Terry Jones, who was a founding member of Monty Python, has died at age 77. The beloved comedian, screenwriter, film director, poet, historian, and author had been battling a rare form of dementia.
“We are deeply saddened to have to announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Terry Jones,” his family said in a statement.
Terry passed away on Saturday evening, January 21, 2020, with wife Anna Soderstrom at his side. His passing follows a “long, extremely brave but always good-humored battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.”
The actor had been battling primary progressive aphasia in recent years, which is a rare form of dementia that affects speech. It left Terry unable to speak.
“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.”
In his final days, he was surrounded by “his wife, children, extended family and many close friends.” They stayed by his side as Terry “gently slipped away at his home in North London.”
Terry Jones was known for playing a variety of Monty Python roles. He often portrayed middle-aged female characters with hysterical falsetto voices. He famously screamed the iconic line, “He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy,” in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. That line was twice voted the funniest line in film history in the U.K.
He didn’t just star in Monty Python, either. Terry also directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Meaning of Life, and Life of Brian.
After his Monty Python success, he went on to publish 20 children’s fiction novels between 1981 and 2002. These titles included Fairy Tales and The Saga of Erik the Viking. He also wrote the script for Jim Henson’s Labyrinth which stars David Bowie.
Beyond his already impressive repertoire, Terry then became known as a noted scholar of ancient and medieval history. He wrote several historical non-fiction books and presented several documentaries.
His most recent work included playing Chapman’s mother (naturally) in 2012’s A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. He also directed 2014’s sci-fi comedy Absolutely Anything.
Terry Jones is survived by his wife, Anna Soderstrom and their daughter, Siri, who was born in 2009. He is also survived by his two children from his first marriage.
Fans around the globe are devastated by the loss of another Monty Python legend. Neil Innes, Terry’s friend and creative collaborator, passed away unexpectedly in December.