Las Vegas Comedian Pat Cooper Dies at 93

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Italian-American Pat Cooper, best known for his hilarious comedy acts and for opening for Frank Sinatra, has passed away at the age of 93. His wife, Emily Conner, confirmed the sad news with a statement that read, “He did his best and always strove for perfection. But whether he obtained it was immaterial. As long as he remained loyal to himself, his personal character, convictions and dreams, he was satisfied.” He died peacefully at his home in Las Vegas.

Cooper began his career by appearing on The Jackie Gleason Show in 1963 which led to appearances at the Copacabana. He opened for acts such as the Four Seasons there. When he arrived in Las Vegas, he opened for stars such as Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Darin, Nat King Cole, and more. He performed at many iconic hotels in Vegas and began recording comedy albums, including Our Hero, which sparked his fame by joking about his Italian-American upbringing.

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 04: Actor/comedian Pat Cooper (L) and Emily Conner leave a memorial for Jerry Lewis at the South Point Hotel & Casino on September 4, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lewis died on August 20, 2017, at his home in Las Vegas at age 91

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As the years went by, he worked with and became friends with some of the biggest stars of the time including Jerry Lewis, George Burns, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frankie Avalon, and the list goes on and on. Cooper also became a beloved talk show guest, most notably on The Mike Douglas Show in the 1970s. He continued performing until the late 1990s. In addition to his comedy albums and standup acts, he did appear on television a few times.

Cooper most famously appeared in the Seinfeld episode called “The Friars Club,” where he played himself. He reportedly ad-libbed the hilarious exchange with characters played by Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld. He apparently filmed the entire scene in one take, making it even more hilarious and impressive.

He is survived by his wife, Emily, three children, and several grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to Shriners Hospitals for Children or the Neon Museum Las Vegas.

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March 2021

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