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Monty Python star, Terry Jones, dies aged 77

News 23/01/2020

Terry Jones, one of the British Monty Python comedy team and director of religious satire Life of Brian, has passed away at the age of 77.

His family shared the news on Wednesday that Jones passed away after a long battle with dementia.

Born in Wales in 1942, Jones was also an author, historian and poet. He had been diagnosed in 2015 with a rare form of dementia, FTD.

... he was the complete Renaissance comedian

Jones was one of the creators of Monty Python's Flying Circus, the British TV show that rewrote the rules of comedy with surreal sketches, characters and catchphrases, in 1969.

He co-directed the team's first film Monty Python and the Holy Grail with fellow Python, Terry Gilliam, and directed the subsequent Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.

During the filming of the Holy Grail in Scotland, the group only had a budget of £229,000, which was raised in part with investments from Pink FloydJethro TullLed Zeppelin and British music industry entrepreneur, Tony Stratton-Smith.

British comedians Eric Idle, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Michael Palin in a scene from 'Monthy Python and the Holy Grail', directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, 1975
Photo by Warner Bros./Hulton Archive/Getty Images

British comedians Eric Idle, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Michael Palin in a scene from 'Monthy Python and the Holy Grail', directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, 1975

Python Michael Palin, who met Jones at Oxford University, said he was "kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full".

"He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation; he was the complete Renaissance comedian - writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children's author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have."

Jones' family said his work with Monty Python, books, films, television programmes, poems and other work "will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath".

Jones wrote comedy sketches with Palin in the 1960s for shows including The Frost Report and Do Not Adjust Your Set before the pair teamed up with Cambridge graduates Eric Idle, John Cleese, Graham Chapman - who died in 1989 - and US film-maker Terry Gilliam to create Monty Python.

Comedians from the British comedy troupe Monty Python pose with a large scarf around their necks during a visit to Paris. (L-R): Terry Gilliam, musician and supporting player Neil Innes, Eric Idle, and Terry Jones
Photo by Pierre Vauthey/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

(L-R): Terry Gilliam, musician and supporting player Neil Innes, Eric Idle, and Terry Jones

He made an emotional public appearance in 2016 when, just weeks after revealing his diagnosis with dementia, he received a Bafta Cymru award for his outstanding contribution to film and television, which was presented by Palin.

Rest in peace, good sir.

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