Eric Idle

Eric Idle


3/29/1943, South Shields, County Durham, England.

Birth Name

Eric Idle



Also Known As

Eric Idol, Montypython Flyingcircus, Eric C. Idleberg
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User Rating
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Eric Idle is an English comedian and actor who is best known as one of the lead members of the British comedy troupe - Monty Python. Born in 1943, Idle lived a harsh childhood after being enrolled in a boarding school when his father was killed in a…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Eric wrote and composed songs for the children's book The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat.

    • Eric's journal, now titled The Greedy Bastard Diary: A Comic Tour of America, has been published!

    • Eric is an avid fan of the English Premiership and is a supporter of Sunderland Football Club.

    • In 2004, Eric recorded a protest song, the FCC Song in which he lambasts the US Federal Communications Commission for fining him $5000 for using the word 'f*ck' on national radio. Fittingly, the short song contains 14 uses of the expletive.

    • In 1990, Eric co-wrote and sang the theme song to the popular British sitcom One Foot In The Grave. The song was later released, but didn't do well in the charts. However, when "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" was adopted as a football chant in the late 1980s, Eric's neighbour Gary Lineker suggested he re-record and release the popular track. This led to a surprise hit, some 12 years after the song's original appearance in Monty Python's Life Of Brian. It reached number 3 in the UK charts and landed Eric a set on Top of the Pops in October 1991.

    • Eric, and family and friends performed the song, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life at the funeral of Graham Chapman.

    • The song, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life has since been covered by Bruce Cockburn and Art Garfunkel.

    • Eric is an accomplished songwriter, having composed and performed many of the Pythons' most famous comic pieces, including Eric The Half-A-Bee, The Philosophers' Song, Galaxy Song and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

    • Eric played the voice of Rincewind in the first two computer games based on Terry Pritchett's Discworld novels. He was also the lead vocalist in the song "That's Death" in the opening of Discworld II.

    • In 1999, Eric starred in the film Burn Hollywood Burn, which was nominated as 'Worst Picture of the Decade' in the Golden Raspberry Awards (known as the Razzies) - and was eventually awarded five Razzies including 'Worst Picture of the Year'.

    • In 1987, Eric appeared in the role of the 'Lord High Executioner' in the English National Opera production of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera The Mikado.

    • Eric played one of the four members of the pre-fab-four 'group' The Rutles, which was an affectionate spoof of The Beatles. The 'group' was created by Eric and Neil Innes, and the Rutles' film All You Need Is Cash was written by Eric, with music by Neil. Eric appeared in the film in the role of 'Dirk McQuickly'.

    • An example of Eric's idiosyncratic writing is Ants In Their Pants - a poem about the sex life of ants. It starts as follows: 'Where does an ant get its rocks off? How does the ant get it on? Do ants have it away, say three times a day, Is it once a week sex, or p'raps none?'

    • Eric was voted 21 in the top 50 greatest comedy acts ever, in a 2005 poll to find the "The Comedian's Comedian" in the UK. The poll was undertaken by comedians.

    • Both Michael Palin and Terry Jones publicly voiced their dislike of the show, Monty Python's Spamalot, as they felt it did not do justice to the Python heritage and tradition.

    • Eric wrote the book and co-wrote the music and lyrics for the musical, Monty Python's Spamalot. It premiered on January 9, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois, before moving to Broadway, where it received the Tony Award for Best Musical of the 2004-05 season.

    • In the 1970s, Eric was the editor of the Monty Python books. In 1976, he produced a spin-off book to Rutland Weekend Television, entitled The Rutland Dirty Weekend Book. He has also written the novels Hello Sailor and The Road to Mars.

    • In January 2003, Eric released the fifth in the book series A Pocketful of Python, containing some of his favourite sketches from Monty Python's Flying Circus and some of his favourite passages from their books.

    • While at the Royal Wolverhampton School, Eric refused to be senior boy in the school cadet force, as he was a supporter for the 'Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament' and had participated in the yearly Aldermaston march.

    • Eric was caught watching the X-rated Butterfield 8 movie and stripped of his prefectship, even though by that time he was head boy

    • Eric has said that during his time at the Royal Wolverhampton School, the two things that made his life bearable were listening to Radio Luxembourg under the bedclothes and watching the local football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Despite this, he disliked other sports and would sneak out of school every Thursday afternoon to the local cinema.

    • After Eric's father died, his mother had difficulty coping with a full-time job and raising a child. As a result, when he was seven, she enrolled him into the Royal Wolverhampton School as a boarder. The school used to be an orphanage.

    • During the sixties and early seventies, Eric was occasionally mistaken for the actor Peter Cook.

