Terry Jones, a core member of the unwaveringly influential comedy troupe Monty Python, has shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of 77.
The world is a little less funny today, with news that Welshman Jones has died some four years after he contracted a rare form of dementia that’s known as FTD (Frontotemporal Degeneration).
Jones originally teamed with fellow Python member Michael Palin at Oxford, before joining up with Cambridge-educated Eric Idle, John Cleese and Graham Chapman, roping in American animator Terry Gilliam and setting about redefining comedy forever.
Jones is the second original member of Python that we’ve lost, with Chapman passing in 1989, aged 48.
The immeasurably influential TV programme Monty Python’s Flying Circus saw Jones taking on many character roles, before the group ventured into movies.
Jones co-directed the classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Gilliam, before taking the directorial reins on his own with Monty Python’s The Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. It was the latter in which Jones portrayed the ludicrously corpulent diner Mr Creosote, in one of the most memorable – and hilariously disgusting – skits that we’ve ever seen.
Beyond comedy, Jones was also a learned scholar on medieval and ancient history, knowledge of which often informed his comedic work.
Tributes have been flying in from all over, including the following from fellow Python members.
I loved him the moment I saw him on stage at the Edinburgh Festival in 1963. So many laughs,moments of total hilarity onstage and off we have all shared with him. It’s too sad if you knew him,but if you didn’t you will always smile at the many wonderfully funny moments he gave us
— Eric Idle (@EricIdle) January 22, 2020
Just heard about Terry J
It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away…
Of his many achievements, for me the greatest gift he gave us all was his direction of 'Life of Brian'. Perfection
Two down, four to go
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) January 22, 2020
You will be very missed old friend. I feel very fortunate to have shared so much of my life with Terry. pic.twitter.com/4oNANoIeB2
— Michael Palin (@NotMichaelPalin) January 22, 2020
…and very often a complete pain in the ass.
One could never hope for a better friend. Goodbye, Tel.
— Terry Gilliam (@TerryGilliam) January 22, 2020
Vale Terence Graham Parry Jones, and thank you for so, so, so many laughs.