Heretic Posted January 22, 2020 Share Posted January 22, 2020 RIP Mr. Jones...RIP Jones, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2015, was the main directing force in Python’s films, as well a prolific creator of TV documentaries and children’s books • Terry Jones: the Monty Python director – and a very naughty boy Jones’s lasting legacy – a life in pictures Andrew Pulver @Andrew_Pulver Wed 22 Jan 2020 13.45 GMTFirst published on Wed 22 Jan 2020 12.48 GMT Terry Jones in London in 2012. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian Terry Jones, founder member of Monty Python and director of three of Python’s celebrated feature films, has died aged 77, his family have announced. In a statement they said: “Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.” “Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in North London. We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades.” In 2016, Jones and his family revealed he had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia a year earlier, and he became a public face of the illness – appearing at a Bafta Cymru awards ceremony to highlight its effects and being interviewed in conjunction with longtime friend and collaborator Michael Palin in 2017. After huge success with Python in the 1970s and early 80s, including the feature films Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life, Jones went on to work on a huge variety of projects. With Palin, he created the successful TV series Ripping Yarns and forged a post-Python directorial career with Personal Services, Erik the Viking and The Wind in the Willows. He made a series of TV documentaries (specialising in medieval history), wrote nearly 20 children’s books, and contributed a string of comment pieces for the Guardian and Observer denouncing the “war on terror”. FacebookTwitterPinterest Terry Jones, right, with Michael Palin in 2013. Photograph: Ian West/PA Palin said: “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.” Read more Fellow Python John Cleese said: “It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away,” adding: “Of his many achievements, for me the greatest gift he gave us all was his direction of Life of Brian. Perfection.” Born in Colwyn Bay, Wales, in 1942, Jones moved to England as a child, growing up in Surrey. While at Oxford studying English literature, he met fellow student Palin while performing in the Oxford Revue. After university, along with Palin, Jones wrote and performed in a string of TV shows alongside other future stars of British comedy – including Cleese, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie, Eric Idle, Peter Cook and David Jason – on The Frost Report, Do Not Adjust Your Set and The Complete and Utter History of Britain. In 1969, Palin and Jones joined Cambridge graduates Cleese and Graham Chapman – along with Idle and animator Terry Gilliam – on a BBC comedy sketch show. Eventually broadcast under the title Monty Python’s Flying Circus, it ran until 1974, with Jones largely writing with Palin (complementing Cleese’s partnership with Chapman). Seemingly chaotic, frequently surreal and formally daring, Monty Python’s Flying Circus would became one of the most influential shows in BBC history, revolutionising comedy formats, spawning scores of catchphrases, and inspiring an entire generation of comedians. Jones’s fondness for female impersonation was a key feature of the show, as was his erudite writing. However, Jones was becoming more interested in directing. He later told the Guardian: “You not only act in the things – you’ve got to actually start directing the things as well. When we were doing Python the TV show, I was a real pain in the neck.” After the sketch-compilation feature And Now for Something Completely Different (released in 1971 with the ultimate intention of breaking the show in the US), the troupe embarked on an original film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Jones got his chance to direct, in conjunction with Gilliam. He was very much signed up to Python’s democratic instinct: “If all six of us laughed at something, then we all felt, ‘That’s OK, we can go ahead with that.’ And, for me, it was just a question of getting that on the screen, getting that moment of us sitting around the read-through, that moment where we all laughed.” Jones took over the Pythons’ next film, The Life of Brian, as a solo director, with Gilliam opting to concentrate on the film’s design. Backed by George Harrison’s HandMade films and released in 1979, the religious satire proved a major commercial hit as well as sparking global controversy. Jones made a memorable screen contribution as Brian’s mother, squawking to the assembled worshippers: “He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!” FacebookTwitterPinterest Jones then directed the Python’s 1983 release, The Meaning of Life, on an even more elaborate scale, stitching together sketches, musical numbers and complex effects scenes. The film also contains arguably Jones’s most famous on-screen character: the giant Mr Creosote, who explodes after a final “wafer-thin mint”. Monty Python's Terry Jones – a life in pictures With the Python team agreeing to make no more feature films, Jones was free to branch out. Personal Services, a comedy based on the real-life story of suburban brothel-keeper Cynthia Payne was released in 1987. He followed this up in 1989 with Erik the Viking, which starred Tim Robbins as a reluctant pillager, and was based on his own children’s book published in 1983. As well as Erik the Viking, Jones was able to indulge his own fervent interest in ancient and medieval history in TV series, including Crusades (1995), Medieval Lives (2004) and Barbarians (2006), which he presented with infectious enthusiasm. He also published two books on Chaucer and created the kids’ TV cartoon Blazing Dragons, which ran for two seasons from 1996-98 and told the history of chivalry from the dragons’ point of view. Jones was also a prolific writer of children’s books, including self-originated fairytales such as Nicobobinus. FacebookTwitterPinterest From left, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Eddie Izzard dressed as Gumbies in 1999. Photograph: Thane Bruckland/PA Jones became a vociferous opponent of the Iraq war, and published a collection of his newspaper columns and other writings in the 2004 book Terry Jones’s War on the War on Terror. His final directorial credit was the 2015 comedy Absolutely Anything, in which all four surviving Python members participated, but it received an unenthusiastic reception. Jones was married twice: between 1970 and 2012 to biochemist Alison Telfer, with whom he had two children, and in 2012 to Anna Söderström, with whom he had one child. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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