Obituary: Former TV exec and Tory activist Rupert Dilnott-Cooper was an 'amazing man'
PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 July 2013
A former television executive and Conservative Party activist who passed away following a short illness has been remembered as an "amazing man" with a "great sense of fun".
Rupert Dilnott-Cooper died aged 59 at his home in Glenmore Road, Belsize Park, on May 20, following a brief battle with leukaemia.
The father-of-two held a number of senior roles at various ITV companies during a colourful career spanning five decades, living in the Belsize Park area for much of that time.
He enjoyed a 34-year marriage to wife Kate Dilnott-Cooper, with whom he had two sons Ed, 24, and William, 20, who were brought up at the family’s Glenmore Road home.
Remembering her late husband, Mrs Dilnott-Cooper said: “He was an amazing man. He was obviously very bright – he had his serious side but he was just tremendous fun.
“We had a great marriage. We married young and 34 years later we were still enjoying it and hoping for more.”
After attending Eton, Mr Dilnott-Cooper studied law at Hertford College, Oxford, between 1973 and 1976, where his passion for the Conservative Party began and where he sometimes shared tutorials with undergraduate Tony Blair, who was at St John’s College.
Upon leaving university, Mr Dilnott-Cooper decided he wanted to enter the film industry rather than practice as a solicitor or barrister.
He took a job in 1976 with Productions Associates, a London-based Warner Brothers company responsible for PR and marketing, and found himself accompanying Brooke Shields on a press tour of the UK in his first assignment.
By 1982, he had been appointed Central Independent Television’s head of contracts and copyright – overseeing shows such as classic satirical series Spitting Image – before being promoted to become general manager of the company’s international sales division.
In 1994, Mr Dilnott-Cooper became founding director of Carlton Television’s international TV arm and remained at the company until 2004 when Carlton merged with Granada and his job disappeared.
However, he continued to work in TV, serving on the boards of a number of foreign media groups in the years leading up to his death.
Away from work, Mr Dilnott-Cooper remained an active member of Hampstead and Kilburn Conservative Association for many years and played an integral role in Tory candidate Chris Philp’s 2010 general election campaign.
Mrs Dilnott-Cooper added: “Rupert was frequently seen leafleting [for the Tories locally], he thought it was a good way of getting exercise, as well as getting the Conservative message out!
“There was a fair amount of work to do in Hampstead and Kilburn and he did help with Chris Philp.”
A funeral service attended by family and close friends was held at Golders Green Crematorium on May 29.
There will be a memorial service celebrating his life at St James’s Church, in Piccadilly, in November.