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Victoria and Albert Museum to display Tommy Cooper's fez

Tommy Cooper fez Image copyright PA
Image caption Most of the tassel is missing from the fez because it was attacked by the donator's cat

A red fez hat worn by Tommy Cooper during his comedy routines is to go on display following an appeal by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

The Knightsbridge museum purchased the late comic's archive and "gag file" earlier this year, but had been unable to get his famous hat.

But a former advertising executive came to the rescue donating a fez he was given by Mr Cooper days before he died.

It will be on display at the museum from 6 December.

According to legend, Tommy Cooper began wearing a fez when he lost his army-issue helmet while performing in Cairo during World War Two.

Image caption Tommy Cooper died after collapsing during a performance at Her Majesty's Theatre

The V&A's hat was given to Hans van Rijs in 1984 while he was working on a Dutch Bassett's Winegums advertisement with the comedian.

"He gave me his fez to take back home with me, so that the special effects team could begin animating it," Mr van Rijs said.

However, he said the the advert was never made as "he died a few days after we met".

The fez is looking a little worn with most of the tassel missing because Mr van Rijs cat liked to play with it, according to the museum.

Simon Sladen, senior curator of modern and contemporary performance at the V&A, said the hat and archive will "give visitors a fascinating insight into one the best-loved entertainers of the 20th Century."

Tommy Cooper died in April 1984 after collapsing during a live TV broadcast at Her Majesty's Theatre, London.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The fez will go on display with some other items from the Tommy Cooper archive

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