Tommy Cooper is being celebrated on a BBC special tonight and viewers of a certain age will remember that horrific performance where he collapsed but died on stage?
Sir Lenny Henry will pay a special tribute to the late comedian and magician.
It’s now 100 years since Tommy, a British comedian who once rivaled Morecambe and Wise in popularity, was born.
Here we take a look at Tommy’s life, tragic death and legacy …
When was Tommy Cooper born?
Tommy was born on March 19, 1921 in Glamorgan, Wales.
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His full name was Thomas Frederick Cooper.
What were some of his most famous jokes?
Tommy became a household name thanks to his funny props and magical jokes.
He was a member of the Magic Circle and an accomplished magician.
He became known, however, for his funny routine of “failed” magic tricks.
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He also served time in the army. There are stories that, when his magic tricks went wrong in front of his comrades, got the most laughs.
While another story claims during a post World War II foreplay, his ploy went wrong.
But the panel was hysterical and said that should be their act.
While appearing on the BBC talent show New To You in 1948, which was hugely popular with viewers.
This spurred a 40-year career on television and continually carried out his failed magical shtick.
His famous catchphrase was: “Not so, like that.”
Comics colleague Barry Cryer said Tommy’s whole life was devoted to magic and jokes.
He said, “He hated not being the center of attention.
“Whenever he felt like he wasn’t, the deck of cards came out and he started doing tricks to regain focus.”
Then he added, “He never talked about current affairs or politics, only magic.”
When did Tommy Cooper die?
Tommy died famously and tragically in front of a live television audience.
The comedian appeared on the London weekend television show Live From Her Majesty’s.
He sagged while on stage at Her Majesty’s Theater in Westminster, London, and then collapsed.
Initially, the presenter assumed this was part of the act, and so did the audience.
The audience burst out laughing, assuming this was all part of the joke.
After his initial breakdown, he slowly fell back onto the stage curtains.
However, the show’s director realized something was very wrong and switched to an unplanned hiatus.
Tommy was pulled from the curtains and tried to revive him backstage.
He was pronounced dead on arrival at Westminster Hospital.
But the show went on and Les Dennis and Dustin Gee were two of the previous acts.
How old was Tommy Cooper when he died?
Tommy died on April 15, 1984. He was 63 years old.
What was the cause of his death?
Tommy Cooper died of a heart attack.
He was a heavy smoker and drinker for years, which may have contributed to his death.
Was he married? Did he have children?
Tommy was married to Gwen Cooper until his death.
They had two children – Victoria and Thomas.
Tragically, Thomas died of hemophilia at the age of only 32.
He also had a mistress, Mary Kay, for 17 years.
When is the Tommy Cooper special?
The Tommy Cooper Special will take place on Friday March 5th at 7:35 p.m.
It will be available for streaming on BBC iPlayer shortly after it airs.
Will you watch Let us know on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.