Tommy's daughter speaks out
Vicky Cooper was 29 when her father passed
away on stage. She reveals how Tommy Cooper dealt with his illness,
and how that's informed her own vastly different attitude to
looking after her health.
"When it comes to health I’m pleased to say I’m the complete
opposite of my father. I don’t drink, I gave up smoking years
ago and I eat healthily. And while my dad never made time to see
his doctor and self medicated with all sorts of drops up his nose
or in his ears or by taking random tablets he’d picked up at the
chemist, I’ll see my GP if I think something’s wrong.
He had his life snatched away from him but it could have been avoided
"That’s how I found out
I have high blood pressure, because I saw my GP about all the
headaches I was getting. I was devastated at first because I
thought I looked after myself well. But I know that if you have a
history of strokes or heart attacks in the family, you have to be
very careful about these things. It’s very likely my dad had high
blood pressure too but it went undiagnosed because he never saw his
"Showbusiness took its toll on him. His main
priority was always his audience, and everything else – including
his health – came second.
"He had lots of warning signs with strange
aches and pains in his legs, chest pains, and lots of headaches.
But he never went to the doctor. He always said ‘after this
rehearsal’ or ‘after I’ve learnt this script’. But there was always
"I was forever nagging him. I used to say
‘dad, if you don’t stop drinking and smoking and start going to the
doctor you are going to drop down dead’. And, of course, he
"He was still young when he died. He could
have been around for so many more years making people laugh and
bringing joy to everyone including his family - including me.
"He had his life snatched away from him but it
could have been avoided. My advice now is always that you shouldn’t
delay. Don’t keep making excuses. If you think something might be
wrong, get yourself checked. You’re not being a nuisance.
"We’re all living longer now, and with all the
advances in medicine and technology it seems silly not to take
advantage so you can live an active, healthy life for as long as
"If you know you should be taking medication
then take it, and prevent your life being snatched away too."
If you're worried about your health or are
having problems taking your medication regularly, call our heart
nurses on 0300 333 1 333 for help and advice.