Russomagno met Cooper when he was a student there. He is a graduate of the class of 1993.

"I see in "Maestro" the culmination of decades of him polishing not only his acting creds but his ability to understand the story and how actors are directed," she said.

Russomagno's husband is an Academy-nominated producer, so she said he had an opportunity to select Cooper for nearly all of his nominations on the Oscars slate this year.

She described Cooper as an exceptional actor who pours everything he has into his work. She also recalled what he was like as a student at Germantown Academy.

"He was a very serious thinker, but he was also a really fun person and a really beautiful person and a lovely guy," she said. "That authenticity has really never left him."

In his hometown of Jenkintown, Cooper is remembered as a genuine guy who always took the time to support local businesses, like West Avenue Grill.

Before his son took over the family business, Bob Katz ran the restaurant and interacted with the actor on several occasions.

Katz described Cooper as a great guy.

"Always took the time to talk to people, shake hands, and take pictures with them," Katz explained.

Katz said it has been several years since he served Cooper his regular meal of an egg white burrito, but he said the actor's hometown is thrilled to see him shine.

"If I saw him again, I would tell him how proud I am of him," Katz said. "He knows his roots, which is nice because a lot of people forget about where they come from and what their roots are all about, but he remembers."

March 10 is Oscar Sunday! Watch the 2024 Oscars live on ABC.

Red carpet coverage starts at 1 p.m. ET 10 a.m. PT with "Countdown to Oscars: On The Red Carpet Live." At 4 p.m. ET 1 p.m. PT, live coverage continues with "On The Red Carpet at the Oscars," hosted by George Pennacchio with Roshumba Williams, Leslie Lopez and Rachel Brown.

Watch all the action on the red carpet live on ABC, streaming live on OnTheRedCarpet.com and on the On the Red Carpet Facebook and YouTube pages.

The 96th Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, begins at 7 p.m. ET 4 p.m. PT, an hour earlier than past years.

The Oscars are followed by an all-new episode of "Abbott Elementary."