The Cast of Fawlty Towers
Polly seems to carry out a number of roles in the day-to-day running of Fawlty Towers. She is often at reception or waiting on tables in the hotel’s dining room although her official job title was apparently supposed to be chambermaid.
She’s never one to shirk an argument either, her lack of patience and quick temper often find her engaged in a battle of wits with a guest either in the dining room or at reception. She never forgets her place in the grander scheme of things though, often relying on subtle quips and one-liners rather than outright displays of insolence.
Polly acts as a buffer zone between Basil and Sybil — often having to prevent Sybil from learning about Basil’s latest indiscretion.
She can also often be seen acting as a guardian angel to poor Manuel, who she obviously has a soft spot for, trying to cover up for his mistakes and prevent him being hit by Basil with whatever comes to hand.
Polly’s great passion in life is her sketching and painting, something which doesn’t meet with Basil’s approval. In one episode, he is leafing through her sketchpad at reception when the phone rings — “Hello, Fawlty Titties,” he answers, obviously looking at one of her life studies. Basil is a notorious prude. I often get the impression that Polly could quite capably run Fawlty Towers without much “help” from Basil, in fact she could probably run it a whole lot better without any help from Basil.
In the original pilot episode, Polly was portrayed as a philosophy student but this was changed to art student by the time the first episode was finalised.
Played by: Connie Booth
Born: Constance Booth
Date of Birth: 31st January, 1944 (unconfirmed, see note below)
Place of Birth: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Connie's father was a Wall Street magnate and her mother was an actress. In her early childhood, Connie Booth and family had moved from rural Indiana to New Rochelle, New York and from an early stage it was obvious she was destined to a life on the stage. After performing in High School productions she went on to study drama in New York City. By the end of the 1960s, she had met (whilst working as a waitress) and later married John Cleese, and had appeared in a few films. Connie also featured in a few Monty Python episodes and also appeared in the Python's And Now for Something Completely Different.
In 1971, Connie Booth gave birth to a daughter, Cynthia who, seventeen years later, would star alongside her father John in A Fish Called Wanda. More television and film credits followed for Connie including another Python film: Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Most people are aware of the fact that Connie Booth and John Cleese co-wrote both series of Fawlty Towers in the mid-late 1970s for which she is perhaps best known, playing the maid Polly Sherman. After the phenomenal success of Fawlty Towers, Connie Booth continued her career as an actress with further roles on screen and on the stage.
I have unconfirmed information that Connie Booth was born on the 31st of January 1944 at the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. This was sent to me by a retired journalist from the Chicago Tribune who was born on the same date in the same hospital. He discovered this information whilst researching his own birthdate.