Connie Booth

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Connie Booth
A black and white image of Booth with what appears to be a veil on her head.
Booth in the 1970s
Born Constance Booth
(1944-01-31) January 31, 1944 (age 74)
Occupation Actress
Notable work Fawlty Towers

Constance "Connie" Booth (born 31 January 1944)[1] is an American-born writer, actress, comedian and psychotherapist based in England, best known for appearances on British television and particularly for her portrayal of Polly Sherman in the popular 1970s television show Fawlty Towers, which she co-wrote with her then-husband John Cleese.


Early life

Booth's father was a Wall Street stock broker and her mother was an actress who had moved to the state of New York after Connie Booth's birth in Indianapolis, Indiana.[1][2] Booth entered acting and worked as a Broadway understudy and waitress, meeting John Cleese while he was working in New York City.[2] She married Cleese in New York on February 20, 1968.[3]


Booth secured parts in episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969–1974) and in the Python films And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), as a woman accused of being a witch. She also appeared in How to Irritate People (1965), a pre-Monty Python film starring Cleese and other future Monty Python members; a short film titled Romance with a Double Bass (1974) adapted by Cleese from a short story by Anton Chekhov; and The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977), Cleese's Sherlock Holmes spoof, as Mrs. Hudson.

Booth and Cleese went on to write and co-star in Fawlty Towers (1975, 1979), in which she played waitress and chambermaid Polly, perhaps her most memorable role.

Booth played various roles on British television, including Sophie in Dickens of London (1976), Mrs Errol in a BBC adaptation of Little Lord Fauntleroy (1980), and Miss March in a dramatisation of Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers (1995). She also starred in the lead role of a drama called The Story of Ruth (1981), in which she played the role of the schizophrenic daughter of an abusive father, for which she received critical acclaim. In 1994, she played a supporting role in "The Culex Experiment", an episode of the children's science fiction TV series The Tomorrow People.

Booth ended her acting career in 1995.[2] After studying for five years at London University,[1] she began a career as a London psychotherapist, registered with the British Psychoanalytic Council.[1][2][4] For 30 years Booth had declined to talk about Fawlty Towers until she agreed to participate in a documentary about the series for the digital channel Gold in 2009.[5]

Personal life

In 1971, Booth and Cleese had a daughter, Cynthia,[1] who appeared alongside her father in the films A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures. Booth and Cleese divorced in 1978,[6] but have remained close friends.[7]

Booth married John Lahr, author and former senior drama critic of The New Yorker, in 2000. They live in north London.[2]

Selected filmography


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Smith, Sean. "Don't mention the classic comedy series". Camden New Journal. London Borough of Camden. Archived from the original on January 20, 2004.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Milmo, Cahal (25 May 2007). "Life after Polly: Connie Booth (a case of Fawlty memory syndrome)". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on May 2, 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "John Cleese Biography (1939-)". Retrieved 2013-11-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Fawlty Towers: Where are they now?". UKTV Gold. Archived from the original on November 21, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Parker, Robin (23 March 2009). "Gold to reopen Fawlty Towers". Broadcastnow. Retrieved 23 March 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Divorce for Cleese". The Glasgow Herald. September 9, 1978. p. 5. Retrieved 16 November 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Hoyle, Antonia (21 July 2008). "Our divorceymoon! What happened when Cleese and Winner invaded Switzerland on a six-day road trip". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2008-08-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links