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Eric Idle

Eric Idle

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: March 29, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Durham, England, GB Profession: screenwriter, actor, songwriter, playwright, director, author, print editor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Eric Idle was born on March 29, 1943 in South Shields, County Durham, England. After a childhood spent in boarding school, Idle enrolled in Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1965, where he began his love affair with performance by way of the renowned Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club. Through the program, Idle met John Cleese and Graham Chapman, with whom he'd eventually go on to form the comedy troupe Monty Python. Idle met further future fellow Python members Terry Jones and Michael Palin while working on the comedy television series "Do Not Adjust Your Set" (ITV 1967-69) while still enrolled in college. Upon his graduation in '69, Idle and the others, along with Terry Gilliam, formed Monty Python, taking form early on with the sketch series "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (BBC One/BBC Two 1969-1974). Despite the success of the program, the team opted at the point of the show's termination to pursue individual projects; Idle experimented first with a radio show, "Radio Five" (BBC Radio One 1973-74), and then with a new sketch show, "Rutland Weekend Television" (BBC Two 1975-76), which spawned his best-known project outside Monty Python, "All You Need Is Cash" (NBC 1978), a satirical film...

Eric Idle was born on March 29, 1943 in South Shields, County Durham, England. After a childhood spent in boarding school, Idle enrolled in Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1965, where he began his love affair with performance by way of the renowned Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club. Through the program, Idle met John Cleese and Graham Chapman, with whom he'd eventually go on to form the comedy troupe Monty Python. Idle met further future fellow Python members Terry Jones and Michael Palin while working on the comedy television series "Do Not Adjust Your Set" (ITV 1967-69) while still enrolled in college. Upon his graduation in '69, Idle and the others, along with Terry Gilliam, formed Monty Python, taking form early on with the sketch series "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (BBC One/BBC Two 1969-1974). Despite the success of the program, the team opted at the point of the show's termination to pursue individual projects; Idle experimented first with a radio show, "Radio Five" (BBC Radio One 1973-74), and then with a new sketch show, "Rutland Weekend Television" (BBC Two 1975-76), which spawned his best-known project outside Monty Python, "All You Need Is Cash" (NBC 1978), a satirical film based on the career of The Beatles that Idle wrote and starred in as both the narrator and Paul McCartney stand-in Dirk McQuickly, with songs by longtime collaborator Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Band, whom he first met on "Do Not Adjust Your Set." These aspirations notwithstanding, Monty Python did reunite for feature films like "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975), "Life of Brian" (1979) and "The Meaning of Life" (1983). Going forward, Idle appeared in movies like "The Transformers: The Movie" (1986), the Gilliam-directed "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1986), "Casper" (1995), "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn" (1997), and "Ella Enchanted" (2004). In 2005, Idle adapted "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" as a Broadway musical called "Spamalot," originally directed by Mike Nichols.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:


CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
6.
 Shrek the Third (2007)
7.
 Aristocrats, The (2005)
8.
 Ella Enchanted (2004) Narrator
9.
 Hollywood Homicide (2003) Celebrity
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1994:
First Python CD-Rom released, "Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time"
1998:
Provided the singing voice of Devon (the two-headed dragon) in the animated "Quest for Camelot"
1997:
Starred as Alan Smithee in the egregious "Burn, Hollywood, Burn"
1989:
Starred in the short-lived NBC fantasy sitcom "Nearly Departed"
2004:
Was the voice of the Narrator for "Ella Enchanted"
1982:
Wrote and directed "The Frog Prince", the debut episode for Showtime's "Faerie Tale Theatre", starring Robin Williams and Teri Garr
1993:
Wrote, executive produced and starred (with Cleese) in "Splitting Heirs"
1990:
Acted opposite Robbie Coltrane as "Nuns on the Run" for HandMade Films
1989:
Appeared in Gilliam's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen"
1989:
Co-starred as Passepartout in the NBC miniseries, "Around the World in 80 Days"
1980:
Guest-starred with Peter Noone (of Herman's Hermits fame) as British rock stars on episode of "Laverne and Shirley" (ABC)
1997:
His "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" (originally sung in "Monty Python's Life of Brian") popped up in "As Good as It Gets" (performed by Art Garfunkle)
1999:
Played a prospector who mentors the title character when he is drummed out of the Mounties in the live-action feature version of "Dudley Do-Right"
1987:
Played Ko-Ko in an English National Opera Company revival of "The Mikado"
1985:
Portrayed bike rider in "National Lampoon's European Vacation"
1975:
Published novel, "Hello Sailor"
2003:
Received a grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album For Children, for his work on "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory"
1996:
Reteamed (as Rat) with Jones (Toad), Cleese (Toad's Lawyer) and Palin (The Sun) for a live-action version of "The Wind and the Willows", adapted and directed by Jones
:
Script edited the early episodes of "The Liver Birds" (BBC-1, 1969-1979)
2007:
Voiced Merlin in the animated feature, "Shrek the Third"
1966:
Wrote for the BBC TV series "The Frost Report", starring David Frost
:
Along with Chapman and Barry Cryer provided scripts for British series "No--That's Me Over Here!", starring Ronnie Corbrett
1966:
English TV debut as the chauffeur in Ken Russell's "Isadora: The Biggest Dancer in the World" (BBC-1)
1971:
Feature acting and writing debut, "And Now for Something Completely Different", the first Monty Python feature
1976:
Hosted the third show of the second season of NBC's "Saturday Night Live"; he would go on to host "SNL" three more times over the years, as well as guest-starring twice
1999:
Joined cast of the NBC sitcom "Suddenly Susan", playing magazine owner Ian Maxtone-Graham
1975:
Portrayed 13 characters in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
1998:
Voiced Parenthesis on animated series "Disney's Hercules" (ABC)
:
Wrote and co-starred in the English series "Do Not Adjust Your Set" (Rediffusion 1967-1968; Thames Television, 1968-1969) with Michael Palin and Terry Jones
1990:
Wrote and performed the title music for British sitcom "One Foot in the Grave" (BBC)
1974:
"Monty Python's Flying Circus" premiered in the USA on PBS
1998:
Contributed vocal talent to the straight-to-video animation release "The Secret of Nimh II: Timmy to the Rescue" and to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie", which had a limited release in theaters
1979:
First collaboration with George Harrison's HandMade Films, "Monty Python's Life of Brian", playing 14 characters; Harrison contributed cameo as Mr. Papadopolous
1963:
Joined Cambridge theater troupe, The Footlights, eventually becoming group's president; met future comic mates John Cleese and Graham Chapman
1983:
Last Python film to date, "Monty Python's Meaning of Life"
1999:
Participated in Toronto workshop of the stage musical "The Seussical"; had written a version of the libretto (not used); credited as "creative consultant" when show opened on Broadway in 2000
1999:
Performed with surviving mates in "Monty Python Reunion Special" (BBC), celebrating their 30th anniversary
1965:
Professional stage debut, "One for the Pot"
:
Served as Chairman of Prominent Features, a production company formed by the Monty Python team; pictures ranged from the sublime ("A Fish Called Wanda" 1988) to the ridiculous ("Erik the Viking" 1989)
1999:
Was the voice of Dr. Vosknocker in "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut"
2005:
Wrote and Composed the Broadway musical "Monty Python's Spamalot," which starred David Hyde Pierce (Sir Robin), Tim Curry (King Arthur), and Hank Azaria (Sir Lancelot); received a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score
:
Wrote and starred in "Rutland Weekend Television" (BBC-2); Neil Innes supplied the music and also co-starred, as did David Battley, Henry Woolf and Gwen Taylor
1982:
Wrote first stage play, "Pass The Butler"
1969:
Worked as a performer and writer on the popular TV series "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (BBC); shows aired in 1969-1970 and from 1972 to 1974 with a two-year hiatus
1978:
Wrote, co-starred and co-directed the story of The Rutles, "All You Need is Cash", an NBC special
1969:
Co-founded the English comedy troupe Monty Python's Flying Circus with Cleese, Chapman, Palin, Jones and token 'Yank' Terry Gilliam
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal School: -
Pembroke College, University of Cambridge: - 1962

Notes

There is a website devoted to Idle at http://www.ericidlenet.cjb.net/

About reconvening with fellow Pythoners to launch multimedia projects: "We're trying to get the misinformation highway going, so we can just mess around and be funny and stupid and daft.

"We're still talking to each other, and that's nice. It's not like a rock group. It's very refreshing to feel that nobody's stopped being funny just because they got older."

Remarking that Monty Python and multimedia have a lot in common: "We're making up the rules as we go along," he also explained why it took so long between CD-Rom releases: "ROM was not built in a day." --Eric Idle quoted in PEOPLE, July 1, 1996

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Lyn Ashley. Actor. Australian; married in 1969; divorced in 1975.
wife:
Tania Idle. Met in early 1977 while he was developing "All You Need Is Cash" (NBC, 1978), in which she also appeared; married c. 1981.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Ernest Idle. RAF Combat Flyer; died in a car crash in 1945.
mother:
Norah Idle.
son:
Carey Idle. Born c. 1973; mother, Lyn Ashley.
daughter:
Lily Idle. Born c. 1990; mother, Tania Idle.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Monty Python's Big Red Book"
"Brand New Monty Python Book"
"Hello Sailor" Weidenfeld & Nicolson
"The Rutland Dirty Weekend Book"
"Pass the Butler"
"Monty Python's The Life of Brian/Montypythonscrapbook"
"The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat" Dove Books
"The Road to Mars: A Post-Modem Novel" Pantheon
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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