Terry Jones, a founding member of the Monty Python comedy troupe, has died at 77 after suffering from a rare form of dementia.
Actor, writer, comedian, screenwriter, film director, historian, and anti-war activist died last week after losing a battle with dementia.
“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-humored battle with a rare form of dementia, frontotemporal dementia (FTD),” said a statement from his family.
With Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, and Terry Gilliam, Jones most famously formed Monty Python’s Flying Circus, whose dark anarchic humour revolutionised British comedy.
The initial signs of Jones’ struggles with memory were evident in 2014 as he failed to remember his lines when performing with Michael Palin and surviving members of the Monty Python troupe.
“Terry was always very good at remembering lines,” said Palin, who was quoted in The Guardian. “But this time he had real problems, and in the end he had to use a teleprompter. That was a first for him. I realised then that something more serious than memory lapses was affecting him.”
In 2016, Jones was diagnosed with FTD, a brain condition that especially impairs language and communication.
That same year, when Michael Palin announced Jones’s BAFTA award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television, the actor was escorted by his son to receive the gong and was unable to speak.
Born in North Wales, Jones met Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, and Terry Gilliam at the University of Cambridge’s fabled Footlights dramatic society and together they formed Monty Python’s Flying Circus in 1969.
By the 1970s, their irreverent brand of humour had taken global audiences by storm.
Jones was a key component of the troupe’s TV series, and both directed and starred in two Monty Python feature films, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Life of Brian.
But he will probably be best remembered for his role as the obese and explosive Mr. Creosote in The Meaning of Life.
Jones’s wife, and children Bill, Sally, and Siri, said, “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.”
“His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programmes, poems, and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath,” they added.