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