Entertainment News: Monty Pythoner Terry Jones Dies at 77

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LONDON – Co-founding one of the most influential comedy troupes in history just wasn’t enough for Terry Jones, of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” He also had to become one of the foremost amateur medieval history scholars in the world, among his many achievements as author, director and comic sketch creator. Jones passed away in London on January 21st, 2020. He was 77.

Terrence Graham Parry “Terry” Jones was born in Colwyn Bay on the north coast of Wales in England. He graduated from St Edmund Hall, a constituent college of Oxford University, where he met future writing partner Michael Palin. He broke into British television in 1967 along with Palin in the show “Twice a Fortnight,’ worked with Eric Idle in “Do Not Adjust Your Set,” and wrote alongside Graham Chapman John Cleese, Idle and Palin (all soon-to-be Pythoners) on “The Frost Report.”

’She’s a Witch!’ Terry Jones and Connie Booth in ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

In 1969, along with animator Terry Gilliam, Chapman, Cleese, Idle, Palin and Jones debuted “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” on the British Broadcast Company (BBC). The subsequent 45 episodes over five years would revolutionize comedy, and it ignited a sensation when the series was aired on PBS in America, before “Saturday Night Live” debuted in 1975. Next were the movies – which he directed and co-directed – “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975), “Life of Brian” (1979, sole director) and “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life” (1983) following in succession. He wasn’t involved with “Spamalot,” the musical stage adaptation of “Grail,” but gave it his blessing.

Jones continued his association with Monty Python over the years, as the group did less together and more separate projects. He directed films outside of Python, including “Erik the Viking” (1989) and “The Wind in the Willows” (1996). He had 19 children’s books published, and continued his interest in medieval history by writing books on the subject and hosting two television series (“Medieval Lives” and “Barbarians”). In 2016, he received a diagnosis of aphasia (related to dementia), and eventually succumbed to the neurological disease.

In 2009, Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com fulfilled a lifelong dream of talking to a member of the Monty Python troupe, when he interviewed Terry Jones, in association with an appearance he made in Chicago to introduce (what else?) “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The full interview is on PAGE TWO.

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