Comedian Terry Jones of the Monty Python comedy troupe passes away at age 77, pictured here as Cardinal Biggles from The Spanish Inquisition skit.

The world lost a great comedic soul this week. Terry Jones, a founding member of Monty Python, passed at the age of 77 from a rare form of dementia. His colleagues knew him as “the complete renaissance comedian”. Fans remember him as Sir Bevedere, Cardinal Biggles, Mr. Creosote, Simon the Holy Man, the alarmed crucifixion assistant, and famously as both Brian’s Mother and Dennis the Peasant’s Mother respectively in The Life of Brian and The Holy Grail.

“He died Tuesday evening at his home in London after a long, extremely brave but always good humored battle with a rare form of dementia. 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,”

Jones Family statement on his passing

A Legacy of Laughs

Terry Jones (second from the right) as Sir Bevedere in Monty Python’s The Search for the Holy Grail released in 1975.

Being a Monty Python fan, I am reminded of my favorite Terry Jones moments in Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail, when Sir Bevedere explains how to determine if someone is a witch. I sometimes get the occasion to ask someone, What also floats? If they answer, a duck!, then I know I am in the best of company. I’m giggling to myself as I write this, and I’m sure Terry Jones would approve. He was all about the laughs. Honestly, I don’t know how the others could keep a straight face doing bits with him.

In the same film, he also plays Prince Herbert, an inept heir to the King of the Swamp’s empire that falls out the high tower window. I don’t know why this scene strikes me so funny. Perhaps it’s Jones’ moaning, whiny voice or his deadpan delivery, but it cracks me up every time:

[the King gestures to the window]…

King of Swamp Castle: One day, lad, all this will be yours.

Prince Herbert: What, the curtains?

King of Swamp Castle: No, not the curtains, lad, all that you can see stretched out over the valleys and the hills! That’ll be your kingdom, lad.

Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail

In Memory of Terry Jones: 1942-2020

“Terry was one of my closest, most valued friends. He was kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full. [Terry] 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.”

Michael Palin on the passing of his friend Terry Jones
Members of Monty Python. From the left: Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Terry Jones, and Eric Idle.
Members of Monty Python. From the left: Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Terry Jones, and Eric Idle.

Godspeed, Mr. Jones. Lots of laughs will be happening wherever you are tonight.

“He’s not the messiah… he’s a very naughty boy!

Mandy Cohen, Brian’s mother (played by Terry Jones)

Source: IMDb; WGN Channel 9