Monty Python Co-Founder Terry Jones Dies at 77

Terry Jones, one of the co-founders of the British comedy troupe Monty Python, has died. He was 77-years-old. In addition to work as part of Monty Python, Jones had a long career as a comedian, screenwriter, director, author, and historian. Jones had been suffering from a form of dementia that left him unable to speak, as revealed by his son in 2016. Jones' agent confirmed his death to the BBC. His family released a statement on Jones' passing. "We are deeply saddened to have to announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Terry Jones," his family said in the statement.

"Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD. Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in North London. We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades."

Jones attended Oxford University, where he met longtime collaborator Michael Palin. Over the course of the remainder of their college and early comedic careers, they came to know Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, and Graham Chapman. Together, the six of them formed Monty Python, the award-winning comedy group.

From 1969-1974, the group performed in the comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus. Some of the show's sketches are still widely referenced and quoted today. The troupe produced a number of equally-quotable films, including And Now For Something Completely Different, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, and The Meaning of Life, with Jones co-directing The Holy Grail and the sole director of Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. In 2014, the surviving members of the group (Chapman died in 1989) reunited for the Monty Python Live (Mostly) stage show.

Jones also co-created the British anthology series Ripping Yarns along with Palin. In addition to his entertainment work, he was a respected medieval historian. He published several books on the subject and presented several documentaries. He was an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War, writing editorials in several British outlets that were later collected into the volume Terry Jones's War on the War on Terror. Jones was presented with a lifetime achievement award by the BAFTA Cymru Awards in 2016.

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Jones is survived by his wife Anna Soderstrom, their daughter Siri, and two children from his previous marriage.

Cover photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

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