Booth was born into a working-class family in Jubilee Road, Liverpool in 1931 and raised Catholic. His mother was a Roman Catholic of Irish descent, and his father was a merchant seaman during World War II and Catholic convert. Tony Booth attended St Edmund's Infants School and spent a year in hospital as a child with diphtheria. He then passed the Eleven-Plus examination and attended St Mary's College, Crosby, where he was awarded a bursary to cover the cost of his books.
Booth developed a taste for acting when posted in the Army to SHAPE in Paris. He spent five years in repertory theatre, before appearing in films and television during the 1960s. He played roles in over twenty films, including The L-Shaped Room (1962), Corruption (1968), Brannigan (1975), Priest (1994) and Owd Bob (1997). He appeared early in the run of the television series Coronation Street in 1960 and in an episode of The Avengers, but it was his role as the left-wing son-in-law in Till Death Us Do Part (1965) that brought him recognition.
Booth had five other daughters with partners he did not marry. He left Gale, his first wife, in 1961 for Julia Allan, with whom he had two daughters Jenia and Bronwen. He had a daughter, Lucy Thomas in 1967 with Ann Gannon, who worked in radio sales, after a brief relationship; this did not become known publicly until 2002. His relationship with Pamela Smith, which began in the 1960s, lasted 13 years; the couple had Booth's other two daughters, Emma and Lauren Booth, a broadcaster and Journalist.
Booth made guest appearances in many other television series. He starred alongside Robin Askwith in the Confessions of ... British sex comedy film series as Sidney Noggett between 1974 and 1977. These were Confessions of a Window Cleaner, Confessions of a Pop Performer, Confessions of a Driving Instructor and Confessions from a Holiday Camp.
Booth nearly burned to death in November 1979 when, during a drunken attempt to get into his locked flat, he fell into a drum of paraffin. He spent six months in hospital and needed 26 skin graft operations. Shortly after his discharge from hospital, he went to visit an 'old flame', Coronation Street Actress Pat Phoenix. She took him in and nursed him back to full health, and they lived together for six years. Phoenix's own health subsequently declined, and the pair married a few days before her death from lung cancer in 1986. With his third wife, Nancy Jaeger, he had a daughter, Joanna.
From 1985 to 1986, Booth appeared as pub landlord Ted Pilkington in the short-lived ITV soap Albion Market. He starred in the 1998 short film The Duke, playing an elderly man who tells his adoring grandson that he is John Wayne. In 2001, Booth appeared in several episodes of Family Affairs playing Barry Hurst, Sadie Hargreaves' brother-in-law. He played a tramp named Nobby Stuart in a special two-hander episode of EastEnders.
In 2007, he also played a tramp called Errol Michaels in Emmerdale. Both of these characters played the purpose of a spiritual guide to a down-and-out character, in EastEnders, Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) and in Emmerdale, Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw).
Booth was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2004. He suffered a stroke in 2010. He also had chronic heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Booth died on 25 September 2017 at home, aged 85.