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Billy Connolly

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  3,905 ratings  ·  201 reviews
The inside story of the one of the most successful British stand-up comedians, as told by the person best qualified to reveal all about the man behind the comic, his wife of over 20 years – Pamela Stephenson.


Once in a lifetime, there strides upon the stage someone who can truly be called a legend. Such a person is the inimitable, timeless genius who is Billy Connolly. His
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Paperback, 384 pages
Published 2002 by HarperCollins (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,905 ratings  ·  201 reviews


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Lou
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Billy, it's really sad that his last few TV appearances have shown the state of his health. It's really quite upsetting to see. I struggle to laugh even once during any comedy based programmes on nowadays, I just don't find most recent comics humorous, there are a few exceptions but they don't compare to that good old fashioned humour. I love this man! This book got me through a spell in hospital and was just what I needed.
Julie
Jul 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: women-words-wine
My bookclub suggested (along with the 'official' book to read over the summer holidays) we all choose an autobiography to read. I had 'Billy' on my bookshelf and decided on that. I thought I may be a convert to biographies/autobiographies when delving into the first few chapters. These conveyed an eye-opening insight into the poor and harsh tenement living in Glasgow, Scotland where Billy grew up.

Unfortunately, for me the book was spoilt (slightly) by the writer, Billy's wife, Pamela Stephenson
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Deena
Had this book for ages and finally got round to reading it and it didn't disappoint but was shocked to hear about Billy's life as a child and am full of admiration that he has come through it all sane (well if sane is what you'd call Billy Connolly !!!!)Really good book
Laura
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great story filled with everyday life lessons. Laugh out loud and cry at the same time.
Deborah Biancotti
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writer-women, non-fic
I'd been warned this wasn't a funny read, so that bit wasn't surprising -- although the very *dryness* of the book was (a result of Stephenson's somewhat cold, academic prose). Regardless, and despite being a Connelly fan already, I finished the book with a real warmth towards its subject. I wanted to rush up & give Connelly a big hug, tell him I was sorry there was so much sadness & horror in his childhood, & wish him all the very, very, *very* best.

Stephenson at one point remarks that audience
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Enya-Marie
Passively interesting but not inspiring, this biography had the potential to be great if it had kept up its pace and had injected just a little humour into Billy's eccentric life to give it some of the vibrant colour he's known for.

Pros:
– How much the author, Pamela Stephenson, loved her husband Billy Connolly shone through the entire book, in the more dry parts, it was the backbone that kept the pages turning.
– The book feels heartbreakingly honest.

Cons:
– There was next to no humour in this boo
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Kerri
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The first time I tried to read this I couldn't get into it at all so I approached it this time with a little trepidation, which proved to be unnecessary as I found myself completely caught up in it. Billy Connolly's life is certainly fascinating and often tragic. His childhood was very difficult and it is inspiring to read about the various ways he found to channel that into comedy and other creative pursuits.
Miranda
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
a first-hand look at growing up in extreme poverty and overcoming physical, mental and sexual abuse. the scars this leaves behind become clear in adult life; a wonderful portrayal of a man I greatly admire for his wit and intelligence.
Laura Zlogar
I love Billy Connolly. And this book provides lots of the painful facts of his upbringing in the tenements of Glasgow. Written by his wife, The book reads like an elaboration of his diaries and journals of tours, friends, hotels, and career. But it isn’t a particularly well written book. Pamela Stephenson’s degree in psychology doesn’t provide much insight into the trauma that was Billy’s life.
Lillian White
Jan 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I think Billy Connolly is a gifted comedian and a decent actor, and I have enjoyed his 'on the road' documentaries too. All of these are referred to in the book, naturally. However, it is something of a book of two halves, at least that is what struck me whilst reading.

Written by his wife Pamela Stephenson, the first 'half' of the book focuses in some detail on Billy's early years and upbringing, and later his life in the dockyards and his stepping onto the scene, so to speak, as a folk singer/c
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Monica
Nov 29, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I've read several pages and have already laughed out loud a few times.
12/5/08 I purchased this at Manchester airport, the final stop of an Incredible String Band tour of Birmingham, Liverpool, Northampton, Cambridge, Oxford, Leichester, Beverly, New Castle, and Edinburgh to learn more about Billy Connolly, and more about his friendship with Robin Williamson. If you have similar intentions, this is *not* the book for you. Billy's young family life was painful to read about, but he's a survivor.
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Amy (Lost in a Good Book)
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, non-fiction
This is great biography of the best comedian by the most suitable person. Who better than Billy's own wife to write a well deserved and respectful biography.

When I read this it was before I really got into Billy Connolly. I had seen a few bits and pieces and loved what I saw but I didn't have access to see anything else. Reading this book gave me so many more insights into his life and work and made me respect him all the more.

Billy's life was not perfect by any means and he had a rough upbringi
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Jenny
Dec 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes to laugh with Billy.
I approached this book tentatively - a psychotherapist writing (analysing?)about her husband, but seeing Billy Connolly on the final Parkinson show compelled me to find out a little more about this man who could make me laugh so hard.

The structure of the book is interesting, with a vignette from the present introducing a segment of the past.

I particularly enjoyed the voice of the author which related Billy's story without imposing her own judgements.

The book revealed a gifted human being who liv
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Haldoor42
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Loved this! I recently read Braveheart, the 2nd biography of Billy by his wife, Pamela, so I knew I had to read this one.

