Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

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Terry Jones, member of the Monty Python comedy team. (Photo: ZUMA / MGN)

LONDON (CBS News) — Terry Jones, a member of the Monty Python comedy troupe, has died at 77. He had been suffering from dementia.

Jones’s agent says he died Tuesday evening. In a statement, his family said he died “after a long, extremely brave but always good humored battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.”

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With Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam, Jones formed Monty Python’s Flying Circus, whose anarchic humor helped revolutionize British comedy.

Jones appeared in the troupe’s TV series and films including “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “The Life of Brian.”

In 2016 he was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.



Jones’s wife, Anna Soderstrom, and children Bill, Sally and Siri, said “we have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humor has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades.”

“His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programs, poems and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath,” they said.

Cleese said in a tweet that it felt strange to him, “that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away.”

“Two down, four to go,” Cleese quipped. Python writer and actor Neil Innes died last year at the age of 75.

“(He) was one of my closest, most valued friends. He was kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full,” Palin said in a statement.

“He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation. He was the complete Renaissance comedian – writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children’s author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have,” Palin said.

As well as performing, Jones co-directed “Holy Grail” with Gilliam, and directed “Life of Brian” and the 1983 Python film “The Meaning of Life.”

Playing the mother of Brian, a hapless young man who is mistaken for Jesus in “Life of Brian,” Jones delivered one of the Pythons’ most famous lines: “He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!”

After the troupe largely disbanded in the 1980s, Jones wrote books on medieval and ancient history, presented documentaries, directed films, wrote poetry and wrote the script for the Jim Henson-directed fantasy film “Labyrinth.”