VALE TERRY JONES Messiah of comedy and iconic naughty boy dies at 77

Terry Jones, one of the founding members of Monty Python and director of three of the comedy group’s three films, has died on Tuesday, January 21 after a battle with a rare form of dementia aged 77.

His family issued a statement saying “We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative, and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect, and extraordinary humor has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades. His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programs, poems, and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath.”

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.

Jones’ Monty Python partner John Cleese was one of the first to pay tribute to the late actor, director and author, saying “It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm should have faded so gently away…of his many achievements, for me the greatest gift he gave us all was his direction of Life of Brian. Perfection. Two down, four to go.”

Frequent writing partner and Monty Python colleague Michael 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.”

Jones was a co-founder of Monty Python in 1969, working as a writer and actor on their breakout sketch show, Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He also played a crucial role in the development of its stream-of-consciousness style, where classic sketch tenets and structures were dropped in favor of irreverent beats and random endings. Jones went on to co-direct with Terry Gilliam in one of Python’s first movies, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and he later took a lead directing role in Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. Along with his comedy career, Jones moonlighted as a medieval historian, political pundit, and children’s book author.

Jones was born in Wales in 1942 but was raised in England. He studied English literature at Oxford, which is where he met Palin while performing in the Oxford Revue. The pair formed a partnership and, after graduating, ventured out into the television-comedy world together. They spent the mid-Sixties working on a variety of shows, such as David Frost’s The Frost Report and the sketch show Do Not Adjust Your Set. It was during this time that Jones and Palin linked up with the rest of the Pythons, formed the group and, in 1969, debuted Flying Circus.

Despite Jones’ long legacy and contribution to comedy across a number of mediums, he is almost certainly best remembered for his role in The Life of Brian, with the immortal role as the hapless accidental saviour’s mother and the screeching quote to the assembled worshippers: “He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!”

Vale Terry Jones, Monty Python founder, actor, writer, director and comedy icon – 1942-2020.