Billy Connolly discusses Parkinson’s and cancer diagnoses
Billy Connolly, 78, announced earlier this year he was going to be retiring from his role as a stand-up comedian after 50 years in the showbiz arena. This evening, a number of celebrities will pay tribute to the icon as he shares intimate details of his life on the road in a new ITV documentary. One of them is actress and singer Sheridan, 39, who has explained why she is so devastated the British icon has decided to bid farewell to his career.
Earlier this year, the Cilla star gave birth to her first child with fiancé Jamie Horn and it wasn’t until two months later Sheridan revealed his name to the world; Billy.
And in a preview clip from the emotional and hour-long documentary focusing on the stand-up comic’s life, the singer explains why she chose this name for her son.
Paying tribute to the 78-year-old via FaceTime, the mother-of-one says: “I named my son after Billy, named after Billy Connolly.”
Watching the message on a device, the feature star of the documentary is seen beaming over his touching link to the youngster.
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Responding to Sheridan’s tribute, the comedian replies: “Oh, great,” knowing he made such an impact on the actresses life.
After admitting to her son’s connection to Billy, the actress is overcome with emotion as she begins to tear up at the thought of the British icon retiring from the showbiz world.
Billy has decided to retire from stand-up after his last performance on the stage in front of a live audience was more than two years ago.
It comes after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease back in 2013, a condition which leads to regressive mobility and difficulty speaking.
This evening’s documentary will be the last the British icon features in as he brings an end to his half a Century in the spotlight.
I named my son after Billy
Speaking from his home in Florida, the comedian will be joined by his wife Pamela Stephenson, 71, as she too reflects on her life with her husband.
A-list stars such as Russell Brand, 45, Sir Elton John, 73, and Whoopi Goldberg, 64, will also be making appearances alongside Sheridan.
Sir Paul McCartney, 78, and actor Dustin Hoffman, 83, will also share their memories of working with the stand-up comedian.
The father-of-five is known by many names, such as Big Yin to fans, but it seems he is known by another synonym to friend and chart-topper Elton.
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Speaking to ITV ahead of the hour-long documentary reflecting on his life, Billy explained why the singer knows him as Maureen.
The stand-up comedian said: “I supported him on his 1976 US tour and Elton gave everybody girl’s names.
“I was Maureen because of Maureen Connolly, the tennis player. He still calls me that today,” the father-of-five continued.
“Davey Johnstone the guitarist was Veronica because he had long hair like Veronica Lake. It was a crazy tour. That was probably my peak rock star period but it was absolutely wonderful.”
Offering his own tribute to the comedian, Elton says in the special programme dedicated to his friend: “He’s had an incredible life.
“When he looks back on his life, he’ll be extremely proud of what he’s done,” he continues, with Lenny Henry, 62, also paying tribute to his colleague.
“To think we won’t be able to see a new idea pop into his mind whilst he’s doing something else and not see one of his brilliant diversions, that’s going to be a loss.
“There are not many who leave a mark. There aren’t that many where you go, ‘That’s a Billy Connellyism,’” he adds.
Billy Connolly; It’s Been a Pleasure airs tonight at 9:30pm on ITV.
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