Connie Booth

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Connie Booth
A black and white image of Booth with what appears to be a veil on her head.
OccupationWriter, actress, comedian, psychotherapist
Years active1968–1995
John Cleese
(m. 1968; div. 1978)

John Lahr (m. 2000)
ChildrenCynthia Cleese

Connie Booth (born 1939/40[1] or 1941[2][3] or 1944)[4] is an American-born writer, actress, comedian and psychotherapist based in Britain. She has appeared in several British television programmes and films, including her role as Polly Sherman on BBC2's Fawlty Towers, which she co-wrote with her then-husband John Cleese.

For 30 years Booth declined to talk about Fawlty Towers until she agreed to participate in a documentary about the series for the digital channel Gold in 2009.[5]

Early life[edit]

Booth's father was a Wall Street stock broker and her mother an actress. They moved to New York State after Connie's birth in Indianapolis, Indiana.[4][6] Booth entered acting and worked as a Broadway understudy and waitress, meeting John Cleese while he was working in New York City.[6] She married Cleese on February 20, 1968.[7]

Acting career[edit]

Booth secured parts in episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969–74) and in the Python films And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, as a woman accused of being a witch). She also appeared in How to Irritate People (1968), a pre-Monty Python film starring Cleese and other future Monty Python members; a short film titled Romance with a Double Bass (1974) adapted by Cleese from a short story by Anton Chekhov; and The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977), Cleese's Sherlock Holmes spoof, as Mrs. Hudson.

Booth and Cleese went on to write and co-star in Fawlty Towers (1975 and 1979), in which she played waitress and chambermaid Polly.

Booth played various roles on British television, including Sophie in Dickens of London (1976), Mrs. Errol in a BBC adaptation of Little Lord Fauntleroy (1980) and Miss March in a dramatisation of Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers (1995). She also starred in the lead role of a drama called The Story of Ruth (1981), in which she played the role of the schizophrenic daughter of an abusive father, for which she received critical acclaim. In 1994, she played a supporting role in "The Culex Experiment", an episode of the children's science fiction TV series The Tomorrow People.

Psychotherapy career[edit]

Booth ended her acting career in 1995.[6] After studying for five years at London University,[4] she began a career as a psychotherapist, registered with the British Psychoanalytic Council.[4][6][8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1971, Booth and Cleese had a daughter, Cynthia,[4] who appeared alongside her father in the films A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures. Booth and Cleese divorced in 1978.[1] With Cleese, Booth wrote the scripts for and co-starred in both series of Fawlty Towers, even though the two were actually divorced before the second series was finished and aired. Booth's daughter Cynthia married screenwriter Ed Solomon in 1995.[9][10]

Booth married John Lahr, author and former senior drama critic of The New Yorker, in 2000. They live in north London.[6]

Selected filmography[edit]


Year Show Role Notes
1968 How to Irritate People Various characters Television film
1969–1974 Monty Python's Flying Circus Various characters
1972 Dickens of London Sophie
1975, 1979 Fawlty Towers Polly Sherman Also co-creator and writer
1980 Why Didn't They Ask Evans Sylvia Bassington-ffrench Television film
1982 The Deadly Game Helen Trapp Television film
1983 The Hound of the Baskervilles Laura Lyons Television film
1985 Past Caring Linda Television film
1987 The Return of Sherlock Holmes Violet Morstan Television film
1994 The Tomorrow People Doctor Lucy Connoe Episode: "The Culex Experiment"
1995 The Buccaneers Miss March


Year Show Role Notes
1971 And Now for Something Completely Different Various characters
1974 Romance with a Double Bass Princess Costanza
1975 Monty Python and the Holy Grail The Witch
1977 The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It Mrs Hudson / Francine Moriarty
1980 Little Lord Fauntleroy Mrs Errol
1981 The Story of Ruth Ruth
1987 84 Charing Cross Road the Lady from Delaware
1988 High Spirits Marge
1988 Hawks Nurse Jarvis
1991 American Friends Caroline Hartley
1993 Leon the Pig Farmer Yvonne Chadwick


  1. ^ a b "Divorce for Cleese". The Glasgow Herald. September 9, 1978. p. 5. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
  2. ^ Walker, John (2 June 2003). Halliwell's Who's Who in the Movies: 3rd edition. London: HarperCollins, p.58. ISBN 0-00-715085-7.
  3. ^ McFarlane, Brian (May 16, 2016). The Encyclopedia of British Film: Fourth edition. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781526111968 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b c d e Smith, Sean. "Don't mention the classic comedy series". Camden New Journal. London Borough of Camden. Archived from the original on January 20, 2004.
  5. ^ Parker, Robin (March 23, 2009). "Gold to reopen Fawlty Towers". Broadcastnow. Archived from the original on March 26, 2009. Retrieved March 23, 2009.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ a b c d e Milmo, Cahal (May 25, 2007). "Life after Polly: Connie Booth (a case of Fawlty memory syndrome)". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on May 2, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  7. ^ "John Cleese Biography (1939–)". Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  8. ^ "Fawlty Towers: Where are they now?". UKTV Gold. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  9. ^ Cate, Hans ten (February 12, 1997). "NEWS 1997_02_12 – John Cleese Shoots Daughter Cynthia". Daily Llama. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  10. ^ "THE SOCIAL SCENE – A Cleese Wedding Held Away From the 'Fawlty' Line / British comedian's daughter marries in the Napa Valley". SFGate. September 18, 1995. Retrieved March 3, 2019.

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