LEN COOPER - He was 75 years old
He held I.B.M # 3218312 and was a member and past President of the Sid Lorraine Ring #17 in Toronto. He was also a magic dealer and founder of the Browser’s Den of Magic.
Let me tell you about the friend who I now very badly miss….
Len was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 2, 1928. He was first exposed to the world of magic at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Len witnessed a pitchman demonstrating the Svengali deck. He found the pitch fascinating but at this time did not get the magic bug.
Two years later when Len was 13, he and a friend joined a magic club at the library and this time Len was infected with the magic virus. In the early 1940’s Len got to meet other magicians and make some lifetime friendships by joining a magic group called F.A.M.E. This was run by famed puppeteer Shari Lewis’ father Abe ‘Doc’ Hurwitz; better known as Peter Pan the Magic Man.
In 1975 Len and Bernice Cooper moved from New York to Toronto and opened up ‘Browser’s Den’ at 200 Bloor Street West.
Initially the shop was not exclusively magic. It offered its customer’s records, books, souvenirs and only one corner of the shop stocked ‘magic tricks and supplies’. Over the next few years all the non-magic related merchandise was gone and the shop was completely converted to offering magic, juggling, jokes and ventriloquist dolls. At that time the name of the shop was changed to ‘Browser’s Den of Magic’.
Len Cooper met his beloved Bernice during a summer vacation at the Catskills. At the Catskills Len was performing in the hotels his comedy magic act. Bernice was vacationing with a friend. Len was from Brooklyn, New York; Bernice from Toronto, Canada.
And within a couple of years Len and Bernice were married and living in New York and started their family.
Len found his income as a professional magician to be unstable. And with three young children to take care of he decided to leave the magic profession and open up a record shop. Besides magic, music was one of Len’s other passions.
In January 2003, Len Cooper, the man who started the Browser's Den, sadly passed away. He had run the shop from 1975 (when he opened it) until 1995 (when he sold it to its second and current owner, Jeff Pinsky). His brother Norm had come to Toronto from New York for the funeral service, and wanted to do something to honour Len's memory. He approached Jeff Pinsky and asked him if he had any ideas.
Jeff knew that Len believed magic should be studied seriously, and that the books were the best source of information. Len would regularly recommend The Tarbell Course to any serious student of the craft.
It was decided to create the Len Cooper Memorial Award, an annual award given to a young magician (25 years or younger) who showed promise and dedication toward the Art of Magic. The award would come with a complete set of The Tarbell Course in Magic. Len's brother Norm donated $1000 for ten years toward financing the award, with the shop contributing the balance.
The Browser's Den continues to honour Len's memory each year at our Anniversary Party by giving out the award and books to a deserving young magician. Below is a complete list of the recipients, from its beginning in 2003 to the present time.