Billy Connolly
Biographical Information
Born November 24, 1942
Birthplace Anderston, Glasgow, Scotland
Gender Male
Years Active 1975-Present
Role Thomas Bell
Season Season 8
Episode Love is Blind
Billy 1

Billy Connolly, courtesy Jemma Lambert, via Wikipedia

William "Billy" Connolly Jr., CBE is a Scottish comedian, musician and actor. He has finished at the top of two polls chosing the United Kingdom's greatest stand-up comedian. A household name in the U.K., he has had less exposure to North American audiences, but has an extensive resume in many films and television programs in the United States. On House, M.D., he portrayed Thomas Bell, the man Gregory House believed for forty years was his biological father, in the Season 8 episode Love is Blind.

Connolly got his nickname "The Big Yin" (The Big One) well before he became a performer. As a teenager, he outgrew his father and to tease him when people talked which Billy they meant, they would usually answer "The Big Yin" and receive the reply "Ah, Wee Billy!".

Originally a welder and military reservist, Connolly became a full-time folk musician in the 1960s and formed the duo "The Humblebums" with Tam Harvey, but later Harvey was replaced by Gerry Rafferty, who went on to have an outstanding solo career. However, by the late 1960s, Connolly was also working comedic interludes into his music and, a few years later, developed a style of multi-layered seemingly rambling monologues that Inception like all became tied together at the end. He was soon the best known entertainer in his native Scotland, and his fame spread throughout the Scottish diaspora in Canada, Australia and the rest of the world. In 1971, he appeared on Britain's best known talk show, Parkinson, which quickly made him a hit throughout the U.K. His career in comedy continued with the release of solo comedy albums, television appearances and movie roles.

However, despite his fame in the U.K., he was virtually unknown (except to Scottish people) in the United States. However, in 1981, he appeared in The Secret Policeman's Other Ball, which together with other Amnesty International benefit performances, was packaged together as a film which finally was released in North America, earning him a small but loyal following. However, success in the United States came slowly as writers and producers had difficulty building around Connolly's bawdy, rambling, heavily accented persona.

In 1989 he married his second wife, Pamela Stephenson, a former sketch comedienne who similarly had difficulty translating her success in England (Not The Nine O'Clock News) into a career in the United States (Superman III, Saturday Night Live). Stephenson retired from show business and continues to work as a psychologist.

Connolly finally got his chance in 1990 when he replaced Howard Hesseman on Head of the Class. However, Connolly was barely recognizable and only lasted one season. His next show, Billy, lasted only thirteen episodes before being cancelled. However, although Connally never established himself in a leading role, he was in great demand as a character actor and found regular work in Hollywood in a variety of roles. He has been featured in Absolution, The Kenny Everett Video Show, Pocahontas, Muppet Treasure Island, Deacon Brodie, Middleton's Changeling, Still Crazy, The Boondock Saints, Who is Cletis Tout?, Prince Charming, The Man Who Sued God, White Oleander, Timeline, The Last Samurai, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Fido, Open Season, The X Files: I Want to Believe and will be in the upcoming The Hobbit.

Connolly is also one of the most honored comedians in England, holding three honorary doctorates as well as being appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (one rank above Hugh Laurie, who holds an OBE).


Official Web Site

Billy Connolly at IMDB

Billy Connolly at Wikipedia

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