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Eric Idle Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (29) | Personal Quotes (30)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 29 March 1943South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England, UK
Height 6' 1" (1.86 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Eric Idle was born on March 29, 1943 in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England. He is an actor and writer, known for Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Life of Brian (1979) and The Meaning of Life (1983). He has been married to Tania Kosevich since May 22, 1981. They have one child. He was previously married to Lyn Ashley.

Spouse (2)

Tania Kosevich (22 May 1981 - present) (1 child)
Lyn Ashley (7 July 1969 - 1978) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (2)

Signature Song: "Always look on the bright side of Life"
His characters on Monty Python were often mischievous and happy go lucky men.

Trivia (29)

Daughter, Lily (b. 1990), with Tania Kosevich.
Son, Carey (b. 1973), with Lyn Ashley.
Member of the comedy group "Monty Python"
Studied English at Cambridge University. While at university, he was a member of the prestigious Cambridge Footlights Club, and later, President of the Footlights Club.
Eric's father, who served in the Royal Air Force, died in a car crash on Christmas eve when he was two years old.
The only member of the Monty Python group to write alone. Therefore, it was difficult at times for him to get his material accepted and used by the others.
In 1963, as a collegiate, he was admitted into the Cambridge Footlights comedy club. He became president of the club the following year and one of his first acts was to open the membership up to include women. Feminist/writer Germaine Greer was one of the first to join.
Supporter of Sunderland Football Club of the English Premiership
Proudly calls himself "the third tallest member of Monty Python."
Is an accomplished guitar player.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 225-226. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Defeated Charles Barkley and Martha Stewart on a celebrity episode of Jeopardy! (1984) in 2002.
Got permission from the other members of Monty Python (except, naturally, Graham Chapman) to go ahead with his play/musical "Spamalot" (set to hit Broadway in early 2005), a twist on their classic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), because they all found the script hilarious.
Was once tasked by his fellow Pythons with composing a response to an angry piece of fan mail. Monty Python member Graham Chapman was openly gay, and a letter had been written citing Bible verses, stating that homosexuals should be stoned to death. He jokingly replied that they had stoned Chapman to death.
Friend of Robin Williams.
Describes himself as having "creative dyslexia", meaning he can look at any word and automatically see the anagrams that can be made from it. One of the characters he played in "Monty Python's Flying Circus" was a man who speaks only in anagrams.
Admired by the other Pythons for his circle of friends, it was he who procured part of the production money for Life of Brian (1979) from former Beatle George Harrison.
Appears as the M.C. in the 3-D film Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (1994) at Disneyland.
Although his picture An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997) was a commercial and critical disappointment, Idle has been asked for Alan Smithee's "autograph" in real life...and consented (Smithee was the nonexistent, pseudonymous director whom Idle "portrayed" in said movie).
Rented out his house to Carrie Fisher during the production of Life of Brian (1979), while she was in London filming Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
Steve Martin calls him his mentor.
The only member of Monty Python not to appear on Friday Night, Saturday Morning (1979).
Was invited to the party Steve Martin was throwing that turned out to be his wedding.
Member of Monty Python along with John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam.
Producer of hit Broadway musical 'Monty Python's Spamalot' ("lovingly ripped-off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).") [February 2005]
Just signed a deal to have his musical "Spamalot" performed in Wynn's Resorts in Las Vegas in 2007. It will perform there for 10 years. [July 2005]
John Du Prez and his musical, "Monty Python's Spamalot" at the Nightblue Performing Arts Theatre in Chicago, Illinois was nominated for a 2014 Joseph Jefferson Non-Equity Award for Musical Production.
Knew Michael Palin and Terry Jones from university.
Longtime advocate for women's rights and animal rights.

Personal Quotes (30)

