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Eric Idle

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Dudley Do-Right DVD The delightfully silly cartoon Mountie becomes real in "Dudley Do-Right" (1999).... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

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

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As one-sixth of the famed British comedy troupe, Monty Python, actor-writer-musician Eric Idle specialized in playing cheeky or insincere characters, while immortalizing the catchphrase, "Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more," on "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (BBC1/BBC2, 1969-1974). When the troupe began making films in the 1970s, Idle was given opportunity to flourish, playing the cowardly Sir Robin, among many other memorable characters, in their first bona fide hit, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975). With "Monty Python's The Life of Brian" (1979), Idle made perhaps his most lasting contribution to the troupe, writing the ending credits song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," which was sung by Roman prisoners awaiting death by crucifixion. In between Python films, he branched off on his own to create "The Rutles," a Beatles-like rock-n-roll band that first premiered on the British comedy series "Rutland Weekend Television" (BBC2, 1975-76). Back with Python, Idle appeared in "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" (1983), playing an array of bizarre characters while writing a number of songs, including "Penis Song (Not the Noel Coward Song)." The beloved troupe eventually parted ways to...

As one-sixth of the famed British comedy troupe, Monty Python, actor-writer-musician Eric Idle specialized in playing cheeky or insincere characters, while immortalizing the catchphrase, "Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more," on "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (BBC1/BBC2, 1969-1974). When the troupe began making films in the 1970s, Idle was given opportunity to flourish, playing the cowardly Sir Robin, among many other memorable characters, in their first bona fide hit, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975). With "Monty Python's The Life of Brian" (1979), Idle made perhaps his most lasting contribution to the troupe, writing the ending credits song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," which was sung by Roman prisoners awaiting death by crucifixion. In between Python films, he branched off on his own to create "The Rutles," a Beatles-like rock-n-roll band that first premiered on the British comedy series "Rutland Weekend Television" (BBC2, 1975-76). Back with Python, Idle appeared in "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" (1983), playing an array of bizarre characters while writing a number of songs, including "Penis Song (Not the Noel Coward Song)." The beloved troupe eventually parted ways to focus on their own respective solo careers, though members occasionally came together on various projects, including Idle, who appeared in Terry in Gilliam's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1988). Meanwhile, a true reunion became impossible following Graham Chapman's untimely death in 1989, leaving the surviving members to truly embark on their own. Idle appeared in several hit-or-miss comedies like "Nuns on the Run" (1990) and "Splitting Heirs" (1993), before voicing a variety of characters in a number of animated projects. With the blessing of the surviving members, Idle unflinchingly "ripped off" "The Holy Grail" to write both the book and music for "Monty Python's Spamalot" (2005), a musical version of the film that became a huge Broadway hit and Tony winner, while spawning numerous revivals and tours the world over. Not only did he and his fellow Pythoners become incredibly wealthy, Idle confirmed that their influence on comedy was considerable and worthy of being compared to the Beatles' effect upon music.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:


CAST: (feature film)

1.
3.
 Shrek the Third (2007)
4.
 Aristocrats, The (2005)
5.
 Ella Enchanted (2004) Narrator
7.
 Hollywood Homicide (2003) Celebrity
8.
 Pinocchio (2002) Voice Of Medoro (English Version)
9.
 102 Dalmatians (2000) Voice Of Waddlesworth
10.
 South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) Voice Of Doctor Vosknocker
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1963:
Joined Cambridge theater troupe, The Footlights, eventually becoming group's president; met future comic mates John Cleese and Graham Chapman
1965:
Professional stage debut, "One for the Pot"
1966:
English TV debut as the chauffeur in Ken Russell's "Isadora: The Biggest Dancer in the World" (BBC-1)
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
:
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
1969:
Co-founded the English comedy troupe Monty Python's Flying Circus with Cleese, Chapman, Palin, Jones and token 'Yank' Terry Gilliam
:
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
:
Script edited the early episodes of "The Liver Birds" (BBC-1, 1969-1979)
1971:
Feature acting and writing debut, "And Now for Something Completely Different", the first Monty Python feature
1974:
"Monty Python's Flying Circus" premiered in the USA on PBS
1975:
Portrayed 13 characters in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
:
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
1975:
Published novel, "Hello Sailor"
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
1978:
Wrote, co-starred and co-directed the story of The Rutles, "All You Need is Cash", an NBC special
1979:
First collaboration with George Harrison's HandMade Films, "Monty Python's Life of Brian", playing 14 characters; Harrison contributed cameo as Mr. Papadopolous
1980:
Guest-starred with Peter Noone (of Herman's Hermits fame) as British rock stars on episode of "Laverne and Shirley" (ABC)
1982:
Wrote first stage play, "Pass The Butler"
1982:
Wrote and directed "The Frog Prince", the debut episode for Showtime's "Faerie Tale Theatre", starring Robin Williams and Teri Garr
1983:
Last Python film to date, "Monty Python's Meaning of Life"
1985:
Portrayed bike rider in "National Lampoon's European Vacation"
1987:
Played Ko-Ko in an English National Opera Company revival of "The Mikado"
:
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)
1989:
Appeared in Gilliam's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen"
1989:
Starred in the short-lived NBC fantasy sitcom "Nearly Departed"
1989:
Co-starred as Passepartout in the NBC miniseries, "Around the World in 80 Days"
1990:
Acted opposite Robbie Coltrane as "Nuns on the Run" for HandMade Films
1990:
Wrote and performed the title music for British sitcom "One Foot in the Grave" (BBC)
1993:
Wrote, executive produced and starred (with Cleese) in "Splitting Heirs"
1994:
First Python CD-Rom released, "Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time"
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
1997:
Starred as Alan Smithee in the egregious "Burn, Hollywood, Burn"
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)
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
1998:
Provided the singing voice of Devon (the two-headed dragon) in the animated "Quest for Camelot"
1998:
Voiced Parenthesis on animated series "Disney's Hercules" (ABC)
1999:
Was the voice of Dr. Vosknocker in "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut"
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"
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:
Joined cast of the NBC sitcom "Suddenly Susan", playing magazine owner Ian Maxtone-Graham
1999:
Performed with surviving mates in "Monty Python Reunion Special" (BBC), celebrating their 30th anniversary
2003:
Received a grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album For Children, for his work on "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory"
2004:
Was the voice of the Narrator for "Ella Enchanted"
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
2007:
Voiced Merlin in the animated feature, "Shrek the Third"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal School: -
Pembroke College, University of Cambridge: - 1962 - 1965

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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