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Eric Idle: Monty Python star working at 80 for financial reasons

Eric Idle
Idle was part of the famous Monty Python comedy troupe, which was founded in 1969

Monty Python actor Eric Idle has said he is still working at the age of 80 for financial reasons.

The comedian, known as Sir Robin the-not-quite-so-brave-as-Sir-Lancelot in Monty Python And The Holy Grail, said he sold his home last year.

On X, formerly Twitter, Idle added: "I don't know why people always assume we're loaded. Python is a disaster.

"I never dreamed that at this age the income streams would tail off so disastrously."

He said the Monty Python troupe "own everything we ever made in Python" and suggested historic management issues might be to blame for his predicament.

When asked if a Netflix documentary could help, he made clear he wasn't keen on the idea, using an expletive in reference to both the film genre and the streaming giant.

But he concluded: "I don't mind not being wealthy. I prefer being funny."

Alongside Graham Chapman, Fawlty Towers star John Cleese, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas director Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and travel writer Sir Michael Palin, Idle founded the comedy troupe in 1969.

Following the success of their sketch comedy television series, the troupe created five films between 1971 and 1983.

Idle created the medieval musical Spamalot in 2004 which earned a best musical Tony after being on Broadway. However he said the show "made money 20 years ago".

In 2013, a producer of the 1975 film Monty Python And The Holy Grail won a High Court royalty fight with the comedy team to get some of the play's profits.

Idle also appeared in Shrek The Third and, in 2014, he starred in Monty Python Live (Mostly) alongside some of the troupe.

The final date was broadcast in cinemas around the world on 20 July that year. The group turned down a lucrative world tour with Idle saying at the time: "When you get old, grumpy old men, you go 'I don't care how much bloody money, I'm not going out, I'm staying home'."

The first show sold out within 43.5 seconds. The tickets cost between £27.50 and £95 but many were sold for inflated prices after going up for sale on marketplace websites.

'Great mentors'

In his latest thread on X, Idle, who is now based in Los Angeles, thanked fans for "kind words and encouragement" and reassured them he was fine.

"I'm engaged and writing. It's the thing I do and like the most. Creating a new show. Something that feels so completely normal. Been doing it since 1963. I have learned a lot. But then I had some great mentors."

Idle shared news in September 2022 that he had survived pancreatic cancer after receiving a rare early diagnosis, and appeared on celebrity singing show The Masked Singer in the US.

A number of other troupe members are also continuing to work. Earlier in February John Cleese announced that he had written and created a new stage show based on the 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers that will premiere on 4 May.