Val Andrews 1926 - 2006

Remembered by Martin Breese

Val Andrews passed away on the 12th October following a heart attack. I knew and worked with Val Andrews for at least 30 years and he was a kind and gentle man. He believed in the old fashioned ways and was courteous and considerate to all those he came in contact with.

He was the son of an architect and for many years of his life lived in Brighton. He was a prolific writer and his aim, he told me one day, was to be able to say that he had written and had published over 1000 books and booklets. His output was prolific and in the past he wrote programme ideas and scripts for many of our leading comics. He wrote many of Tommy Cooper's scripts for him including the sketch in which Tommy Cooper had one side of his body in a German army uniform and on the other profile he was an upper class British army officer. By turning from left to right Tommy Cooper was able to have a conversation with himself. All Val's own idea and for that he earned the paltry sum of just 10/- or 50p in today's money. And he had to fight even to get paid.

Many years ago Val told me that he had written some new Sherlock Holmes stories and asked me to publish them. I had no confidence in the idea but Val knew what he was doing. He wrote many of these new Sherlock Holmes novels which sold around the world and in many different languages as well. He will not only be sadly missed by the magic community but by countless Sherlock Holmes fans everywhere.

Val had the honour of receiving a major award from the Magic Circle for his literary work and later was given a Literary Fellowship by the Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood. Val was a tragic figure and had the awful experience of seeing his own daughter run over by a bus. The tragedy destroyed his marriage and many years later he became a life-long friend and companion to Terri Rogers and supported her through her own final tragic illness.

Val was a kind and generous soul and much of the money that he earned he gave away to those in need. His contribution to magic will stand as a fitting memorial to a highly talented writer whose writings have greatly contributed to our art. I will miss my dear old pal Val.

Martin Breese, 2006

 

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