Sir William (Billy) Connolly

1942 -

Comedian, actor and TV personality. Born in Anderston (Glasgow), Connolly began as a welder in a Clyde ship-yard. He developed an interest in folk music, becoming an accomplished banjo-player and member of a folk band, but it was from the jokes he told between songs that he was to make his name. Inspired by Scottish comedian and entertainer Jimmy Logan (1928 - 2001), Connolly began a career in stand-up comedy.

Known as "The Big Yin", Connolly became a noted television comedian and has starred in a number of one-man shows. He also appeared in the U.S. situation-comedy Head of the Class (1990).

Illustrating his versatility, he won critical acclaim for his role as Queen Victoria's companion in the film Mrs. Brown (1997). He took the lead in the television movie Deacon Brodie (1997) and has had significant roles in other films such as Still Crazy (1998), The Boondock Saints (1999), White Oleander (2002) and The Last Samurai (2003). He has also made two light-hearted documentary series for the BBC, illustrating a very personal exploration of Scotland and Australia.

Connolly was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Glasgow (2001) and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (2006). He was awarded a CBE in 2003, made given the Freedom of the City of Glasgow (2010) and knighted in 2017.

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