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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: Cast ... screenwriter actor songwriter print editor playwright director author


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.

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