Eric Idle

Actor, Screenwriter, Songwriter
As one-sixth of the famed British comedy troupe, Monty Python, actor-writer-musician Eric Idle specialized in playing cheeky or insincere characters, while immortalizing the catchphrase, "Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no ... Read more »
Born: 03/29/1943 in Durham, England, GB


Actor (65)

Conan 2016 (Tv Show)


Absolutely Anything 2015 (Movie)


Inside Comedy 2014 (Tv Show)


BrandX with Russell Brand 2012 (Tv Show)


Real Time with Bill Maher 1999 - 2000, 2002 - 2003, 2012 (Tv Show)


The Simpsons 2003 - 2004, 2007, 2012 (Tv Show)


George Harrison: Living in the Material World 2011 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Delgo 2008 (Movie)

Voice of Spig (Actor)

Shrek the Third 2007 (Movie)

Voice of Merlin (Actor)

Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! 2004 - 2007 (TV Show)


Earth to America! 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)


Diva 51 2005 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The Aristocrats 2005 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Ella Enchanted 2004 (Movie)

Narrator (Actor)

Hollywood Homicide 2003 (Movie)

Celebrity (Actor)

The Scream Team 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)


Disney/Pixar's Buzz Lightyear of Star Command 2000 - 2002 (TV Show)


Pinocchio 2002 (Movie)

Voice of Medoro (Actor)

TNN's Conspiracy Zone With Kevin Nealon 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)


Steve Martin Seriously Funny 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)


The Beatles Revolution 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)


102 Dalmatians 2000 (Movie)

of Waddlesworth (Voice)

Canned Ham: Eric Idle 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)


Disney's Hercules 1998 - 2000 (TV Show)


Life of Python 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)


Suddenly Susan 1999 - 2000 (Tv Show)


The Martin Short Show 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)


Dudley Do-Right 1999 (Movie)

The Prospector (Actor)

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut 1999 (Movie)

of Doctor Vosknocker (Voice)

Burn, Hollywood, Burn 1998 (Movie)

Alan Smithee (Actor)

Quest for Camelot 1998 (Movie)

Singing Voice of 'Devon' the Two-Headed Dragon (Actor)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie 1998 (Movie)

of Slyly the Fox (Voice)

The Wind in the Willows 1997 (Movie)

Rat (Actor)

Casper 1995 (Movie)

Dibs (Actor)

Splitting Heirs 1993 (Movie)

Tommy (Actor)

Mom and Dad Save the World 1992 (Movie)

Raff (Actor)

Missing Pieces 1991 (Movie)

Wendel Dickens (Actor)

Too Much Sun 1991 (Movie)

Sonny Rivers (Actor)

Life of Python 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)


Nuns on the Run 1990 (Movie)

Brian Hope (Actor)

Saturday Night Live 15th Anniversary 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)


Nearly Departed 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)


The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1989 (Movie)

Berthold (Actor)

The Mikado 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)


Monty Python's Flying Circus 1974 - 1988 (TV Show)


Transformers - The Movie 1986 (Movie)

of Wreck Gar (Voice)

National Lampoon's European Vacation 1985 (Movie)

The Bike Rider (Actor)

Yellowbeard 1983 (Movie)

Commander Clement (Actor)

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life 1982 (Movie)


Monty Python's Life Of Brian 1979 (Movie)

Harry the Haggler--a Beard-and-stone Salesman (Actor)

Saturday Night Live 1976 - 1977 (Tv Show)


Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975 (Movie)

Guard (Actor)

Around the World in 80 Days (TV Show)

Music (10)

The Wild 2006 (Movie)

("Really Nice Day") (Song)

The Wild 2006 (Movie)

("Really Nice Day") (Song Performer)

Quest for Camelot 1998 (Movie)

("If I Didn't Have You") (Song Performer)

As Good As It Gets 1997 (Movie)

("Always Look on the Bright Side of Life") (Song)

Splitting Heirs 1993 (Movie)

("Someone Stole My Baby" "La Mere") (Song Performer)

