Tommy Cooper statue, Caerphilly
Tommy Cooper statue
This bronze sculpture of the Caerphilly-born comedian Tommy Cooper stands 2.7m (9 feet) tall, atop a natural stone and granite plinth. Created by sculptor James Done, it depicts him wearing his trademark fez.
Thomas Frederick Cooper was born in Llwyn Onn Street, Caerphilly, in 1921 to Gertrude and Thomas H Cooper, a Welsh army recruiting sergeant. The landlady of the Cooper family’s lodgings delivered the baby. Tommy spent his first three years in Caerphilly but suffered breathing problems because at that time heavy industry polluted the air in the South Wales Valleys. The family therefore moved to coastal Exeter, Gertrude’s home city.
His talent for comedy emerged while he served with the army in the Second World War, when he performed for fellow soldiers. During a show in the Middle East, he mislaid his usual pith helmet and borrowed a fez from a local man. It produced such riotous laughter that a fez remained part of his stage persona.
He made his television debut in 1947 and was soon a household name. His act centred on short, silly jokes, clumsiness and magic tricks which went wrong. He collapsed and died of a heart attack on stage during a live broadcast, watched by millions, in 1984.
In 2003 some of his many fans established the Caerphilly-based Tommy Cooper Society. Its ambition of erecting a statue of the comedian in his home town was realised in 2008, when Hollywood actor Sir Anthony Hopkins (the society's current patron) performed the unveiling. It is now developing plans for a Tommy Cooper gallery in the town’s new library, due to open near the statue in 2014. It also raises funds, through the Tommy’s Ticker appeal, for more defibrillators (to revive people after heart attacks) in public places.
Postcode: CF83 1JL