The Monty Python’s surviving members include Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and John Cleese. Eric recently revealed details of a feud between him and his co-stars
The Monty Python has been part of our lives since 1969 but only four of the original members are alive today.
Terry Jones died aged 77 in 2020 after a heartbreaking dementia battle while co-star Graham Chapman died aged 48 in 1989. Now, the only surviving members remaining now of The Monty Python are the legendary Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and John Cleese.
Although they still have a huge fan base, the four-piece along with the late Jones shut down any possibility of a reunion every taking place again. During a special live event in 2014, Gilliam told the Daily Star Sunday at the time: “There’s no chance of us doing a reunion. There are only four of us left that really function now. And that is not Python, so there’s no point.”
Earlier this week, fans were shocked when Idle described his co-star Cleese as a bully and added the pair have not spoken for seven years. He even hit out at Gilliam while ranting about his finances. With feuds and projects busying their lives, where are the four Monty Python stars now?
Gilliam, 83 branched out of acting on the back of the success of the Monty Python fame. He went on to nurture a successful career in directing feature films in the 1970s. The director oversaw many big movies from his first movie Time Bandits in 1981 to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.
It has taken the movie guru 30 years to get The Man Who Killed Don Quixote over the line as a result of legal battles over copywriting. He told The Scotsman in January 2020: “There’s a feeling that because I spent 30 years on it, it must be a masterpiece. But why? It’s just the last movie I made. That’s all it is.”
The star’s production of Into the Woods, which he co-directed with Leah Hausman, premiered at the Theatre Royal, Bath in August 2022 to widely positive reviews. Gilliams’ daughter, Holly, was recently slammed by Idles when he later revealed he still had to work for financial reasons.
Holly took over the Python brand in 2013 as part of HDG Projects Ltd. Eric has said: “I don’t know why people always assume we’re loaded. “I have to work for my living. Not easy at this age.” He seemed surprised by the apparent downturn in fortunes after the comedy group’s huge success.
He said: “We own everything we ever made in Python and I never dreamed that at this age the income streams would tail off so disastrously.” In a dig at Holly, he added: “I guess if you put a Gilliam child in as your manager you should not be so surprised.
“One Gilliam is bad enough. Two can take out any company.” He has also said: “I don’t mind, but once they put Gilliam’s daughter in as manager and Cleese fires [Python’s one-time manager] Jim Beach, well, it’s over.”
Palin, 80, worked with co-star Jones when Monty Python came to an end, with the two writing Ripping Yarns together. The actor starred in several films directed by Gilliam including A Fish Called Wanda in 1988 which secured him the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
Michael broke out of the comedy and acting spheres to become a travel writer which allowed him to explore the world from the Himalayas to the North and South Poles. The star’s 2018 visit to North Korea was documented in a gripping series broadcast on Channel 5.
In 2019, the television presenter bagged a knighthood for his significant contributions to travel, culture and geography. In July 2019, Palin performed a one-man stage show at the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven, Wales. He also released Michael Palin: Into Iraq on Channel 5 in 2022.
Last year, he said he had no plans to retire but joked that at his age he is chuffed when he can get out of a chair unaided. The Monty Python legend turned 80 in May, three days after his wife Helen died. He said his life had to be “reset” after the loss. The star, who was married to Helen for 57 years, said of his age: “Your body gets rusty like a piece of old machinery that’s done you quite well over the years but then a couple of screws fall off and a door falls off and that’s it.”
Monty Python was a springboard for the 84-year-old actor to go on to co-write his own series. The screenwriter and his wife Connie Booth both wrote Fawlty Towers and he doubled up as the character Basil Fawlty in the show. Much like Palin, Cleese also lent his acting talents to his co-star Gilliam’s films from Time Bandits to A Fish Called Wanda.
Palin also landed roles in huge movies from two of the James Bond cannon to the Harry Potter films in which he played Nearly Headless Nick. In 2023, he starred in controversial director Roman Polanski’s drama film The Palace. The same year also saw Cleese present a new show on GB News called The Dinosaur Hour which airs on Sunday evenings.
Meanwhile, his co-star Idle recently described him as a bully and added the pair have not spoken for seven years. Idle claimed fellow Python member Jones was picked on in particular. Idle said: “[John] bullied Jonesy. I always felt ashamed we did nothing.”
He added: “I still love and am proud of what we did as Python. It was a very unique group. I think of us as an ex-Liverpool team. We played together well, way back in the day. But it was never very supportive of people’s feelings and emotions. Not brothers. Colleagues.”
Eric Idle, 80, carved a career in presenting as he took on the role of Saturday Night Live in the US four times following Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Going it on his own hampered him through the 1990s but his career got a new lease of life when he harked back to Monty Python by adapting it for other media.
The musician had great success with his musical Spamalot and it bagged the Tony Award for Best Musical. In 2022, Idle competed in the eighth season of The Masked Singer as Hedgehog. He performed a cover of The Beatles’ hit song Love Me Do but was eliminated in the first episode alongside William Shatner and Chris Kirkpatrick.
After slamming his co-stars and revealing he has to continue working due to financial issues, Eric, who has mostly been based in Los Angeles in recent decades, was asked if a Netflix documentary could help. He replied “f*** documentaries” and the streaming giant. He also said: “I’m fine. I’m writing. It’s the thing I do and like the most. Creating a new show. Something that feels so normal. Been doing it since 1963.”
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