    • Eric, producer of hit Broadway musical Monty Python's Spamalot, refers to the play as "lovingly ripped-off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail".

    • In 1963, as a collegiate, Eric was admitted into the Cambridge Footlights comedy club. The following year he became President of the Cambridge Footlights Club, with one of his first tasks being to open the membership up to include women. Feminist/writer Germaine Greer was one of the first to join.

    • Eric's father served in the Royal Air Force. He later died in a car crash on Christmas Eve in 1945, when Eric was just two years old. After he died, his mother had difficulty coping with a full-time job and raising a child. As a result, when he was seven, she enrolled him into the Royal Wolverhampton School as a boarder. The school used to be an orphanage.

    • Eric married Lyn Ashley in 1971. They have one child together, a son named Carey who was born in 1973.

    • In July 2005, Eric signed a deal to have his musical Spamalot performed in Wynn's Resorts in Las Vegas in 2007. The play will perform there for 10 years.

    • In 2005, Eric received permission from the other members of Monty Python to go ahead with his play/musical Spamalot. The play was a twist on their classic 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

    • Eric procured part of the production money for Life Of Brian from George Harrison due to their close friendship.

    • Eric is a close friend of comedian and actor Robin Williams.

    • Monty Python member Graham Chapman was openly gay and after a letter had been written citing Bible verses, stating that homosexuals should be stoned to death, Eric jokingly replied that they had stoned Chapman to death.

    • In 2002, Eric defeated both Charles Barkley and Martha Stewart on a celebrity episode of Jeopardy.

    • Eric 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 spoke only in anagrams.

    • Eric is an accomplished guitar player.

    • Eric proudly calls himself "the third tallest member of Monty Python."

    • Eric was the only member of the Monty Python troupe to write alone. Therefore, it was difficult at times for him to get his material accepted and used by the others.

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

    • Eric has two children. A son, Carey (b. 1973) with first wife, Lyn Ashley, and a daughter, Lily (b. 1990) with 2nd wife, Tania Kosevich.

    • Eric is 6'1" tall.

    • Eric occasionally writes for the BBC Radio comedy series I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again.

    • Eric conceived the idea for the musical Seussical headed for Broadway celebrating Dr.Seuss's beloved childrens books.

    • Eric wrote and performs the theme song for UK comedy series One Foot In The Grave. Eric also wrote and composed songs for the children's book The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat

    • Eric appeared in a TV Commercial for Drug Awareness in 1998. In 2005 he appeared in a TV commercial for Desex and the City.

    • Eric wrote and composed songs for the children's book The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat.

    • In 2001, Eric was nominated for the Video Premiere Award for Best Audio Commentary for: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). He shared the honour with John Cleese, and Michael Palin.

    • Eric was named #82 out of 137 on Entertainment Weekly's 'Must List' in 2004.

  • Quotes

    • Eric: (his favourite sexual position) Flat on my back with my wallet open.

    • Eric: (on gay marriages) It's about time they suffered too.

    • Eric: John (Cleese) once told me he'd do anything for money. So I offered him a pound to shut up, and he took it.

    • Eric: (on the Royal Wolverhampton School) It was a physically abusive, bullying, harsh environment for a kid to grow up in. I got used to dealing with groups of boys and getting on with life in unpleasant circumstances and being smart and funny and subversive at the expense of authority. Perfect training for Python.

    • Eric: Bear in mind the simple rule, X squared to the power of two minus five over the seven point eight three times nineteen is approximately equal to the cube root of MCC squared divided by X minus a quarter of a third percent. Keep that in mind, and you can't go very far wrong.

    • Eric: I love being an older comic now. It's like being an old soccer or an old baseball player. You're in the Hall of Fame and it's nice, but you're no longer that person in the limelight on the spot doing that thing.

    • Eric: We're all over 60. I'm sorry to say this, but comedy is really a young man's game. It's sort of about what you had to say when you were fresh and young. And I'm perfectly happy to get drunk with the rest of them.

    • Eric: A lot has been said about politicians; some of it complimentary, but most of it accurate.

    • Eric: I think the special thing about Python is that it's a writers' commune. The writers are in charge. The writers decide what the material is.

    • Eric: As long as there are innocent nickels to be made from the gullible, Python-starved public, I shall be out there dressed in silly frocks and singing filthy lyrics. I'm coming your way in search of ancient dollars.

  • Loved Him Since Around the World in 80 Days

    I have loved Eric Idle since Around the World in 80 Days as Passepartout. Then I started loving his work in Monty Python as well as other non-Python work. He is a man for all seasons. Singing, acting, directing, writing, producing.

    The one thing I would love for him to do is do a drama like Law & Order.