Tony Booth (actor)

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Tony Booth
Anthony George Booth

(1931-10-09)9 October 1931
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died25 September 2017(2017-09-25) (aged 85)
Todmorden, Yorkshire, England
Years active1960–2010
Gale Smith
(m. 1954, divorced)
(m. 1986; died 1986)
Nancy Jaeger
(m. 1988; div. 1996)
Stephanie Buckley
(m. 1998)
Children8, including Cherie and Lauren

Anthony George Booth (9 October 1931 – 25 September 2017) was an English actor, best known for his role as Mike Rawlins in the BBC series Till Death Us Do Part. He was the father-in-law of former prime minister Tony Blair and the widower of Coronation Street star Pat Phoenix, having married her a few days before her death in 1986.

Early life[edit]

Booth was born into a working-class family in Jubilee Road, Liverpool, in 1931 and raised Catholic.[1] His mother was a Roman Catholic of Irish descent; his father, who worked as a merchant seaman during the Second World War, was a Catholic convert. Tony Booth attended St Edmund's Infants School and spent a year in hospital as a child with diphtheria. He then passed the Eleven-plus examination and attended St Mary's College, Crosby, where he was awarded a bursary to cover the cost of his books.[2]

His hopes of going 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.[3]


Booth developed a taste for acting when posted in the Army to SHAPE in Paris.[4] He spent five years in repertory theatre, before appearing in films and television during the 1960s.[4] He played roles in over twenty films, including The L-Shaped Room (1962), Corruption (1968), The Girl with a Pistol (1968), Brannigan (1975), Priest (1994) and Owd Bob (1997).[2] He appeared early in the run of the 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.[1]

Booth 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.[5] These were Confessions of a Window Cleaner, Confessions of a Pop Performer, Confessions of a Driving Instructor and Confessions from a Holiday Camp.[5]

From 1985 to 1986, Booth appeared as pub landlord Ted Pilkington in the short-lived ITV soap Albion Market.[6] He starred in the 1998 short film The Duke, playing an elderly man who tells his adoring grandson that he is John Wayne.[2] In 2001, Booth appeared in several episodes of Family Affairs playing Barry Hurst, Sadie Hargreaves' brother-in-law.[5]

Booth played a tramp named Nobby Stuart in a special two-hander episode of EastEnders.[7] In 2007, he also played a tramp called Errol Michaels in Emmerdale.[5] Each of these characters played the purpose of a spiritual guide to a down-and-out character: in EastEnders Alfie Moon (played by Shane Richie), and in Emmerdale Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw).[8]

Personal life[edit]

Booth was married four times and had eight daughters by five women. By his first wife Gale Howard, he had two daughters, Cherie and Lyndsey.[6] Cherie, a King's Counsel, is married to the former Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair. While Booth was a long-standing supporter of the Labour Party, his politics differed from those of his daughter and her husband.[7]

With his third wife, Nancy Jaeger, he had a daughter, Joanna.[5]

Booth had five other daughters with partners he did not marry. He left Gale, his first wife, in 1961 for Julia Allan, with whom he had two daughters Jenia and Bronwen.[7] He had a daughter, Lucy Thomas, in 1967 with Ann Gannon, who worked in radio sales, after a brief relationship; this did not become known publicly until 2002.[9] His relationship with Pamela Smith, which began in the 1960s, lasted 13 years; the couple had Booth's other two daughters, Emma and Lauren Booth, a broadcaster and journalist.[7] Booth's grandchildren include Euan Blair and Nicky Blair.

Booth nearly burned to death in November 1979 when, during a drunken attempt to get into his locked flat, he fell into a drum of paraffin.[7] He spent six months in hospital and needed 26 skin graft operations.[7] Shortly after his discharge 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. Phoenix's own health subsequently declined, and the pair married a few days before her death from lung cancer in 1986.[7]

In a rebuke to the British government's treatment of pensioners, Booth retired to Blacklion, County Cavan, in Ireland in 2003, but returned and lived in Broadbottom, 10 miles (16 km) east of Manchester.[10] In 2006 he said he was the victim of anti-English bias while living in Ireland.[8]

Booth was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2004. He suffered a stroke in 2010.[11] He also had chronic heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.[12] Booth died on 25 September 2017 at home, aged 85.[2][13]

In March 2019, Booth's widow Steph published the book Married to Alzheimer's: A Life Less Ordinary with Tony Booth, a memoir about her time caring for her husband.[14]



  • Tony Booth, Stroll On (1989)
  • Tony Booth, A Labour of Love (1997)
  • Tony Booth, What's Left? (2002)


  1. ^ a b "Tony Booth, actor and campaigner, dies aged 85". The Guardian. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Actor Tony Booth dies". BBC News. 26 September 2017.
  3. ^ Booth, Tony (1997). Labour of Love. Blake Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85782-181-9.
  4. ^ a b Boyle, Danny (26 September 2017). "Tony Booth, Cherie Blair's father and 'Till Death Us Do Part' actor, Dies at 85". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Tony Booth, father of Cherie Blair and 'Till Death Us Do Part' Actor, Dies at 85". Sky News. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Stuart, Julia (30 September 2006). "Troublesome relatives: The Shameless Booths". The Independent. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Chalmers, Robert (4 December 2005). "Tony Booth: Confessions of a loose cannon". The Independent. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  8. ^ a b Peterkin, Tom (18 August 2006). "'Anti-English bias' ends Booth's Irish idyll". The Daily Telegraph.
  9. ^ "Cherie's sister 'part of my life', says Booth". The Scotsman. 26 May 2002. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Actor Tony Booth, father-in-law of [Sir Tony Blair], Dies at 85". Fox News Channel. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Married to Alzheimer's disease". The Irish Times.
  12. ^ "Tony Booth - star of Till Death Us Do Part and Emmerdale - dies aged 85". 26 September 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Actor Tony Booth, Father-In-Law of Tony Blair, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Associated Press. 26 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Married to Alzheimer's Book Reviews - Books in the Media". Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Tony Booth, English Actor and Father of Tony Blair's Wife, Dies at 85". The Hollywood Reporter. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Till Death Us Do Part and Coronation Street actor Tony Booth dies aged 85". Digital Spy. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017.

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