Tuesday 22 October 2019

Sir Billy Connolly leaves the door open to stage return

The Big Yin, as he is affectionately known as, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013.

Sir Billy Connolly has left the door open on a potential return to live performing (Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Sir Billy Connolly has left the door open on a potential return to live performing (Yui Mok/PA Wire)

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

Sir Billy Connolly has left the door open to a stage return, but admitted he is not yet ready to perform live.

The comedian, 76, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013 and announced his retirement from live performing five years later.

During his glittering stand-up career, Sir Billy, known affectionately as The Big Yin, was famous for his energetic presence on stage.

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Sir Billy Connolly has left the door open on a potential stage return (John Stillwell/PA)

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include decreased mobility and difficulty speaking, leaving him unable to perform as he had in his pomp.

Sir Billy has now mentioned the possibility of one last performance, but seemed doubtful it would be in the immediate future.

He told the BBC: “I may do another gig, I don’t know, I haven’t cancelled that idea. But not right now, I’m not ready.

“I feel different, my mind works differently. I don’t know if I can do it with my mind in the state that it’s in.

“And I drool. This is a recent one. It’s another gorgeous side of Parkinson’s disease. There’s a little surprise every month.”

Sir Billy, who underwent minor surgery for prostate cancer around the time he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, remains defiant about his health.

“I’m old, I’m 76 – my hearing, my eyesight, the way I walk, it’s all beginning to fail,” the Glasgow-born former welder said.

“It’s just about accepting what it is. You’ve got trouble getting into bed, trouble getting your socks on.

“Just deal with it. That’s who you are now. You’re a drooling, limping has-been! Get on with it. Enjoy it.”

Sir Billy spoke movingly about his illness in a BBC documentary in January, as he reflected on his life and career in showbusiness, which has spanned six decades.

Speaking of death, he said: “But it doesn’t frighten me, it’s an adventure and it is quite interesting to see myself slipping away.”

PA Media

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