Terrence Graham Parry Jones (February 1, 1942 – January 21, 2020) was a Welsh actor, writer, comedian, screenwriter, film director and historian. He was a member of the Monty Python comedy team. After graduating from Oxford University with a degree in English, Jones and writing partner Michael Palin (whom he met at Oxford) wrote and performed for several high-profile British comedy programmes, including Do Not Adjust Your Set and The Frost Report, before creating Monty Python’s Flying Circus with Cambridge graduates Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, and American animator/filmmaker Terry Gilliam.
Jones was largely responsible for the programme’s innovative, surreal structure, in which sketches flowed from one to the next without the use of punchlines. He made his directorial debut with the team’s film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which he co-directed with Gilliam, and also directed the subsequent Python films Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. Other known films as director include Erik the Viking (1989), with Tim Robbins; The Wind and the Willows (1996), with Steve Coogan, Idle, Jones, and Stephen Fry; and Absolutely Anything (2015), with Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Rob Riggle, Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley, with the voices of Cleese, Gilliam, Idle, Palin and Robin Williams.
Jones co-created and co-wrote with Palin the anthology series Ripping Yarns. He also wrote an early draft of Jim Henson’s 1986 film Labyrinth, though little of his work remained in the final cut. Jones was a well-respected medieval historian, having written several books and presented television documentaries about the period, as well as a prolific children’s book author.
In 2016, Jones received a Lifetime Achievement award at the BAFTA Cymru Awards for his outstanding contribution to television and film. After living for several years with a degenerative aphasia, he gradually lost the ability to speak and died on January 21, 2020 from frontotemporal dementia.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) – directed by Ian MacNaughton – co-writer, actor
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)** – co-directed with Terry Gilliam – also actor, co-writer
- Jabberwocky (1977) – directed by Terry Gilliam – actor
- Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)** – director, co-writer, actor
- Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) – directed by Terry Hughes (live segments) & Ian MacNaughton (filmed segments) – co-writer, actor -concert comedy film
- The Crimson Permanent Assurance (1983) – directed by Terry Gilliam – uncredited actor – short
- Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983) – director, co-writer, actor
- Labyrinth (1986) – directed by Jim Henson – writer
- Personal Services (1987) – director
- Erik the Viking (1989) – director, writer, actor
- L.A. Story (1991) – directed by Mick Jackson – uncredited voice
- The Wind and the Willows (1996) – director, writer, actor
- Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar (1999) – directed by Claude Zidi – aka Astérix & Obélix contre César – English dub – France/Italy/Germany
- The Creator (1999) – directed by Albert Dupontel – aka Le créateur – France
- Help! I’m a Fish (2000) – directed by Stefan Fjeldmark, Greg Manwaring & Michael Hegner – aka Hjælp, jeg er en fisk – English dub – Denmark/Germany/Ireland
- Locked Out (2006) – directed by Albert Dupontel – aka Enfermés dehors – France
- Anna and the Moods (2007) – directed by Gunnar Karlsson – Iceland
- King Guillame (2009) – directed by Pierre-François Martin-Laval – France
- Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy) (2010) – directed by Aubrey Powell – oratorio
- A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman (2012) – directed by Bill Jones, Jeff Simpson, & Ben Timlett
- Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go (2014)* – directed by Eric Idle & Aubrey Powell – co-writer, actor – concert film
- Absolutely Anything (2015) – director, co-writer, actor