Eric Idle

Eric Idle

Eric Idle was born in South Shields, County Durham, England. After a childhood spent in boarding school, Idle enrolled in Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1965, where he began his love affair with performance by way of the renowned Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club. Through the program, Idle met John Cleese and Graham Chapman, with whom he'd eventually go on to form the comedy troupe Monty Python. Idle met further future fellow Python members Terry Jones and Michael Palin while working on the comedy television series "Do Not Adjust Your Set" (ITV 1967-69) while still enrolled in college. Upon his graduation in '69, Idle and the others, along with Terry Gilliam, formed Monty Python, taking form early on with the sketch series "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (BBC One/BBC Two 1969-1974). Despite the success of the program, the team opted at the point of the show's termination to pursue individual projects; Idle experimented first with a radio show, "Radio Five" (BBC Radio One 1973-74), and then with a new sketch show, "Rutland Weekend Television" (BBC Two 1975-76), which spawned his best-known project outside Monty Python, "All You Need Is Cash" (NBC 1978), a satirical film based on the career of The Beatles that Idle wrote and starred in as both the narrator and Paul McCartney stand-in Dirk McQuickly, with songs by longtime collaborator Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Band, whom he first met on "Do Not Adjust Your Set." These aspirations notwithstanding, Monty Python did reunite for feature films like "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975), "Life of Brian" (1979) and "The Meaning of Life" (1983). Going forward, Idle appeared in movies like "The Transformers: The Movie" (1986), the Gilliam-directed "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1986), "Casper" (1995), "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn" (1997), and "Ella Enchanted" (2004). In 2005, Idle adapted "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" as a Broadway musical called "Spamalot," originally directed by Mike Nichols.