Where are they now?

October 03, 1999|By Chris Kaltenbach

Life after 'Python'

The members of Monty Python released their last film, "Monty Python's Meaning of Life," in 1983. Here's a brief look at their careers outside the group:

* Graham Chapman: After overcoming alcoholism and a lifelong case of stage fright, Chapman went on well-received lecture tours of college campuses through most of the 1980s. He also produced, co-wrote and starred in the film "Yellowbeard." Chapman died of cancer Oct. 4, 1989, one day short of "Python's" 20th anniversary. His fellow group members sent flowers in the shape of a giant foot to his funeral (a nod to the series' opening credits) with the words, "Stop us if we're getting too silly."

* John Cleese: Perhaps the most prolific and successful of the ex-Pythoners, Cleese went on to star in the fondly received "Fawlty Towers" television series, as ill-tempered hotelier Basil Fawlty. He's also starred in the film "A Fish Called Wanda" and received an Emmy for his guest appearance as a marriage counselor on "Cheers."

* Terry Gilliam: Parlayed the distinctive eye he developed doing the animation for "Flying Circus" into a career as one of the more visionary directors working in films today. Among his movies: "Brazil" and "12 Monkeys."

* Eric Idle: The first Pythoner to serve as host of "Saturday Night Live" (Oct. 2, 1976), Idle was also the man behind the Rutles, a hilarious, good-natured Beatles parody TV special that aired in 1978. He's had a steady career as a bit player in TV and movies, most recently as Brooke Shields' boss in NBC's "Suddenly Susan."

* Terry Jones: Has brought a touch of Python to the study of history with the marvelous "Crusades" series, which aired on cable's History Channel. Has also written a series of children's books and occasional columns for the Guardian newspaper.

* Michael Palin: Co-starred with Cleese in "A Fish Called Wanda" and its follow-up, "Fierce Creatures." Most recently, was host of a 10-part series shown on PBS, "Full Circle With Michael Palin," chronicling his 245-day trek around the Pacific Ocean.

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