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Eric Idle

29 Mar 1943 (Age 75)

Eric Idle Biography

Eric Idle is an English comedian, actor, author, singer and composer of comic songs. He wrote and performed as a member of the internationally renowned British comedy group Monty Python.

He studied English at Cambridge University. While at the university, he was a member of the prestigious Cambridge Footlights Club, and later, the 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.

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.

He was the supporter of Sunderland Football Club of the English Premiership. And he proudly calls himself "the third tallest member of Monty Python." He is an accomplished guitar player.

Defeated Charles Barkley and Martha Stewart on a celebrity episode of "Jeopardy" (2002) in 2002.

He 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 to be hilarious.

He 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.

He was friends with Robin Williams. He 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 a part of the production money for Life of Brian (1979) from former Beatle George Harrison. He appeared 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 was asked for Alan Smithee's "autograph" in real life...and consented (Smithee was the nonexistent, pseudonymous director whom Idle "portrayed" in the said movie).

He 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.

He was the only member of Monty Python not to appear on "Friday Night, Saturday Morning" (1979). He was invited to the party Steve Martin was throwing that turned out to be his wedding. He was a member of Monty Python along with John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam.

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