Pamela Stephenson at wedding ceremony of Sting and Trudie Styler, 1992.
|Born||Pamela Helen Stephenson
4 December 1949
|Occupation||Clinical psychologist, Actress|
|Spouse(s)||Billy Connolly (m. 1989–present)|
Pamela Helen Stephenson Connolly (born 4 December 1949) is a New Zealand clinical psychologist and writer best known for her work as an actress and comedian during the 1980s. She has written several books, which include a biography of her husband Billy Connolly, and presents a psychology-based interview show called Shrink Rap on British television.
Stephenson was born in Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand. After attending the University of New South Wales and then Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art, from which she graduated in 1971, Stephenson pursued a successful acting career in Australia for several years before moving to London in 1976, where she continued to perform.
Probably her most widely recognised role was in the classic 1980s UK comedy television sketch show Not The Nine O'Clock News, alongside Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. Her parodies included Kate Bush (in a song called "Oh England My Leotard"), Janet Street-Porter, Esther Rantzen and Clare Grogan.
Her personal contribution as a comedian added to the success of Not The Nine O'Clock News and led to a collaboration with comedy and satire writers Mark Lepine and Mike Leigh. This spawned a book, How To Be A Complete Bitch, and a board game.
She also featured in the American comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live (1984-1985), becoming the first female SNL cast member to be born outside North America. Her characters on the show included Angela Bradleigh (Weekend Update commentator) and celebrity impersonations of Madonna (in a fake commercial parodying the singer's "Lucky Star" music video), Billy Idol, Debby Douillard, Peggy Ashcroft, Joan Collins and Cyndi Lauper.
In 1996 she gained a doctorate in clinical psychology from the California Graduate Institute, now a part of the accredited Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her psychology background proved useful when she wrote a biography of her husband, Billy, in which she related elements of his behaviour to his sexual molestation as a child; the book won the 2002 British Book of the Year award. She now works in private practice and in her capacity as a psychologist often uses the names "Pamela Connolly" or "P.H. Connolly".
In 2007 Connolly presented a series of programmes for the British television channel More 4 called Shrink Rap in which she interviewed various celebrities using psychotherapeutic techniques. Those questioned were reality show star Sharon Osbourne, writer and performer Stephen Fry, Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York, former British Cabinet Minister David Blunkett and actor-comedian Robin Williams. A second series of Shrink Rap began in April 2008, with guests comedienne Joan Rivers, actors Gene Simmons, Kathleen Turner, Tony Curtis and author Salman Rushdie. A one-off episode in August 2009 featured her husband Billy Connolly. Shrink Rap focused on relating various childhood experiences and traumas to the adult difficulties of the celebrities. While quasi-therapeutic in approach, the interviewees were briefed that the conversations were interviews and not strictly therapy.
Connolly writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper in Britain titled "Sexual Healing", under the name Pamela Stephenson Connolly.
Stephenson met her husband, actor and comedian Billy Connolly, in 1979 on the set of the BBC television show Not the Nine O'Clock News. They were married in Fiji on 20 December 1989 and have three children together: Daisy (b. 1983), Amy (b. 1986) and Scarlett (b. 1988). She was previously married to actor Nicholas Ball.
In late 2004, she sold her house in California and spent a year on a sailing cruise around the South Pacific Ocean, following the path of Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Stevenson. She said she was inspired by Fanny (also married to a Scotsman) who had convinced her husband to travel to the tropics for the sake of his fragile health. Her travels were documented in her book, "Treasure Islands". The boat she bought was re-christened "Takapuna" after her birthplace.
A year later, she went on another voyage to discover the fate of an ancestor, a sailing captain who had disappeared in the South Seas. The voyage was the subject of a documentary for Australian television, "Murder or Mutiny."