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Long-faced member of the celebrated English comedy team, Monty Python's Flying Circus, which also consisted of John Cleese, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and the late Graham Chapman. Idle's comedy career began in college in 1963 when he joined the Cambridge comedy troupe, The Footlights, whose alumni included all the members of the Flying Circus but Gilliam (a transplanted American).
In 1967 Idle, Palin, Jones and Gilliam wrote and starred in the English TV series, "Do Not Adjust Your Set." Two years later, "Monty Python's Flying Circus"óboth the group and the TV seriesówas born. Lauded by critics and embraced by the public, their irreverent and often surreal brand of comedy and satire aired on BBC-1 from 1969-73 and on BBC-2, without Cleese, for the last few months of 1974. Rebroadcasts on PBS, two ABC late-night specials in 1975 and a 1988 video release created and nurtured a large and appreciative American audience for their inspired lunacy. The success of Monty Python has generated five films to date, each featuring the performers in multiple roles before and behind the camera.
Idle's roles in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975) included Brave Sir Robin (who "bravely turned his tail and fled") and one of the dreaded knights who said "Ni." In Monty Python's LIFE OF BRIAN (1979), his more memorable parts were as Stan/Loretta, a confused member of the Peoples' Front of Judea, (or was it the Judean People's Front?) and the philosophical victim of crucifixion who sings "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
Idle demonstrated abundant life after Python with a thriving career as a comic character actor in films and TV in the U.S. and abroad. His feature credits include NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION (1985), as the accident-prone bike rider; Terry Gilliam's lavish fantasy THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN (1989), as Berthold, the fastest man on the earth; NUNS ON THE RUN (1990); TOO MUCH SUN (1991) and MOM AND DAD SAVE THE WORLD (1992). Idle executive produced, wrote, and starred in SPLITTING HEIRS (1993), a mistaken identity comedy which reunited him with John Cleese.
Films1972 AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (performer, screenwriter)
1975 MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (performer, screenwriter)
1979 LIFE OF BRIAN/ MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN (performer, screenwriter, song composer)
1982 MONTY PYTHON LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL (performer, screenwriter)
1983 MONTY PYTHON'S THE MEANING OF LIFE (performer, screenwriter, song composer)
1983 YELLOWBEARD (performer)
1985 NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION (performer)
1986 THE TRANSFORMERS (performer)
1989 THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN (performer, song composer)
1990 NUNS ON THE RUN (performer)
1991 TOO MUCH SUN (performer)
1992 MISSING PIECES (performer)
1992 MOM AND DAD SAVE THE WORLD (performer)
1993 SPLITTING HEIRS (executive producer, screenplay, lyrics, performer, song performer)
1995 CASPER (performer)