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Terry Jones (1942-2020)

 

  1. Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, 1970.     Author Roald Dahl's   original choice to play his eccentric chocolatier was BBC radio Goon Spike Milligan. Next? Spike’s co-Goon Peter Sellers was too expensive. LA’s choice, Joel Grey, was “not physically imposing enough.”  Ron Moody would have frightened the horses - and the kids. UK comic Frankie Howerd was into two film farces. Jon Pertwee was wed to Doctor Who. Carry On stars Sidney James and Kenneth Williams were as keen as (a way too old) Fred Astaire. One by one, all six Monty Pythons (Jones, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin) were judged not international enough (and Howerd and Milligan were?!) Cleese, Idle and Palin were offered the 2005 re-hash, by which time Chapman had died and Jones and Gilliam turned director.
  2. Brian Bedford, Robin Hood, 1972.    After Tommy Steele fell out, Jones was in for a wee while to voice the fox version of Sherwood’s hero - Disney style.
  3. Michael Hordern, Yellowbeard, 1981.    Eric Idle, annoyed at how Time Bandits almost became a Monty Python film, was the only star happy about this one. It had John Cleese and Graham Chapman wrote and starred (Chapman in the title role) but Jones and Michael Palin kept refusing to join what the down-under hype called “Everyone who’s ever been funny!” (In truth it was unholy mix of Monty P, Mel Brooks players and Cheech & Chong sans pot - er, on screen).
  4. Rowan Atkinson, The Lion King, 1993.    Also in the mix to voice Zazu in the 32nd Disney toon - Bambi meets Hamlet in Afric! - were Chris Barrie, Simon Callow, David Jason, Spike Milligan, Vic Reeves, Patrick Stewart. Plus various UK comedy giants: Peter Cook and Dudley Moore; The Two Ronnies: Barker and Ronnie Corbett; The Goodies: Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Bill Odie; and the Monty Pythons: Jones, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin.
  5. Johnny Depp, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, 2004.  
    A  major Monty P fan, director Tim Burton mused over the surviving Pythons - Jones, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin for chocolatier Willy Wonka. (They were also up for the 1970 version). Burton’s 27 other fancies: his ole Betelgeuse, Michael Keaton, plus Dan Aykroyd, Rowan Atkinson, Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Chevy Chase, Warwick Davis, Robert De Niro, James Gandolfini, Dwayne Johnson, Ian McKellen, Marilyn Manson, Steve Martin, Rik Mayall, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, John Neville, Leslie Nielsen, Brad Pitt, Peter Sallis, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Will Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ben Stiller, Christopher Walken and Robin Williams. Among the five exec producers, author Roald Dahl’s widow, Liccy, wanted her husband’s favourite Willy - Dustin Hoffman.   If not possible she voted for UK comics, Eddie Izzard or David Walliams. She was quite happy with Depp…   who found Willy’s voice while riffing on a stoned George W Bush!

 

>>>>>>>>>Tributes

“Two down, four to go.” - John Cleese.

“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…  It’s sort of like losing a limb.  I’ve known dear Terry since I met him,  at  university in 1961, I think and we performed at the Edinburgh festival  - the first time  we wrote and perfromed material together - in 1964 and we were inseparable for many, many years after that, writing, acting, through the Python times.  I valued his opinion probably more than  any other. He  was a very astute man…. he threw himself into things with such passion and such energy and he really refused to take on things which didn’t excite him and which didn’t feel different from what else was around. … Part of his warmth was his love of all sorts of things and comedies - he knew an awful lot about the silent film comedians. There were so many aspects to Terry, but I would say enthusiasm and passion were the two main words that described him best…..” - Sir Michael Palin.

 “HE WAS A VERY NAUGHTY BOY!!...and we miss you. Terry was someone totally consumed with life... a brilliant, constantly questioning, iconoclastic, righteously argumentative and angry but outrageously funny and generous and kind human being... and very often a complete pain in the ass. One could never hope for a better friend. Goodbye, Tel.”  - Terry Gilliam

 “I loved him the moment I saw him onstage at the Edinburgh Festival in 1963. So many laughs, moments of total hilarity onstage and off we have all shared with him… “Thank you all for your kind thoughts and messages of support for our dearly beloved brother Terry, It is a cruel and sad thing. But let's remember just what joy he brought to all of us.” – Eric  Idle

“Not only 1/6 of the Pythons, Mr Creosote, Arthur Two Sheds Jackson, Dino Vercotti, Mandy Cohen, Prince Herbert, Cardinal Biggles & the Nude Organist, but also esteemed director of all time comedy classic: Life Of Brian.” - Edgar Wright

“OMG (Oh my God), so funny. Salute to Terry Jones.”  S- teve Martin

 “Farewell, Terry Jones. The great foot has come down to stamp on you. My god what pleasure you gave, what untrammelled joy and delight. What a wonderful talent, heart and mind.” - Stephen Fry

“May the dear, great Terry Jones find eternal peace in the loving embrace of Jesus Christ. Or more likely of Brian." - Russell Brand

“Terry Jones was the only Python who agreed to appear in The Young Ones. It was like affirmation from God himself. This was the man who’d directed what was, and still is, the funniest feature film ever made. We loved him for it, and always will. Sadly, he’s eaten his last mint.”  - Adrian Edmondson

"It's a tragedy - the good go too early. Monty Python changed the face of world comedy. It will live forever. It's a terrible loss." – Eddie Izzard

"It was an awful form of dementia for someone who loved debating and cajoling and arguing and playing different characters, to be reduced to being able to say very few words…I lived fairly nearby and I used to go see him quite a lot, and though his dementia was shutting him down there were little moments you absolutely treasured - maybe just a glance or a touch on the hand or something like that.” - Sir Michael Palin.

 “He brought an endless energy and enthusiasm” to everything he did. He got up one day when we were shooting on the south coast and he got excited about how green the grass was.  I envy his confidence - to direct, to argue, to take on something new . Life of Brian  was his masterpiece., Perfection. I shall think of him exploding.” - John Cleese.

 





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