John Cleese once told me he'd do anything for money. So I offered him a pound to shut up, and he took it.
(On gay marriages) "It's about time they suffered too."
(On his favourite sexual position) "Flat on my back with my wallet open."
If the studios paid the artists, how would they ever be able to afford the executives?
There was a time when we were almost universally hated by large sections of society. Now that we are the cuddly old farts of comedy, I rather miss the hatred.
We couldn't get [Life of Brian (1979)] made then. We looked and looked for money and we couldn't find anyone to back it. Only George Harrison would back it - and that's because he mortgaged his house.
Americans like to think Python is how English people really are. There is an element of truth to that.
The odd thing is I knew that if [Spamalot] was going to be successful it would have to appeal to people who weren't just Python fans. What happened was that Middle America discovered Python through Spamalot.
I've been trying to write musicals since I did The Mikado (1987) with Jonathan Miller and the ENO in 1987. I'd do new gags each night. I thought, "I like this - we should find a subject". It took me about 20 years to find a subject.
[asked why Terry Gilliam insisted on him shaving his head for The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)] Pure sexual jealousy.
When we got to North America it was extraordinary to find that everybody assumed that we were totally stoned all the time while making it up. You had to point out to people that actually you can't write comedy when you're stoned, you can't find the typewriter, but a lot of people still say to this day, 'Oh when I was a college kid, man, we'd just get a joint and watch Python and we'd laugh and laugh.' And you think, 'Well, actually you didn't need Python, you could just look at the wallpaper!'
I was a war baby. My earliest memories are of a Wellington bomber crashing in flames into the field beside my nursery school. I remember being forced into a Mickey Mouse gas mask, instilling a lifelong fear of rubber masks and the eponymous rodent.
I think there's something very seductive about the glamour of dressing up and playing somebody else, and that comes from a sadness. I think I only became any good eventually through Python by being disguised and by being other people and it was only latterly in my life that I have been able to be funny as myself or be confident. I don't have to put on a disguise or wear a wig now but that's what I used to do.
[talking about the orphanage/boarding school he grew up in] I still have nightmares that I'm back at the Ophney. It was a physically abusive, bullying, harsh environment for a kid to grow up in, a boarding school where nobody had any fathers. The terms were interminable, fourteen weeks with no emotional support.
I used to bridle when people used to describe us all as 'public school' - it's not true. Graham was Leicester Grammar, Terry was grammar, I was this nightmare school and Michael was Shrewsbury, which is a public school, and John was at Clifton, also a public school. That's two out of six.
[1975] A comedian must never be vulnerable. The great comedians are always apparently invulnerable on stage although off stage they were not such supermen.
I'm just trying to earn enough to get my daughter through college and my wife through collagen.
Comedians are not normal people. It is not a normal thing to do. You don't become a comedian without some early traumatizing experience, so comedy is also a coping mechanism.
No gentleman talks to anyone before noon. One of the reasons I write alone is that I can't bear speaking to anyone first thing in the morning.
[on Graham Chapman's funeral] The reaction was uproarious as he [John Cleese] became funnier and funnier, and in the end the spirit of Graham was released, and we all felt liberated. Yes of course everyone was sad and in tears, but we were laughing. After that, the hardest thing I ever had to do was sing 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.' For a moment trying to sing it was just terrible for me, because music makes you weep, while comedy makes you weep and laugh , but because of all the earlier laughter I got through it.
[on his education] I did S Level. Nobody's ever done S Level, because it's above A Level and I once found somebody else who'd done it and we reckoned we were the only two people in England who ever did S Level!
Being an ex-Python is weird. I suppose we are all mistaken for the people we once were, that's what the fossilization of fame is all about, but we're not really them, are we? Those young men are long since gone. We have to talk about them as though we still are them, but we're not, you know. They were smart, young, and terribly clever. We older, wider, and grayer men are their descendants. I used to be Eric Idle in Monty Python. But now I'm not. I'm not even like him. He drank and smoked and ate meat. He was married to a blond Australian. I'm none of the above.
Of course I'm not ashamed to lose it in public anymore, but a blubbing comic just ain't entertaining.
We [Brits] like to call it [soccer] "football" because, unlike American football, it is played with the feet.
[on meeting George Harrison for the first time] He never shut up. Thank God.
Secondary music is really bad for you. It's worse than smoking. At least smoking doesn't stop your thinking, but Muzak makes me resentful and gloomy.
He [Bill Murray] has such a lived-in face, and how rare it is to see a decent wrinkle on the screen. Hollywood is into facial prejudice in a big way. Age denial is the national sport.
There's a legendary story of one of the Monty Python boys being interviewed on a tape recorder by a pretty Canadian journalist while actually in flagrante, but wild horses would not drag the name of the recipient of this in-depth interview from my lips. To talk seriously on the radio about comedy while porking the questioner is still something of a high spot in the history of irony.
[on the BBC in the 1960s] It was fabulous. It was the golden age of executives, there weren't any.
[on his last correspondence with Robin Williams] Robin was supposed to come and do the last night, and all the time I was getting emails from him, and he was going downhill. Then he said he could come, but he didn't want to be onstage. I said, 'I totally get that.' Because he was suffering from severe depression. Through my friend Bobcat Goldthwait we were in touch, and in the end he said, 'I can't come, I'm sorry, but I love you very much.' We realized afterwards he was saying goodbye.

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