Connie Booth is an American-born actor, author, comedian, and psychotherapist. As an actor, she is best known for playing ‘Polly Sherman’ in ‘BBC2’s ‘Fawlty Towers,’ which she co-wrote with her then-husband, John Cleese. Booth has played various roles on British TV. She has portrayed ‘Sophie’ in ‘Dickens of London’ (1976), ‘Mrs. Errol’ in a ‘BBC’s ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ (1980), ‘Doctor Lucy Connoe’ in ‘The Tomorrow People,’ and ‘Miss March’ in a dramatization of Edith Wharton's ‘The Buccaneers’ (1995). She also appeared in a number of films such as ‘And Now for Something Completely Different’ (1971), ‘Romance with a Double Bass’ (1974), ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ (1975), and ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ (1980). She starred in the lead role of ‘Ruth,’ a schizophrenic daughter of an abusive father in the 1981 film ‘The Story of Ruth.’ Some of her other notable films of the 1980s are ‘84 Charing Cross Road’ (1987), ‘High Spirits’ (1988), and ‘Hawks’ (1988). Her last film, ‘Leon the Pig Farmer,’ was released in 1993. Her last appearance was in the TV film ‘The Buccaneers’ in 1995. After ending her acting career, Bonnie studied in London to become a psychotherapist.
Childhood & Early Life
Connie was born Constance Booth, on January 31, 1944, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Booth’s father was a ‘Wall Street’ stockbroker, and her mother was an actor.
Connie belonged to a well-to-do family. The family moved to New York soon after Connie’s birth. As she grew up, Connie worked as a ‘Broadway’ understudy in New York.
She also worked as a server to support herself. During this time, she met her future husband, John Cleese.
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Her hard work and dedication eventually paid off when she finally got her big break. In 1968, she played various characters in a TV film called ‘How to Irritate People.’
She played various characters in the British sketch-comedy series ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus.’ The series ran from 1969 to 1974.
She played her first major role in the TV miniseries ‘Dickens of London’ in 1972. The series featured her as ‘Sophie’ and was based on the life of popular novelist Charles Dickens.
She co-wrote (with John Cleese) and starred in the ‘BBC2’ sitcom ‘Fawlty Towers’ in 1975 and 1979. The sitcom consisted of 12 episodes. The series featured her as ‘Polly Sherman.’
It was ranked number one on a list curated by the ‘British Film Institute’ in 2000. John and Connie were married when the first season was aired but had divorced before the second season was recorded.
In 1980, she played ‘Sylvia Bassington-French’ in another TV film, ‘Why Didn’t They Ask Evans.’
In 1982, she portrayed ‘Helen Trapp’ in the thriller TV film ‘The Deadly Game.’ In 1983, she played ‘Laura Lyons’ in the British TV film ‘The Hounds of Baskerville.’
The film was based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s book of the same name. She continued to appear in TV films such as ‘Past Caring’ (1985) and ‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’ (1987).
In 1994, she appeared in an episode of the British children’s science-fiction show ‘The Tomorrow People.’ She played ‘Doctor Lucy Connoe’ in an episode titled ‘The Culex Experiment.’
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Her last screen appearance was for ‘The Buccaneers’ in 1995. She played ‘Miss March’ in the series.
As a film actor, she started with the 1971 film ‘And Now for Something Completely Different,’ a sketch-comedy film based on the TV series ‘Monty Phython’s Flying Circus.’
In 1974, she portrayed the role of ‘Princess Costanza’ in the British short comedy ‘Romance with a Double Bass.’ In 1975, she played ‘The Witch’ in the slapstick comedy ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’
In 1977, she played ‘Mrs. Hudson’ and ‘Francine Moriarty’ in ‘The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It,’ a low-budget spoof of the ‘Sherlock-Holmes’ detective series. John Cleese starred as the lead in the film.
In 1980, she played ‘Mrs. Errol’ in the film adaptation of the children’s novel ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy.’ She starred in the lead role in the drama film ‘The Story of Ruth.’ The film featured her as ‘Ruth,’ a schizophrenic daughter of an abusive father. She received critical acclaim for her portrayal.
She also made an appearance in the 1987 film ‘84 Charing Cross Road.’ In 1988, she played ‘Marge’ in the fantasy film ‘High Spirits,’ which starred Steve Guttenberg, Daryl Hannah, Beverly D’Angelo, and Liam Neeson in lead roles.
The same year, she played ‘Nurse Jarvis’ in the British comedy film ‘Hawks.’ She played ‘Caroline Hartley’ in the film ‘American Friends’ (1991).
Her last movie role was that of ‘Yvonne Chadwick’ in the 1993 comedy film ‘Neon the Pig Farmer.’
Other Major Works
Booth quit the film industry in 1995 to begin a career as a psychotherapist. She studied for five years at the ‘London University’ and started working as a psychotherapist in London after registering with the ‘British Psychoanalytic Council.’
Booth and Cleese got married on February 20, 1968. In 1971, they had a daughter, Cynthia.
The couple divorced in 1978. However, Booth and Cleese continued to be good friends after their divorce and even co-wrote the script of the second season of ‘Fawlty Towers.’
Their daughter, Cynthia, made appearances in films such as ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ (1988) and ‘Fierce Creatures’ (1997). Cynthia married screenwriter Ed Solomon in 1992.
Booth married John Lahr in 2000. John is an author and a former senior drama critic of ‘The New Yorker.’
She currently lives in north London with John.