Cooper made an art form of getting magic tricks wrong. He is considered by many to be one of the most inventive and funny British comedians since Charlie Chaplin. It should be noted, however, that despite his purported inability to perform conjuring tricks, he was in reality an accomplished magician and member of the Magic Circle. Famed for his red fez, he had a host of catchphrases such as "Just like that!", "Spoon, jar, jar, spoon!!" and "Whisky, sample, sample, whisky, sample...".
Tommy Cooper took up show business in 1947 after seven years in the Army, and rapidly became a top-liner in variety with his turn as the conjuror whose tricks never succeeded.
On April 15, 1984, Tommy Cooper collapsed in front of millions of television viewers, midway through his act, on the popular ITV1 variety show, Live from Her Majesty's . Initially, most of the audience (unwittingly) thought it was part of his act until it became apparent that he was seriously ill. He was pronounced dead on arrival at nearby Charing Cross hospital.
"When I go I want to be on stage I want the audience laughing and everyone happy."
- Tommy Cooper - Almost a Magician