The death of British prop comedian Tommy Cooper was not controversial nor was it any kind of statement — it just was. Cooper was a magician and a clown whose bread and butter was physical comedy.
Sp when he collapsed in front of a studio audience during a 1984 live broadcast of the British variety show Live from Her Majesty’s, both his stage assistant and the crowd thought it was a joke.
Roaring laughter ensued, making this one of the saddest deaths caught on video. Cooper may have lived if his heart attack was recognized as a medical emergency instead of a joke.
Cooper, a heavy drinker and smoker, had already lived through one heart attack in 1977. Furthermore, one of his trademarks as a magician was making tricks fail on purpose for the audience’s entertainment, making his tragic fall to the stage floor all the more undetectable as the very real emergency that it was.