So Farewell Then: The Biography of Peter Cook

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9780007228935: So Farewell Then: The Biography of Peter Cook

To his many fans, Peter Cook was quite simply the funniest man they never met. Over a decade since his untimely death, his reputation as one of Britain's greatest comics shows no sign of shrinking.

His first wife talks about a side of Peter Cook that few have ever seen and no one has made public.

Peter Cook was one of the most significant influences on British comedy of the last 50 years. Caustic, cruel but genuinely and effortlessly witty, Cook was one of the prime architects of the satire boom of the sixties, achieving fame first in the revue ‘Beyond The Fringe’ with Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller, then in the television comedy sketch show ‘Not Only But Also’, starring himself and Moore.

The responsibility of being regarded as one of the wittiest men of his generation and the comic guru to the nation could have weighed heavily upon Peter Cook's shoulders. But the one thing Cook always refused adamantly to do was to take life, himself or his career seriously.

Wendy Cook was a teenage art student when she first met the handsome Cambridge undergraduate in the early sixties. They married soon after and together founded the Establishment clubs in London and New York, and financed the satirical magazine ‘Private Eye’. Wendy bore Peter his only children and they lived together during the most explosive time in Peter's amazing career. But the price of this stratospheric rise was high.

‘I felt eventually I had to go my own way rather than stay with somebody who was that nihilistic. Alcohol stokes up the demons and a completely different person starts to emerge. He did know how to behave well, but it rotted into something else. At a certain point I thought, "This will be the end of me if I don't leave now."'

Finally Wendy took her daughters to Majorca to live on a farm and the couple eventually divorced a few years later in 1971.

Now, putting aside 30 years of discretion about her life with the comedian, Wendy has decided to break her long silence to set down her memories in this long-awaited biography.

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Review:

‘The first wife’s side of the story. Fascinating.’ GQ

About the Author:

A fashion entrepreneur in the early Sixties, Wendy met Peter Cook while studying graphic design in Cambridge and they became engaged during the Edinburgh Festival run of Beyond the Fringe in 1960. Married in New York three years later, with Dudley Moore playing the organ, Wendy became a renowned hostess among a wide circle of talent in Manhattan and later at the couple’s Hampstead home. She is the mother of Cook’s two daughters and developed a pioneering interest in macrobiotic cookery in the search to improve the health of her younger child.

Wendy went on to study Rudolf Steiner’s education theories and to run an educational farm project in Majorca. In the Eighties she became an expert in biodynamic food and cookery and has recently published two books on the subject, Foodwise and The BioDynamic Food and Cookbook. In 2000 she graduated from Plymouth University with a degree in Waldorf education.

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Cook, Wendy E.
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