Pat Reeder, Staff writer
By “Huckabee” writer/pop culture historian and lifelong Monty Python geek, Pat Reeder (http://www.facebook.com/hollywoodhifibook)
We are saddened to report that Terry Jones of the massively influential British comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus passed away Tuesday evening at 77 with his wife by his side. Jones had been fighting a long battle against FTD, a rare form of dementia. He was quietly slipping away over the past few days as his children, friends and family gathered to say their final goodbyes.
A throwback to the era of really intelligent humor, Jones studied English at Oxford, where he met his lifelong friend and collaborator, Michael Palin. The two worked on other comedy projects and shows before joining Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, John Cleese and the late Graham Chapman to form Monty Python. In addition to writing and performing, Jones also directed TV shows and movies, including Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” and “The Meaning of Life.” With Gilliam, he co-directed “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” often cited as one of the funniest and most-quoted movies ever made.
He wrote a number of acclaimed books, both humorous and non-fiction. He also created and starred in several TV documentary series about British history, earning a 2004 Emmy nomination for “Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives.” (Maybe that's why, for all its crazy jokes and plot elements, "Holy Grail" was praised for looking more authentic than many serious movies set in the Middle Ages.)
A biographer once said that if you spoke to him "on subjects as diverse as fossil fuels, or Rupert Bear, or mercenaries in the Middle Ages or modern China…in a moment, you will find yourself hopelessly out of your depth, floored by his knowledge."
But with all that on his resume, he will likely be best remembered as Brian's mom who scolded him for being a naughty boy, or Prince Herbert who lived in a swamp and just wanted to sing, or the wise knight who can tell someone’s a witch because she weighs the same as a duck. I like to think he would be perfectly happy with that unparalleled legacy.