Splitting Heirs 1993 (Movie)

lyrics (Theme Lyrics)

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1989 (Movie)

("The Torturer's Apprentice") (Song)

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life 1982 (Movie)

("The Meaning of Life" "Galaxy Song" "Oh Lord Please Don't Burn Us Down" "Penis Song" "Christmas in Heaven") (Song)

Monty Python's Life Of Brian 1979 (Movie)


Monty Python's Life Of Brian 1979 (Movie)

("Bright Side of Life") (Song Performer)
Writer (6)

Splitting Heirs 1993 (Movie)


Monty Python's The Meaning of Life 1982 (Movie)


Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl 1981 (Movie)


Monty Python's Life Of Brian 1979 (Movie)


Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975 (Movie)


And Now For Something Completely Different 1973 (Movie)

Director (1)

Monty Python Live (Mostly) 2014 (Movie)

Producer (1)

Splitting Heirs 1993 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)


As one-sixth of the famed British comedy troupe, Monty Python, actor-writer-musician Eric Idle specialized in playing cheeky or insincere characters, while immortalizing the catchphrase, "Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more," on "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (BBC1/BBC2, 1969-1974). When the troupe began making films in the 1970s, Idle was given opportunity to flourish, playing the cowardly Sir Robin, among many other memorable characters, in their first bona fide hit, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975). With "Monty Python's The Life of Brian" (1979), Idle made perhaps his most lasting contribution to the troupe, writing the ending credits song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," which was sung by Roman prisoners awaiting death by crucifixion. In between Python films, he branched off on his own to create "The Rutles," a Beatles-like rock-n-roll band that first premiered on the British comedy series "Rutland Weekend Television" (BBC2, 1975-76). Back with Python, Idle appeared in "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" (1983), playing an array of bizarre characters while writing a number of songs, including "Penis Song (Not the Noel Coward Song)." The beloved troupe eventually parted ways to focus on their own respective solo careers, though members occasionally came together on various projects, including Idle, who appeared in Terry in Gilliam's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1988). Meanwhile, a true reunion became impossible following Graham Chapman's untimely death in 1989, leaving the surviving members to truly embark on their own. Idle appeared in several hit-or-miss comedies like "Nuns on the Run" (1990) and "Splitting Heirs" (1993), before voicing a variety of characters in a number of animated projects. With the blessing of the surviving members, Idle unflinchingly "ripped off" "The Holy Grail" to write both the book and music for "Monty Python's Spamalot" (2005), a musical version of the film that became a huge Broadway hit and Tony winner, while spawning numerous revivals and tours the world over. Not only did he and his fellow Pythoners become incredibly wealthy, Idle confirmed that their influence on comedy was considerable and worthy of being compared to the Beatles' effect upon music.


Norah Idle


Lyn Ashley

Australian married in 1969 divorced in 1975

Ernest Idle

RAF Combat Flyer died in a car crash in 1945

Tania Idle

met in early 1977 while he was developing "All You Need Is Cash" (NBC, 1978), in which she also appeared married c. 1981

Lily Idle

born c. 1990 mother, Tania Idle

Carey Idle

born c. 1973 mother, Lyn Ashley


Pembroke College, University of Cambridge

1962 - 1965

Royal School

boarding school; began attending at age seven



Voiced Merlin in the animated feature, "Shrek the Third"


Wrote and Composed the Broadway musical "Monty Python's Spamalot," which starred David Hyde Pierce (Sir Robin), Tim Curry (King Arthur), and Hank Azaria (Sir Lancelot); received a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score


Was the voice of the Narrator for "Ella Enchanted"


Received a grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album For Children, for his work on "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory"


Was the voice of Dr. Vosknocker in "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut"


Participated in Toronto workshop of the stage musical "The Seussical"; had written a version of the libretto (not used); credited as "creative consultant" when show opened on Broadway in 2000


Played a prospector who mentors the title character when he is drummed out of the Mounties in the live-action feature version of "Dudley Do-Right"


