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Connie Booth

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Connie Booth
Connie Booth.jpg
Birth name Constance Booth
Born January 31, 1944 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Notable Roles Fawlty Towers: Polly Sherman
Notable Episodes Fawlty Towers: 1x04 - Hotel Inspectors
Fawlty Towers: 2x01 - Communication Problems
Fawlty Towers: 2x05 - The Anniversary
Awards None

Connie Booth is an American actress and writer best known for her work in the 1960s and 70s with her ex-husband, John Cleese, both on his show Monty Python's Flying Circus and on their sitcom, which they co-created, co-wrote, and co-starred in, Fawlty Towers.

Contents

Biography

Connie Booth was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1944 to a Wall Street mogul and an actress. She, too, began acting on stage and moved to New York to try her hand at Broadway. While a waitress in the 1960s, she met John Cleese, who had been travelling in America as part of a revue and had stayed on there. She and Cleese were married, and she moved with him back to England.

While Cleese started work in Monty Python's Flying Circus, Booth was a constant fixture at the sets. She was well-liked by the other members of Monty Python, in part because, during the recording of the earliest episodes, her distinctive laugh was one of the few they heard from the studio audience. They later had her play several supporting roles, both in the series and in their first original film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as a witch accused of turning a man into a newt.

Feeling that he wasn't spending enough time with her and with their daughter Cynthia—born in 1971—Cleese left the show before its fourth season. They collaborated on a film, Romance with a Double Bass. Cleese demanded that his next project also be in collaboration with Booth. The BBC agreed, and together they wrote and created Fawlty Towers. Besides writing every episode together, Cleese played hotel manager Basil Fawlty, and Booth played the waitress, Polly Sherman. The response to the show was at first underwhelming, but by the time of the rebroadcast of the first season, it had become a cult smash hit.

In 1978, Cleese and Booth suffered a painful divorce after ten years of marriage. Around the same time, vicious rumors were spreading regarding her pay for her work on Fawlty Towers. Despite this, Cleese and Booth would collaborate again on a second season of Fawlty Towers before going their separate ways.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, she found other work in British films and TV, often playing an American. During this time, she avoided any association with Fawlty Towers and shunned interviews about it. She was also the victim of more rumors, which she denied—this time that she was a lesbian and had had an illicit affair with Cleese's sister.

At the start of the 21st century, she retired from acting and went into relative seclusion as a psychotherapist. She now lives in a small English town with her husband, theater critic John Lahr, and spends most of her time counselling new mothers—particularly those from foreign countries, just as she once was.

Roles

Starring Roles

Series Role Year(s) Season(s)
Fawlty Towers Polly Sherman 1975, 1979 1 2
Floodtide Isabel 1987 1
Yû Yû Hakusho Additional Voices (English version) 2002-2006 1 2 3 4

Guest Starring Roles

Series Role Episode Airdate
Monty Python's Flying Circus Lumberjack's Girl 1x09 - The Ant, an Introduction December 14, 1969
Monty Python's Flying Circus Rosamund 1x12 - The Naked Ant January 4, 1970
Monty Python's Flying Circus Petula Wilcox 2x05 - Live from the Grill-o-mat October 27, 1970
Monty Python's Flying Circus Second Mustachioed Juror 3x01 - Whicker's World October 19, 1972
Monty Python's Flying Circus "No! Don't Touch It!" Cartoon Voice 3x06 - The War Against Pornography November 23, 1972
Monty Python's Flying Circus Ophelia 4x04 - Hamlet November 21, 1974
Lenny Henry Tonite Guest 1x03 - Gronk Zillman September 18, 1986
Worlds Beyond 1x01 - Voice from the Gallows October 10, 1986
Bergerac Monica McLeod 5x02 - Winner Takes All January 10, 1987
The Tomorrow People Doctor Connor 2x01 - The Culex Experiment (1) January 4, 1994
The Tomorrow People Doctor Connor 2x03 - The Culex Experiment (3) January 18, 1994
The Tomorrow People Doctor Connor 2x04 - The Culex Experiment (4) January 25, 1994
The Tomorrow People Doctor Connor 2x05 - The Culex Experiment (5) February 1, 1994
The Buccaneers (mini) Miss March 1x01 - Invasion February 5, 1995
The Buccaneers (mini) Miss March 1x02 - Conquest February 12, 1995
The Buccaneers (mini) Miss March 1x04 - Capture February 26, 1995
The Buccaneers (mini) Miss March 1x05 - Plunder March 5, 1995

Specials and Made-for-TV Movies

Title Role Airdate Series/Banner
How to Irritate People Various characters January 21, 1969
Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus Various characters January 3, 1972 Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus
Spaghetti Two Step February 27, 1977
The Mermaid Frolics Various characters September 10, 1977 The Secret Policeman's Ball
Off to Philadelphia in the Morning Jane Parry September 12, 1978
Thank You Comrades Annie December 19, 1978
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? Sylvia Bassington-ffrench March 30, 1980
Deadly Game Helen Trapp 1982
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles Laura Lyons November 3, 1983
Nairobi Affair Mrs. Gardener October 17, 1984
Past Caring Linda 1985
Rocket to the Moon Belle Stark May 5, 1986
Every Breath You Take Imogen 1987
The Return of Sherlock Holmes Violet January 10, 1987
The World of Eddie Weary Madge 1990
For the Greater Good Naomi Balliol March 20, 1991
Smack and Thistle Ms Kane May 1991
Faith Pat Harbinson September 7, 1994

Notable Film Roles

Writer

Staff Writer

Series Year(s) Season(s)
Fawlty Towers 1975-1979 1 2

Notable Films Written

Creator

Memorable Moments

  • Fawlty Towers
    • 1x03 - The Wedding Party: Basil Fawlty catches Polly kissing a guest, and he assumes she is having an affair. In fact, the guest is the stepfather of an old college friend. Basil nearly fires Polly, until Sybil tells him the truth.
    • 1x05 - Gourmet Night: With the chef drunk on the night of a gourmet dinner thrown for the elite of Torquay, Polly desperately tries to tell Basil the situation without alarming the guests. "He's potted... the shrimps," she tells Basil. "He's soused!... The herrings. ... He's pickled... the onions, and he's smashed... the eggs in his cups... under the table!"
    • 2x01 - Communication Problems: Sybil has seen Polly counting money Basil won on a horse, which Basil is forbidden to do. To protect Basil, Polly claims it is her money, but when Sybil asks Polly the name of the horse, Basil and Polly engage in a furious game of charades until Polly comes up with the name "Dragonfly."