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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
18th February 1917 Born today: Phyllis Calvert, London, actress (Man in Grey)
18th February 1901 Born today: Reginald Sheffield, London England, actor (Second Chance)
18th February 1775 Born today: Thomas Girtin, London, artist/watercolorist
A Comic Legends resting place
The greatest magic comic of his generation or indeed ever
Location: Kew Meadow Path, Richmond, TW9 4EN
Description: He was known for making an art of getting magic tricks wrong, although he was actually an accomplished magician.
His brilliant delivery and timing of 'one-liners' is legendary...of course who else but 'Tommy Cooper'.
Despite his purported inability to perform conjuring tricks, Cooper was a member of The Magic Circle. Famed for his red fez, his appearance was large and lumbering at 6 feet 4 inches (1.9 m) and more than 15 stone (210 lb - 95 kg) in weight.
As a giant of a man he was also a giant of a personality, rapidly becaming a top-liner in variety with his turn as the conjuror whose tricks never succeeded, but it was his television work that catapulted him to national recognition.
After his debut on the BBC talent show New to You in March 1948, he soon started starring in his own shows, and was popular with audiences for four decades, most notably through his work with London Weekend Television from 1968 to 1972 and with Thames Television from 1973 to 1980.
Friends remember he would persuade strangers to buy him a drink using magician's cunning. He would stand at a bar and, when he made eye-contact with a stranger say 'Yes?' to which the stranger would reply, 'Can I get you a drink?' Cooper would reply 'What are you drinking?' to which the stranger would think he was being offered a drink, state his preference and hear Cooper rejoin, 'I'll have one as well.'
However, it was this drinking that would go on to have a devastating effect on his family and nearly ruin his career.
Alas nothing great lasts forever and Tommy Cooper was simply brilliant - on 15 April 1984, Cooper collapsed from a heart attack in front of millions of television viewers, midway through his act on the live London Weekend Television variety show Live From Her Majesty's.
His remains were cremated at this spot at Mortlake Crematorium - resting place of a comic genius and legend!
Tagged in this Tour: Tommy Cooper's London
Tagged in this Tour: The Ultimate Beatles Tour