Welsh comedian and magician. He is remembered for his stage presence and his original music hall act combining a ham style of comedy and magic tricks. He began his career in variety theatre but moved more towards television later in his career, including the show It's Magic. His trademark bright red fez hat and catchphrase ‘just like that’ helped to make him one of Britain's best-loved comedians. He is remembered for his good nature, gentle giant image, and mischievous personality.
The trademark fez came about while he was entertaining troops in Egypt during World War II. He was missing a helmet prop for his act, so took off a nearby waiter's fez and used that instead. The fez raised a laugh and became a permanent trademark of his act. He left the army in 1947 and went on to a full-time profession as a music hall stand-up comic.
He made his television debut in 1947 in the Leslie Henson Christmas Show but was forced to return to variety theatre to earn a living when his career dried up. However, by the mid 1950s he had returned to television on one-off television specials such as Saturday Showtime and Sunday Night at the London Palladium. His first series, entitled Life with Cooper, ran live for 12 weeks and was such a success that he was offered another series before the first had finished. Other series and television appearances included Coopers Capers, The Billy Cotton Band Show, Life with Cooper, and Cooper's Half Hour. He died of a heart attack while performing at Her Majesty's Theatre, London, England, in April 1984.