Tommy Cooper: Always Leave Them Laughing. The Definitive Biography of a Comedy Legend
by John Fisher
Published by HarperCollins Entertainment
17cm x 24cm, 470 pages, 40 photographs, Hardcover
by Duncan Trillo/MagicWeek
Tommy Cooper's death on stage during a live television transmission, watched by millions, back in 1984, came as a real shock to the whole nation. Everyone loved Tommy Cooper. Magicians especially loved Tommy Cooper. I loved Tommy Cooper (and was watching that night). Suddenly, unexpectedly, he was gone.
My copy of Tommy Cooper: Always Leave Them Laughing arrived in the post just a few days ago. The following day I popped into my local Ottakars bookshop and there on a central display stand was a rapidly diminishing stack of Tommy Cooper: Always Leave Them Laughing. It felt so good to know that 22 years on, the public are still clearly in love with Tommy Cooper.
John Fisher's Tommy Cooper: Always Leave Them Laughing offers real insight into the life of this most unique man, exploring just what made him tick. John Fisher had the full cooperation of the Cooper family in the realisation of this project, and was also able to access a wealth of material from the archives of Tommy's agent and manager, Miff Ferrie. He also drew on conversations with literally hundreds of Tommy's friends and colleagues, and from his own friendship and working relationship with Cooper, to help piece together the fullest imaginable picture of the man. It's an incredible tale.
In writing this review I wanted to pick out some pieces, but that didn't work out. As soon as I copied out a paragraph or two I felt I couldn't use them without the surrounding text... that sounds a bit mad but this biography is very much a "whole" - to take out a paragraph of text and plonk it on the page wouldn't do it justice at all. It needs to be read in its entirety. Only then will you begin to know the real Tommy Cooper.
This is a wonderful book that will be devoured and treasured by Tommy Cooper's legions of fans. I found myself smiling throughout (and I'm not quite finished yet!). John Fisher's meticulous, structured, logical approach, works so well. The vivid detail bringing so many stories to life.
Tommy Cooper had a special connection with his audience. That wonderful feeling one had when watching him perform is rekindled when reading this book. I loved it.
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© Duncan Trillo, December 2006