Michael Palin opens up about fellow Python Terry Jones’ dementia diagnosis

The Monty Python gang of (L-R) Michael Palin, Eric Idle,Terry Jones, Carol Cleveland, Terry Gilliam and John Cleese attend a photocall to publicize a a reunion show in London, Thursday, November 21, 2013. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

LONDON, Sept. 25 (UPI) — British writer and comedian Michael Palin admits it is painful to watch his fellow Monty Python member Terry Jones suffer from dementia.

“Terry J has been my close friend and workmate for over fifty years,” Palin wrote in a Facebook page Saturday.

“The progress of his dementia has been painful to watch and the news announced yesterday that he has a type of aphasia which is gradually depriving him of the ability to speak is about the cruelest thing that could befall someone to whom words, ideas, arguments, jokes and stories were once the stuff of life. Not that Terry is out of circulation. He spends time with his family and only two days ago I met up with him for one of our regular meals at his local pub. Howard Johnson, an American friend of Python, was in town and took this picture. Terry doesn’t say very much but he smiles, laughs, recognizes and responds, and I’m always pleased to see him. Long may that last.”

The message accompanied a photo of the pair sitting together and smiling.

Jones’ representative confirmed last week that the 74-year-old, Welsh-born filmmaker has been diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a type of dementia. The news was revealed just as BAFTA Cymru announced its plans to honor Jones at a ceremony in Cardiff on Oct. 2.

In addition to being a member of the famed Monty Python comedy troupe, Jones also helmed the classic movies “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” and “The Meaning of Life,” and co-directed “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” with Terry Gilliam. He penned the screenplay for the 1986 fantasy movie “Labyrinth,” starring David Bowie, as well.

The surviving Pythons — Jones, Palin, Gilliam, John Cleese and Eric Idle — performed a series of sold-out stage shows in 2014.


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