Sir Billy Connolly hasn’t spoken to his old friend Sir Michael Parkinson ever since Parky made comments about his "wonderful brain" being "dulled" by the impact of his Parkinson’s disease.
The Scottish comedian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s five years ago and has noticed his memory and muscle tone has declined as a result.
But he was still taken aback when legendary interviewer Parky said Billy no longer recognises his oldest friends earlier this year, following a "sad and awkward moment" when Billy couldn’t place him at a star-studded dinner.
Speaking for the first time about the devastating impact of Sir Michael’s comments, Billy said he didn’t know what his former friend was talking about.
- Billy Connolly ‘no longer recognises close friends’ as Parkinson’s battle takes its toll
Billy Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease five years ago
"It was two years since I’d seen him and that occasion was the GQ dinner and I did really well, so what he was talking about I’ll never know," Sir Billy told The Times .
"He’s been selling funerals [funeral plans] too long," he joked.
But Parky’s remarks did cut him deeply, and Billy admitted he hasn’t spoken to him since.
"The thing that got me about it was what if it was true? It’s still a sh**ty thing to do. What do you think of Billy Connolly? ‘Oh, he’s f**ked.’
- Billy Connolly seen for first time since Michael Parkinson’s claims about his health
Sir Billy seen meeting a young fundraiser – the first time he was pictured since Sir Michael’s comments
"No [I haven’t spoken to him since then]. I don’t speak to him normally anyway."
Following pressure from his therapist wife Pamela Stephenson, the couple decided to move from New York to Florida after Billy’s health started waning.
"The whole thing was my wife’s idea to get away from the slippery sidewalks of New York. I couldn’t take the New York winters. I found it easy enough to bear until I got the Parkinson’s. It’s a question of balancing on the slippery sidewalks," he pointed out.
"It frustrates me sometimes, when I can’t get out of bed. When it’s a great effort to get my legs out of bed, I go, ‘Arghhh!’
- Sir Michael Parkinson: ‘I’m losing my memory but I’ll work for as long as I can’
Billy and Michael were firm friends, but haven’t spoken since Michael gave his interview
(Image: Getty Images Europe)
"I have got these big handles on my bed that go under the mattress and so you can pull yourself around."
But despite his ill health, Sir Billy is determined not to succumb to the life-limiting disease.
"That’s a terrible thing, acting your age," he added.
"You mustn’t act your age. Act some other bugger’s age. That’s imperative. Don’t do what a lot of people do: surrender to old age and start to wear old guys’ clothes.
"You must stay alive."
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