Performed with surviving mates in "Monty Python Reunion Special" (BBC), celebrating their 30th anniversary


Joined cast of the NBC sitcom "Suddenly Susan", playing magazine owner Ian Maxtone-Graham


Voiced Parenthesis on animated series "Disney's Hercules" (ABC)


Contributed vocal talent to the straight-to-video animation release "The Secret of Nimh II: Timmy to the Rescue" and to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie", which had a limited release in theaters


Provided the singing voice of Devon (the two-headed dragon) in the animated "Quest for Camelot"


His "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" (originally sung in "Monty Python's Life of Brian") popped up in "As Good as It Gets" (performed by Art Garfunkle)


Starred as Alan Smithee in the egregious "Burn, Hollywood, Burn"


Reteamed (as Rat) with Jones (Toad), Cleese (Toad's Lawyer) and Palin (The Sun) for a live-action version of "The Wind and the Willows", adapted and directed by Jones


First Python CD-Rom released, "Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time"


Wrote, executive produced and starred (with Cleese) in "Splitting Heirs"


Wrote and performed the title music for British sitcom "One Foot in the Grave" (BBC)


Acted opposite Robbie Coltrane as "Nuns on the Run" for HandMade Films


Appeared in Gilliam's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen"


Co-starred as Passepartout in the NBC miniseries, "Around the World in 80 Days"


Starred in the short-lived NBC fantasy sitcom "Nearly Departed"


Played Ko-Ko in an English National Opera Company revival of "The Mikado"


Portrayed bike rider in "National Lampoon's European Vacation"


Last Python film to date, "Monty Python's Meaning of Life"


Wrote and directed "The Frog Prince", the debut episode for Showtime's "Faerie Tale Theatre", starring Robin Williams and Teri Garr


Wrote first stage play, "Pass The Butler"


Guest-starred with Peter Noone (of Herman's Hermits fame) as British rock stars on episode of "Laverne and Shirley" (ABC)


First collaboration with George Harrison's HandMade Films, "Monty Python's Life of Brian", playing 14 characters; Harrison contributed cameo as Mr. Papadopolous


Wrote, co-starred and co-directed the story of The Rutles, "All You Need is Cash", an NBC special


Hosted the third show of the second season of NBC's "Saturday Night Live"; he would go on to host "SNL" three more times over the years, as well as guest-starring twice


Published novel, "Hello Sailor"


Portrayed 13 characters in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"


"Monty Python's Flying Circus" premiered in the USA on PBS


Feature acting and writing debut, "And Now for Something Completely Different", the first Monty Python feature


Co-founded the English comedy troupe Monty Python's Flying Circus with Cleese, Chapman, Palin, Jones and token 'Yank' Terry Gilliam


English TV debut as the chauffeur in Ken Russell's "Isadora: The Biggest Dancer in the World" (BBC-1)


Wrote for the BBC TV series "The Frost Report", starring David Frost


Professional stage debut, "One for the Pot"


Joined Cambridge theater troupe, The Footlights, eventually becoming group's president; met future comic mates John Cleese and Graham Chapman

Wrote and starred in "Rutland Weekend Television" (BBC-2); Neil Innes supplied the music and also co-starred, as did David Battley, Henry Woolf and Gwen Taylor

Along with Chapman and Barry Cryer provided scripts for British series "No--That's Me Over Here!", starring Ronnie Corbrett

Served as Chairman of Prominent Features, a production company formed by the Monty Python team; pictures ranged from the sublime ("A Fish Called Wanda" 1988) to the ridiculous ("Erik the Viking" 1989)

Script edited the early episodes of "The Liver Birds" (BBC-1, 1969-1979)

Worked as a performer and writer on the popular TV series "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (BBC); shows aired in 1969-1970 and from 1972 to 1974 with a two-year hiatus

Wrote and co-starred in the English series "Do Not Adjust Your Set" (Rediffusion 1967-1968; Thames Television, 1968-1969) with Michael Palin and Terry Jones

Bonus Trivia


There is a website devoted to Idle at