Eric Idle is an English actor, comedian, writer and musician who has a net worth of $70 million. Eric Idle is best known for his work as a member of the comedy group Monty Python. He was also part of the parody rock band the Rutles, and starred in such films as "Splitting Heirs" and "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn." Idle's other credits include the hit Broadway musical "Spamalot," which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2005. In Spamalot's initial run of 1,500 performances, it grossed $175 million.
Eric Idle was born on March 29, 1943 in South Shields, England to Norah, a domestic health worker, and Ernest, a Royal Air Force service member who was killed in 1945 in a road accident. Growing up, Idle spent much of his time in Wallasey on the Wirral peninsula, and went to St George's Primary School. Due to his mother's difficulty raising a child while also working a full-time job, he was subsequently enrolled as a boarder at the Royal Wolverhampton School. There, Idle was subjected to a harsh, physically abusive environment; he endured it by listening to Radio Luxembourg, watching the local football team, and sneaking out to the local cinema. When he was caught watching the X-rated film "BUtterfield 8," Idle was stripped of his prefecture.
For his higher education, Idle went to Pembroke College of the University of Cambridge, where he studied English. Soon, he was invited to join the prestigious Footlights Club, the school's theatrical group. In 1965, Idle became president of the club. A couple years later, he made his television debut as the co-creator and writer of the sitcom "No – That's Me Over Here!," and wrote and starred on the children's comedy series "Do Not Adjust Your Set," which featured his future Python cast mates Michael Palin and Terry Jones.
In 1969, Idle formed the surreal comedy group Monty Python with Terry Jones, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, and Terry Gilliam. The group subsequently debuted its sketch comedy television series "Monty Python's Flying Circus," which ran through 1974. The show became a phenomenon, spurring stage shows, films, books, and albums. In 1975, Monty Python released the feature film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," a medieval farce that is widely considered to be among the funniest movies ever made. The group followed this with 1979's "Monty Python's Life of Brian" and 1983's "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life."
With Python, Idle became known for his florid, creative wordplay, with many of his characters exhibiting pronounced verbal quirks. He also established a reputation for his numerous musical numbers, notably "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from "Life of Brian" and "Galaxy Song" from "The Meaning of Life."
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Following his success in Python, Idle landed his own BBC Radio One show called "Radio Five." In 1975, he created the sketch comedy television show "Rutland Weekend Television." This program resulted in the creation of the Rutles, a parody rock band modeled on the Beatles. In 1978, a mockumentary about the Rutles called "All You Need is Cash" aired on NBC.
Beyond his work in Python, Idle has appeared in a wide array of films and television series. He has been in episodes of such shows as "Laverne Shirley," "Nearly Departed," "One Foot in the Grave," and "Suddenly Susan." Additionally, he has lent his voice to several animated shows, including "Hercules," "Recess," "Buzz Lightyear Star Command," and "The Simpsons." On the big screen, Idle had his first role in a non-Python film in the 1983 comedy "Yellowbeard." He subsequently appeared in "National Lampoon's European Vacation," and lent his voice to "The Transformers: The Movie." In 1988, Idle reunited with Python member Terry Gilliam in Gilliam's fantasy film "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen." He was then in the comedy films "Nuns on the Run," "Too Much Sun," "Mom and Dad Save the World," and "Missing Pieces."
In 1993, Idle wrote, produced, and starred in the black comedy "Splitting Heirs." He subsequently appeared in "Casper," "The Wind in the Willows," and the mockumentary "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn." Idle went on to do mostly voice work throughout the 2000s, with credits including "Ella Enchanted," "Shrek the Third," "Delgo," and "Absolutely Anything."
Idle had one of his greatest creative successes in 2004, when he created the musical comedy stage production "Spamalot." Based on "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," it featured a book and lyrics by Idle, with direction by Mike Nichols. "Spamalot" was a runaway hit on Broadway and the West End, and went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical. Next, alongside composer John Du Prez, Idle created the comic oratorio "Not the Messiah," which premiered at the inaugural Luminato arts festival in Toronto before going on tour. Among Idle's other stage credits are the musical parody "What About Dick?" and the 2014 variety show "Monty Python Live," which brought together the Python members for their first live performance in 16 years.
As an author, Idle has written a number of fiction and non-fiction books. His titles include the novels "Hello Sailor" and "The Road to Mars"; the children's book "The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat"; and the comedy memoir "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography."
In 1969, Idle married actress Lyn Ashley, with whom he had a son named Carey. The couple later divorced in 1975. Subsequently, Idle met former model Tania Kosevich in 1977, and married her in 1981. Together, they have a daughter named Lily, and live in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.