Leo Cooper

Last updated

Leonard (Leo) Cooper (25 March 1934 – 29 November 2013) worked for numerous distinguished publishing houses before setting up his own independent publishing house, Leo Cooper Ltd, in 1968. [1] [2]

Leo was educated at Radley where he took charge of the military band and distinguished himself on the rugby and cricket fields. He was capped at cricket for the Yorkshire schoolboys; in later life he smashed Denis Compton for six with such vigour that he toppled a spectator sitting in a wheelchair into a nearby pond. [3]

His publishing business was based upon monumental works such as Lord Anglesey's eight-volume History of the British Cavalry (1973-95) and the Famous Regiments series, he was always on the look out for what George Orwell called "unofficial history", such as Antonia Hunt's Little Resistance (1982), the extraordinary story of an English schoolgirl's experiences in German-occupied France. [2]

In 1970 the Leo Cooper Ltd merged with the long-established firm of Seeley Service, which was in turn bought by Frederick Warne in 1979 after the company went into receivership and then in 1982 he moved under the happier umbrella of Secker & Warburg, then part of the Heinemann Group. In 1990 the firm was sold to the Barnsley Chronicle and renamed Pen & Sword Books. [4]

Personal life

Leo married the author Jilly Cooper [5] in 1961 following the break-up of his first marriage to Diana his former housemaster's daughter. [2] The couple had known each other since 1945 (when Jilly Sallitt was about eight), although they did not marry until she was 24 and he was 27. In the 1980s, the couple left Putney, London for The Chantry, an old manor house in Gloucestershire. The couple were unable to have children naturally so adopted two children. [6] They also had five grandchildren. [7] Cooper had an affair for several years with publisher Sarah Johnson, greatly disrupting the Coopers' marriage when this was revealed in 1990, though they got back together later. [2] [8]

He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2001. [3] [2]

His memoir, All My Friends Will Buy It (Spellmount Publishers), was published in 2005. [9] [2]

Related Research Articles

Judy Blume American childrens writer

Judy Blume is an American writer of children's, young adult (YA) and adult fiction. Some of her best known works are Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (1970), Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1972), Deenie (1973), and Blubber (1974). The New Yorker has called her books "talismans that, for a significant segment of the American female population, marked the passage from childhood to adolescence."

Rupert Hart-Davis British publisher

Sir Rupert Charles Hart-Davis was an English publisher and editor. He founded the publishing company Rupert Hart-Davis Ltd. As a biographer, he is remembered for his Hugh Walpole (1952), as an editor, for his Collected Letters of Oscar Wilde (1962), and, as both editor and part-author, for the Lyttelton/Hart-Davis Letters.

Humorist Intellectual who uses humor in writing or public speaking

A humorist or humourist is an intellectual who uses humor in writing or public speaking, but is not an artist who seeks only to elicit laughs. Humorists are distinct from comedians, who are show business entertainers whose business is to make an audience laugh. It is possible to play both roles in the course of a career.

Simon Arthur Noël Raven was an English author, playwright, essayist, television writer, and screenwriter. He is known for his louche lifestyle as much as for his literary output.

Barry Norman British film critic

Barry Leslie Norman was a 20th century British television critic, presenter and journalist. He presented the BBC's cinema review programme, Film..., from 1972 to 1998.

Jilly Cooper English author

Jilly Cooper, CBE is an English author. She began her career as a journalist and wrote numerous works of non-fiction before writing several romance novels, the first of which appeared in 1975. She is most famous for writing the Rutshire Chronicles.

Major General David Lanyon Lloyd Owen was a British soldier and writer. During the Second World War he commanded the Long Range Desert Group.

Najam Aziz Sethi is a Pakistani journalist, businessman, YouTuber, and former marxist who is founder of The Friday Times and Vanguard Books. Previously, as an administrator, he served as Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board, caretaker Federal Minister of Pakistan and Chief Minister of Punjab, Pakistan.

Lynn Barber is an English journalist who has worked for many publications, including The Sunday Times.

A Hollywood marriage originally meant a glamorous high society marriage between celebrities involved in the U.S. film industry; the word "Hollywood" is often used to represent the US film industry. However, the term has grown to also have strong negative connotations of a marriage that is of short duration and quickly ends in separation or divorce. The term developed the negative connotations fairly early; by the 1930s, a "Hollywood marriage" was a marriage both glamorous and short-lived. This connotation may also have related, at times, to moral panics over Hollywood's influence on the culture.

Jack Ernest PollardOAM was an Australian sports journalist, writer and cricket historian.

Stephen Chalke is an English author and publisher. In an article in the 2010 edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack he is identified as "an author, publisher and captain of the Winsley Third XI".

Charles Henry Whiting, was a British writer and military historian and with some 350 books of fiction and non-fiction to his credit, under his own name and a variety of pseudonyms including Duncan Harding, Ian Harding, John Kerrigan, Leo Kessler, Klaus Konrad, K.N. Kostov, and Duncan Stirling.

Weidenfeld & Nicolson British publisher

Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd, often shortened to W&N or Weidenfeld, is a British publisher of fiction and reference books. It has been a division of the French-owned Orion Publishing Group since 1991.

Pen and Sword Books is a British publisher which specializes in printing and distributing books on military history, militaria and other niche subjects. It is part of the Barnsley Chronicle newspaper group.

Gerald Howat, born Gerald Malcolm David Howat, was a British writer on cricket, a historian and a schoolmaster.

Desmond Elliott was a distinguished publisher and literary agent. Having started his career at the publishing house Macmillan, he later went on to found his own publishing company, Arlington Books. In a career of over almost 60 years he was responsible for discovering a number of writers who went on to be bestsellers, including Penny Vincenzi and Jilly Cooper.

The TelegraphSports Book Awards is a British literary award for sports writing. It was first awarded in 2003 as part of the National Sporting Club. Awards are presented in multiple categories. Each category is judged by one of: sports writers and broadcasters, retailers and enthusiasts. The winners from each category are then opened to public vote through a website to choose an overall winner. The Telegraph became the headline sponsor in 2019. The other major sports writing award in Britain is the William Hill Sports Book of the Year.

Anthony Patrick Babington was an Anglo-Irish author, judge and Army officer.


  1. "Titles by Leo Cooper". Pen and Sword Books . Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Barber, Michael (3 December 2013). "Leo Cooper obituary: Publisher of military history books and husband of Jilly Cooper". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  3. 1 2 "Leo Cooper - obituary". Daily Telegraph. 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  4. "Pen and Sword: highlights from the Leo Cooper archive". University of Reading . Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  5. "Case Study". Caroline Phillips. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  6. Elizabeth Grice (17 September 2010). "Jilly Cooper interview". Telegraph.co.uk.
  7. Interview by Richard Barber. "Jilly Cooper: 'My books are my babies' | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  8. "Fiction into fact - UPI Archives". Upi.com. 1990-09-02. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  9. Riordan, Rick (2013-12-03). "Leo Cooper dies". The Bookseller. Retrieved 2019-03-29.