Tommy Cooper

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Thomas Frederick "Tommy" Cooper (19 March 1921 – 15 April 1984) was a popular Welsh prop comedian and magician.

Cooper was a member of The Magic Circle, and respected by traditional magicians. Famed for his red fez, his appearance was large and lumbering at 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) and more than 15 stone (210 lb; 95 kg) in weight.[1]

While his stage persona required that his act intentionally went wrong for comic purposes, on 15 April 1984, Cooper famously collapsed and soon after died from a heart attack in front of millions of television viewers, midway through his act on the London Weekend Television variety show Live From Her Majesty's, transmitted live from Her Majesty's Theatre.



Born in Caerphilly, Wales,[2] Cooper was delivered by the woman who owned the house in which the family was lodging. His parents were Welsh-born army recruiting sergeant father Thomas H. (Tom) Cooper, and his English-born wife Gertrude (née Gertrude C. Wright) from Crediton, Devon.[3][4] In light of the heavily polluted air and the offer of a job for his father, the family moved to Exeter, Devon, when Cooper was three and gained the West Country accent that was part of his act.[5]

The family lived in the back of Haven Banks, where Cooper attended Mount Radford School for Boys, and helped his parents run their ice cream van, which attended fairs on the weekend. At the age of 8 an aunt bought Cooper a magic set and he spent hours perfecting the tricks.[6]

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