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Billy Connolly Reveals He Hides Parkinson's Symptoms From His Kids

Tom Wood

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Billy Connolly Reveals He Hides Parkinson's Symptoms From His Kids

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Billy Connolly has admitted that he has to hide elements of his Parkinson’s Disease from his children so they don't think he's a 'dead loss'.

The 79-year-old comedy legend was diagnosed with the illness back in 2013, and says that he now has to ‘behave in a certain way’ when around his children.

He’s always been very open about his health issues, and explained how he’s getting on in a new ITV documentary.

Billy explained how his illness has changed him. Credit: ITV
Billy explained how his illness has changed him. Credit: ITV

Speaking on the show, he said: "I have to behave in a certain way so my children don't think I'm a dead loss.

"They don't feel sorry for me. I want them to think: 'He does well with what he's got.' That's it.

"Parkinson's Disease has taken a lot from me. I can't play the banjo anymore. It's just a noise.

"I can't yodel anymore. I can't smoke cigars. It's taken more and more of what I like. It's kind of painful.

"But you have to have a Glasgow attitude and say: 'Oh, you think you've got me beat? Try this for size.' I just deal with it. If I fall, I fall."

On top of the loss of some of his faculties, Billy was also forced to retire from live comedy performances in 2018, and has claimed that his mind started to change as a result of the disease, rendering him unable to perform in his usual – and inimitable – scattergun storytelling style.

Also on his mind is the idea of death, which he discussed on the programme.

Billy also revealed some of his favourite comedy moments. Credit: ITV
Billy also revealed some of his favourite comedy moments. Credit: ITV

He said: "I think about death a lot. Not an excessive amount. I think about it every day.

"I’ve seen people die and it’s OK. It’s not painful. You just go away. You exhale and it’s gone.

"It’s nothing to be frightened of. It’s just the next step."

Among his other life changes, he said he’s had to ‘hypnotise’ his hand to stop it from shaking all the time.

Despite his best efforts, he’s now unable to write letters.

However, he explained: "I’ve learnt to hypnotise my hand. I glare at it and it kinda quivers.

"I just stare at it, and eventually it stops. It’s quite a good trick. We love it."

Still, the Scotsman is world-famous for his sense of humour, and something like this hasn’t dampened that.

Connolly retired from stand-up in 2018. Credit: ITV
Connolly retired from stand-up in 2018. Credit: ITV

He concluded: "I’ve never tried to cover up the illness. I’m p***ed off with it. It won’t go away.

"People are kinda chained to it. But I try to be cheery."

Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure is on ITV Hub now.

Topics: TV and Film, Celebrity

Tom Wood
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