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Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 09:02 a.m.
Jesse Cooper Foundation established

A foundation has been set up in the name of Jesse Cooper who passed away on January 3rd, 2005 at age 17. He attended public school while living with CP. His parents are advocates for children with special needs.

A foundation has been set up, that will support many charities that meant a lot to Jesse. If you would like to make a donation in memory of Jesse, please make checks payable to:
Jesse Cooper Foundation
P.O. Box 390
Kingston, MA 02364

Editor's note: Content originally appeared on PFRR.org. Thanks to Andrea for posting it to the Chris Cooper Yahoo Group.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005, 11:09 a.m.
Jesse Lanier Cooper passes from this life.

We begin the New Year with sad news. Jesse Lanier Cooper, Chris Cooper and Marianne Leone's son, has died. My sympathies to the Cooper and Leone families in their loss. Below please find the fine story The Boston Herald did on Jesse Cooper's death.

Son of Chris Cooper succumbs to cerebral palsy.

The Boston Herald; 1/5/2005

Byline: Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa with Nichole Gleisner

There is very sad news to report today: Jesse Lanier Cooper, the 17-year-old son of Oscar winner Chris Cooper and his wife, "Sopranos" co-star Marianne Leone, died at the family's Kingston home Monday night.

Jesse, the couple's only child, died of natural causes related to his cerebral palsy, family spokeswoman Cara Tripicchio said.

"They are fantastic people and our hearts go out to them," Tripicchio said. "It's very, very unfortunate." The Coopers have been tireless advocates for special needs kids in the Boston area since moving here in 1994. The couple relocated from the New York area to the South Shore because they believed Massachusetts had the more progressive educational opportunities for children with cerebral palsy.

"My wife did her research and found out Massachusetts was about 20 years ahead of other states in terms of mainstreaming kids with disabilities into public schools," Cooper said last year.

Even with that, the couple "really had to fight" for resources for their son, said Cooper, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as an orchid thief in "Adaptation."

Jesse was eventually mainstreamed into classes at Silver Lake Regional High School, where he earned a place on the honor roll. The boy's success was due, in large part, to the dedication and sacrifices made by his parents.

Born three months prematurely, Jesse developed a cerebral hemorrhage and severe cerebral palsy. The boy's disability required that his parents prepare special meals, employ tutors and therapists and attend to him several times during the course of a night.

But as he got older, Jesse learned to communicate via computer and although he used a wheelchair he learned to ride horses and took up water sports at camps for handicapped kids.

"Like many husbands, I was reluctant to have a child, but Jesse has instilled in us what's really important," Cooper said in an interview in 2002. "He seems so normal to us, now. And what a great teacher: His patience is extraordinary and, because he's so limited, he's very, very, focused. . . . He's filled my emotional life."

As a result of their experiences with Jesse, the Coopers became champions for kids with special needs in the Boston area, raising funds for a host of programs including Parents for Residential Reform, Accessport, Handi Kids Summer Camp and the state Department of Social Services.

At the time of Jesse's death, the Coopers were in pre-production on "Conquistadora," a film written by Leone.

It is the true story of Mary Somoza, the feisty mother of twins with cerebral palsy who fights to get her children the best possible education. Patricia Clarkson will play Somoza while Cooper has a small part as an attorney. A memorial service is scheduled for Jesse Saturday in Duxbury.


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Big thank yous to Loree from the chriscooper Yahoo Group for providing the photos of Mr. Cooper with Elizabeth Pena.