Billy Connolly reveals the healing power of art in his battle against Parkinson’s

Nov 18, 2023
“Art has made my life magical at a time when I thought it would be unbearable." Source: Getty Images.

Iconic comedian and actor Sir Billy Connolly has opened up about how art has become a lifeline in his battle against Parkinson’s disease.

In a candid interview with The Times, the 80-year-old comedy legend shared how embracing his creative side has not only brought joy to his days but has also played a crucial role in coping with the challenges posed by the progressive neurodegenerative disorder.

“Art has made my life magical at a time when I thought it would be unbearable. My disease creeps up on me — every day it gets stranger and more different,” he revealed.

“I don’t know how I would have coped without drawing. It’s taken me out of the scene and put me somewhere else, where I can survey it from a different angle.”

Connolly subsequently provided insights into the evolving nature of his condition. During this discussion, he expressed immense pride in his children for their remarkable resilience in navigating the challenges associated with the disease.

“The cold affects me, it makes the streets slippery and I end up on my arse. which is rather boring. The symptoms are so obvious now,” he told the publication.

“The way I walk, the way I talk, the way I do everything — the way I shake — it’s impossible to hide.

“But they’re so used to it now. They’re all great spirits. It’s one thing I’m immensely proud of, the spirits of my children.”

In 2013, Connolly publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Since then, The Big Yin has remained candid about his struggles with the disease that affects movement control.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Connolly offered fans a candid glimpse into his life as he confronts this “cruel” adversary head-on, telling the publication that he has noticed “a deterioration” in his balance which has resulted in “a couple of serious falls”.

“It’s very difficult to see the progression exactly, because a lot of things come and go,” he said.

“Recently I’ve noticed a deterioration in my balance. That was never such a problem before, but in the last year that has come and it has stayed.

“For some reason, I thought it would go away, because a lot of symptoms have come and gone away … just to defy the symptom spotters. The shaking has reappeared.”

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