Billy had a difficult childhood, and then went to work in his teens, but slowly he moved away from his original welding job and ended up in firstly, a folk group, and then, eventually - as we all know - he became a world-famous comedian. This book tells the story of all that and more; it's filled with heart-wrenching sadness, gut-busting laughs, and a bunch of other stuff that
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Barbra
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a great book about one of my very favourite comedians.

Back Cover Blurb:
Who is the real Billy Connolly? He's the man who needs no introduction, and yet he is the ultimate enigma. From a troubled and desperately poor childhood in the docklands of Glasgow he is now the intimate of household names the world over. But who is the man behind the myth?
If anyone knows Billy Connolly better than himself, its his wife, Pamela Stephenson.
Andy Marshall
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant biography, all the more insightful for being written by Billy's wife and a psychologist no less! Highly readable, like Billy's stand up the narrative has the intimate feel of being sat in a pub with the subject, telling stories and funny anecdotes, each interspersed with Billy's own reflections and self-debasing comments.
If you're a fan of Billy Connolly then this book truly is a must-read and time well spent
Jeanius
Nov 04, 2009 rated it liked it
This biography of Billy Connolly, written by his wife, is not half as good as it could have been if it had been done as an autobiography by Billy himself. Having said that, it is a good read with an insight into the comedian's early life among the tenements of Glasgow and plenty of pithy quotes from the man himself along the way.
Alison
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Started well, but ended up as my mum said "reading like a CV". I really like Billy Connelly. But found this book slow and a bit boring. Could have been half the length and a much more enjoyable read. As a psychologist it would have been far more interesting if she focused on the influencers at the time in Scotland when Billy was growing up.
Sam
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting read. Billy has had some quite amazing experiences in his life and they are well analysed by his wife, Pamela.
Mat
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The subject is interesting and funny, unlike the author, who is the comedian's wife.
Geoff Sheehan
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the book. Billy is a unique human.
TreforL
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Big Yin's childhood combined abuse, neglect and poverty, a story told with page-turning compassion by his wife, who goes on to chronicle his rise to fame and fortune until 2002. The chapters covering the folk scene and Billy's partnership with Gerry Rafferty were amazing. I thought the sequences when he was well-known would be less interesting, but they weren't. It was all very enthralling. One of the best biographies I've ever read.
Suzanne
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this book years ago when it first came out. While I loved reading about Billies early life, I would have much rather heard it in his own words, with all the humour he could have brought to it.
It featured too much about the author, and turned into a name dropping excercise, mentioning all the famous people they knew. Disappointing.

Sliminpoolegmail.Com
A personal and professional insight into the life of Billy Connolly from the person who possibly knows him best, Pamela Stephenson. Alongside the words there are photos from the family album of his life.

Described as 'A welder who got away with it'? Personally I prefer to think of him as a comedian, actor and observer of life who for a while was trapped in a welders body.
Alison
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Not a bad bio, not much in the laughs department, considering the subject, but some interesting facts that I didn't know from all the interviews etc. I also liked the ending, a really nice set of words of wisdom from Billy. A little bit of the Psychology from Pam about why Billy is who he is, but still, if you are a fan, a must in the reading cannon.
Chris
First of all, I'm going to have a little moan.

Sometimes, before reading a book, I will look through a few reviews, mainly to get an overall opinion. It annoys me to the core when, after reading a few reviews of said autobiography, how many people complain that the star/comedian/actor (delete as appropriate), 'name-dropped' too many times. Well of course they name-dropped. Famous people will hang about with other famous people, just as you will hang about with the people that you have things in c
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Belinda
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book, interesting life. Lucky it was a book as I still can’t understand a word Billy says. But people tell me he’s funny, when he isn’t swearing.
Heather
Feb 27, 2008 rated it liked it
I picked this book up at random hardly knowing who Billy Connolly was. I've seen him in movies and various media, but didn't know anything about him. The book is by his wife, Pamela Stephenson, formerly of Saturday Night Live, now with a PhD in psychology.

What an interesting life he has led! His childhood was horribly abusive--almost every adult with a major role in his life abandoned him or physically, sexually, or mentally abused him. At least he eventually got into a school with supportive t
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Libby
Apr 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy
I had no idea that Billy had such a tough upbringing. I found myself getting quite emotional whilst reading about his childhood. It was fanastic to gain an insight into where his humour comes from even though at times his wifes description of things was a wee bit condescending and irritating - though I have trouble with many psychological theories (and Psychologists in general)despite having a couple of degrees on the subject myself.

Throughout the course of the book I found myself liking Billy
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Nancy
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. A look into the background and mind of an amazing comedian. Billy Connolly is truly one of those rare free spirits that can be born out of pain and an amazingly different way of looking at every day things. He has a gift. He and Robin Williams really seem to be in a world all their own and they invite us in once in awhile. You will laugh a lot. You will cry 2 or 3 times. But you will certainly come away with the impression that anyone can overcome their childhoods if they find health ...more
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Dr Pamela Helen Stephenson Connolly (born 4 December 1949) is a New Zealand-born Australian clinical psychologist and writer now resident in the United Kingdom. She is best known for her work as an actress and comedian during the 1980s. She has written several books, which include a biography of her husband Billy Connolly, and presents a psychology-based interview show called Shrink Rap on British ...more

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