Michael Palin pays tribute to ‘most valued friend’ Terry Jones

Sir Michael Palin has paid tribute to "one of my closest, most valued friends" following the death of fellow Monty Python star Terry Jones.

The actor and comedian, who directed some of the comedy troupe's best-loved works, "gently slipped away" at the age of 77, a statement to the PA news agency on behalf of his family said.

Michael Palin pays tribute to 'most valued friend' Terry Jones

Sir Michael said Jones, who had dementia and died on Tuesday evening, was "kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full".

"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," he said.

25 PHOTOS
Terry Jones
See Gallery
Terry Jones
Monty Python star Terry Jones has died at the age of 77. The actor and comedian, who was diagnosed with dementia, directed some of the comedy troupe's most-loved works.
Monty Python star Terry Jones dies aged 77
Life after the Pythons: Highlights from Terry Jones’ late career
‘He’s a very naughty boy’ – Terry Jones’ best lines from Monty Python
Terry Jones: A comedy genius who also made his mark behind the camera
File photo dated 03/03/12 of Terry Jones taking part in the first Ripping Yarns hopathon to mark the DVD release of Ripping Yarns The Complete Series. The actor and comedian, who had dementia, has died at the age of 77.
British comedy troupe Monty Python, (L-R) Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Carol Cleveland, Terry Gilliam and John Cleese pose for a photograph during a media event in central London on November 21, 2013. Cue endless jokes about resting parrots -- the five surviving members of Monty Python, Britain's cult comedy troupe, announced on November 21 they will take to the stage again next year, three decades after their last performance together. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Monty Python star, writer and film director Terry Jones at his south London home.
File photo dated 28/05/14 of Monty Python star Terry Jones who still enjoys long walks and a good joke despite living with dementia, his friend Michael Palin has said.
(left to right) Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones from Monty Python at a photocall before their series of live dates which start at the O2 Arena.
Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and John Cleese are seen on the first day of rehearsals in London, for their new show Monty Python Live (mostly) which is on at the O2 Arena in London on July 1-5, 15, 16, 18-20.
John Cleese and Terry Jones are seen on the first day of rehearsals in London, for their new show Monty Python Live (mostly) which is on at the O2 Arena in London on July 1-5, 15, 16, 18-20.
Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Carol Cleveland, Terry GIlliam and John Cleese attend a photocall to announce the new Monty Python reunion Stage Show , at the Corithia Hotel, London.
Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry GIlliam and John Cleese attend a photocall to announce the new Monty Python reunion Stage Show , at the Corithia Hotel, London.
Terry Jones (left) and Michael Palin attend the unveiling of a British comedy society plaque outside The Angle Inn in Highgate, London, dedicated to former Monty Python star Graham Chapman.
Terry Jones arrives for the unveiling of a British comedy society plaque outside The Angel Inn in Highgate, London, dedicated to former Monty Python star Graham Chapman.
Terry Jones arrives for the unveiling of a British comedy society plaque outside The Angel Inn in Highgate, London, dedicated to former Monty Python star Graham Chapman.
(Left to right) Director Terry Gilliam, Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Terry Jones join the 'Coconut Orchestra' (involving cast members of the West End hit, 'Spamalot') attempting to set a new world record (established by the 1,785 people who took part in a similar event last year in New York) in time to the Monty Python classic 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life', in Trafalgar Square, central London.
Former Monty Python star Terry Jones arrives for the DVD screening of "A Concert For George" at Odeon West End in central London. * The DVD features a tribute concert held for former Beatle George Harrison which was held last November at the Royal Albert Hall, and features performances by Eric Clapton and Jools Holland.
Director Terry Gilliam (centre) with fellow Monty Python members Michael Palin (left) and Terry Jones, at the Times BFI London Film Festival screening of 'The Brothers Grimm', at the Odeon West End Cinema, Leicester Square, central London, Monday 31 October 2005 . PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo Credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA.
Former Monty Python star, writer and film director Terry Jones at his south London home.
Monty Python's Terry Jones with his wife arriving for the Gala charity screening of The Man Who Cried, at the Odeon West End, London.
Former Monty Python star, writer and film director Terry Jones at his south London home.
Former Monty Python actors Michael Palin (L) and Terry Jones at the official launch of Messiah Pictures, a new British film company of which Jones is a director, at the Cafe de Paris in London.
4TH OCTOBER: ON THIS DAY IN 1969, THE BBC AIRED MONTY PYTHONS FLYING CIRCUS FOR THE FIRST TIME Monty Python stars (L-R) John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Carol Cleveland and Terry Gilliam at a photocall in London's Leicester Square, where they reunited to celebrate their 30th anniversary by attending a charity screening of their film Life Of Brian. * ...to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Relief as a tribute to their late partner Graham Chapman who died a decade ago. Eric Idle was notable by his absence following an apparent fall-out.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

He added in a statement to PA: "I feel very fortunate to have shared so much of my life with him."

Fellow Python star John Cleese also paid tribute to Jones, tweeting: "It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away..."

He added: "Two down, four to go."

Jones appeared in the Monty Python's Flying Circus TV series in a variety of characters, and was known for his performances in drag.

John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam
Monty Python stars John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam (PA)

A statement on behalf of his family said they were "deeply saddened" to announce the death of a "beloved husband and father", who had "given pleasure to countless millions across six decades".

They hailed an "extraordinarily talented, playful and happy man living a truly authentic life, in his words 'Lovingly frosted with glucose'."

Jones died "with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good- humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD", the statement said.

"Over the past few days, his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in north London.

"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."

They said his work "will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath".

The family thanked "wonderful medical professionals and carers for making the past few years not only bearable but often joyful. We hope that this disease will one day be eradicated entirely."

The Welsh-born star suffered from a form of dementia which affects the ability to communicate.

Jones directed the film Monty Python And The Holy Grail in 1975 with Terry Gilliam.

Terry Jones
John Cleese and Terry Jones in rehearsals for their Monty Python Live show in 2014 (PA)

The group's Life Of Brian film in 1979, about a hapless man mistaken for Jesus, was attacked as blasphemous at the time but has since been voted the funniest classic comedy.

On screen, Jones's much-loved characters included Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson, Cardinal Biggles of the Spanish Inquisition, and Mr Creosote, the monstrously obese restaurant patron.

Stephen Fry, David Walliams and Charlie Brooker were also among those paying tribute to the star, with Fry praising Jones as a "wonderful talent, heart and mind".

Walliams wrote: "Thank you Terry for a lifetime of laughter."

Shane Allen, BBC controller of comedy commissioning, wrote that it was a "sad day to lose an absolute Titan of British comedy" and "one of the founding fathers of the most influential and pioneering comedy ensembles of all time".

Jones also directed The Meaning Of Life in 1983, the Pythons' last film together.

"And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint"

One of Terry Jones' Top 10 Monty Python Movie Moments... Mr. Creosote: https://t.co/LTh2ZnyxcR

— Monty Python (@montypython) November 13, 2019

His other credits include The Wind In The Willows in 1996, with performances from Idle, Palin and Cleese, 2015 comedy Absolutely Anything, and Personal Services (1987).

Jones took part in a reunion of remaining Monty Python members in 2014 – Graham Chapman had died of cancer in 1989.

He had two children with Alison Telfer, whom he married in 1970, and became a father again, at the age of 67, with second wife Ms Soderstrom.

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS