Sir Billy Connolly 'No Longer Recognises Close Friends'

Scottish comedy legend Sir Billy Connolly 'no longer recognises close friends', according to his long-time friend, TV presenter Sir Michael Parkinson.

Connolly, 75, has been battling Parkinson's Disease for five years and it is now taking his toll, including not knowing who people he has known for years are and how long they have known each other.

"The sadness of Billy now is that wonderful brain is dulled," said telly legend Parkinson.

"I saw him recently - he's now living in America - and it was very sad, because I was presenting him with a prize at an award ceremony.

"We had an awkward dinner together, because I wasn't quite sure if he knew who I was or not.

"But we were walking out after the presentation to go down and have our picture taken, and he turned to me and put his hand on my shoulders."

He added that Connolly 'wasn't sure where [the dinner] was or what context at all'.

"To know someone as long as I knew and loved Billy... it was an awful thing to contemplate, that that had been taken from him in a sense.

"He was just a genius and the best thing that happened to me on the show."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Connolly made his diagnosis public in 2013 in order to raise awareness of the condition.

He subsequently spoke about the difficulties of living with it in an interview with the Radio Times about receiving a knighthood, in which he said "It was a big bit nerve-racking. You don't want to make an arse of it. You think, 'Oh God, don't trip.' Or worry you might make a rude noise."

"Since I've got Parkinson's, I'm a bit dodgy getting down on one knee - I don't do it all that well. And then I had to walk backwards to a certain point, but I managed it fine."

"I'm sure Prince William will think I'm a mentally ill person. I answered his questions in the most stupid fashion just through nerves," he joked.

Michael Parkinson credits a large amount of his success in television to Connolly, who was by far the most popular guest to appear on his show over the course of its show.

Connolly rose to fame via an appearance on Parkinson in 1975 and later appeared 15 times after that over the course of the 31 series that were broadcast.

Featured Image Credit: PA

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