British comic Billy Connelly

October 4, 2010 10:12:52 AM PDT
Known as "Britain's Greatest Living Comedian," Billy Connolly has broken box office records in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, New York and Canada.

He was honored on the Avenue of the Stars (the UK's version of The Hollywood Walk of Fame) alongside Sir Laurence Olivier, John Cleese and The Rolling Stones.

Still, American audiences might have trouble putting a name to his familiar face. Connolly may be best known in the United States for his starring role in the popular 1980's sitcom Head of the Class. But the Scotsman has many faces. A former welder and professional banjo player, Connolly has appeared in movies with some of Hollywood's biggest stars including Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai, and Jim Carrey in Lemony Snicket's ? A Series of Unfortunate Events. He won recognition around the world when he co-starred with Dame Judi Dench in the prestigious art film Mrs. Brown. Most recently Connolly appeared in the X-Files sequel feature film X-Files: I Want To Believe and Boondock Saints II ? All Saint's Day. He also stars in the upcoming film Gulliver's Travels with Jack Black and Jason Segel.

Chicago will get to see yet another side of Connolly when he brings his standup comedy routine to the Royal George Theatre, theroyalgeorgetheatre.com this week.

"Chicago is one of my favorite cities in the world and I'm excited about returning to meet some old friends and perform in such a great theatre," Connolly says.

Connolly returns to Chicago after more than a decade. He promises five nights of "uncensored, uncut and unpredictable comedy" Tuesday, October 5 through Saturday, October 9. Tickets are available by calling (312) 988-9000, visiting ticketmaster.com, or at the Royal George Theatre box office, 1641 N. Halsted, Chicago. For more information, visit theroyalgeorgetheatre.com.

BILLY CONNOLLY AT THE ROYAL GEORGE
Tuesday through Saturday
1641 N. Halsted, Chicago
312.988-9000
ticketmaster.com
theroyalgeorgetheatre.com

MORE ABOUT BILLY CONNOLLY
FROM tribute.ca

Born in Glasgow, Billy Connolly left school early to become a welder in the Glasgow shipyards, then went on to serve in the parachute regiment of the Territorial Army. Billy began his showbiz career as a musician, playing banjo as one half of the Humblebums, a duo with Gerry Rafferty. His first solo concert in 1971 led to The Great Northern Welly Boot Show, a mix of music and talk that won considerable acclaim. He went on to release a double album and a #1 hit single, "D.I.V.O.R.C.E."

However, his musical career began to take a back seat to his comic monologues to the point where he became known as a comedian first and foremost. He achieved widespread notoriety in his native Scotland before becoming a household name in England after appearing on The Michael Parkinson Show in the early 1970s. He first came to the attention of American audiences in 1990 when he joined the cast of the popular WB sitcom, Head of the Class. The show led to his character, Billy MacGregor, spinning off into his own sitcom, aptly titled Billy.

From there, Connolly began to land small roles in major films such as Indecent Proposal (1993), starring Robert Redford. Since then, his film career has burgeoned and he has had the opportunity to act with some of the most prestigious names in cinema, including Richard Burton, Michael Caine, Mel Gibson, Liam Neeson, Willem Dafoe and others, but it was the award-winning film Mrs. Brown (1997) with Dame Judi Dench that won him international recognition as an actor. Connolly continues to work non-stop with roles in White Oleander (2002) starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Timeline (2003) and The Last Samurai (2003) starring Tom Cruise.

Married twice, Connolly has two children with his first wife, Iris Pressagh, and three children with his present wife, Pamela Stephenson, whom he married in 1989. In 2003 Connolly was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE).


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