R.I.P. Terry Jones, founding member of Monty Python
The actor, director, and screenwriter was 77 years old.
Image: The Life of Brian / Warner Bros.
Terry Jones, one of the founding members of British comedy powerhouse Monty Python, passed away on January 21, 2020.
The Monty Python troupe, best known for its pioneering sketch series Monty Python's Flying Circus and films Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python's Life of Brian and Monty Python and the Meaning of Life, was an influence on a whole generation of comedians.
Beginning in 1969, founding members Terry Jones, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, and Michael Palin went on to become household names. The phrase "Pythonesque" even became a common description in English households as a way to describe the type of absurdist comedy the group performed.
Jones, like the rest of the group, performed multiple roles in their comedies. Viewers familiar with Monty Python and the Holy Grail will recognize him most as Sir Bedivere the Wise, who conducts a witch trail by seeing if a witch is heavier than a duck. He also appeared as Prince Herbert, a prince who doesn't want to marry but wants to sing show tunes instead.
In the film Life of Brian, he is famously known as Brian's mother who would screech, "He's not the messiah — he's a very naughty boy!" The line was voted the funniest in U.K. film history twice.
Along with appearing in the film, Jones made his directorial debut with Holy Grail, co-directing alongside Terry Gilliam. He went on to be the sole director of Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.
In 2015 he directed the comedy Absolutely Anything starring Simon Pegg and Robin Williams in his final film role. Absolutely Anything was the first movie to feature all living members of Monty Python since 1983.
He additionally wrote the original screenplay for the cult classic 1986 David Bowie movie Labyrinth.
In 2015, Jones revealed that he had been diagnosed with aphasia, a form of dementia. The aphasia made it difficult to learn lines and give interviews as time went on.
The actor was 77 years old when he passed.