|Born||Anthony George Booth
9 October 1931
|Spouse(s)||Gale Smith (divorced)
Patricia Phoenix (1986) (her death)
Nancy Jaeger (1988–96) (divorced)
Stephanie Buckley (1998–present)
Booth was born into a working-class family in Jubilee Road, Liverpool. His father was a merchant seaman during World War II; his mother was of Irish descent. He attended St Edmunds Infant's School and spent a year in hospital as a child with diphtheria. He then passed the 11 plus examination and attended St. Mary's College, Crosby, where he was awarded a bursary to cover the cost of his books.
His hopes of being able to progress to university were dashed when he had to leave school and get a job after his father was badly injured in an industrial accident. He then worked as a clerk in a docklands warehouse and at the United States Consulate in Liverpool, before being called up for national service with the Royal Corps of Signals.
Booth developed a taste for acting when posted in the army to SHAPE in Paris. He spent five years honing his acting skills in repertory theatre, before venturing into films and television in the 1960s. Since then he has worked in all three media. He has played roles in over twenty films, including Priest (1994), Owd Bob (1997) and Treasure Island (1999). He appeared in the popular British television series Coronation Street in 1960 and in an episode of The Avengers, but it was his role as the left-wing son-in-law in Till Death Us Do Part (1965) that brought him recognition.
Booth has made guest appearances in many other television series. He starred alongside Robin Askwith in the Confessions of ... British sex comedy film series as Sidney Noggett between 1974 and 1977. Some of the titles included Confessions of a Window Cleaner, Confessions of a Driving Instructor, Confessions of a Pop Performer and Confessions from a Holiday Camp.
From 1985 to 1986, Booth appeared as pub landlord Ted Pilkington in the short-lived ITV soap Albion Market. He starred in the 1998 short film The Duke, playing an elderly man who tells his adoring grandson that he is John Wayne. In 2001, Booth appeared in several episodes of Family Affairs playing Barry Hurst, Sadie Hargreaves' brother-in-law. One of his most recent television appearances was playing a tramp named Nobby Stuart in a special two-hander episode of EastEnders. In 2007, he also played a tramp called Errol Michaels in Emmerdale. Both of these characters have played the purpose of a spiritual guide to a down-and-out character, in EastEnders, Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) and in Emmerdale, Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw).
He has been married four times and has eight daughters. By his first wife Gale Howard he has two daughters, including Cherie, a prominent Queen's Counsel, who is married to former Prime Minister Tony Blair. By his third wife Nancy Jaeger he has a daughter, Joanna. He has five other daughters by partners to whom he was never married, including Lauren Booth, an English broadcaster, journalist and pro-Palestinian activist.
Booth nearly burned to death in 1979 when, during a drunken attempt to get into his locked flat, he fell into a drum of paraffin. He spent six months in hospital and needed 26 skin graft operations. Shortly after his release from hospital, he went to visit an 'old flame', Coronation Street actress Pat Phoenix. She took him in and nursed him back to full health, and they lived together for six years, but eventually, Pat Phoenix's own health began to fail; she became his second wife in 1986, just days before her death from lung cancer.
In a rebuke to the British government's treatment of pensioners, Booth retired to Blacklion, County Cavan, in Ireland, but has since returned and lived in Broadbottom, 10 miles east of Manchester. He currently resides in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.
- Suspect (1960)
- Pit of Darkness (1961)
- The Valiant (1962)
- Mix Me a Person (1962)
- The L-Shaped Room (1962)
- The Hi-Jackers (1963)
- Till Death Us Do Part (1969)
- Brannigan (1975)
- The Duke (1998)
- Gone to the Dogs (2006)
- Tony Booth, Stroll On (1989)
- Tony Booth, A Labour of Love (1997)
- Tony Booth, What's Left? (2002)
- Tony Booth (1997). Labour of Love. Blake Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85782-181-9.
- "Till rows do us part!". Daily Mail. 15 October 2011. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
- Madera Tribune Tuesday, August 22, 2006. Tony Blair and John Wilkes Booth, by Bill Coate