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Monty Python’s Terry Jones is diagnosed with dementia

Terry Jones and the other members of Monty Python
Monty Python members in 2014, from left: Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones, who has been diagnosed with dementia, according to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
(EPA)

Terry Jones, the 74-year-old star of the English comedy troupe Monty Python, has been diagnosed with a severe form of dementia.

The diagnosis was made public as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced Wednesday that Jones was set to receive its Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television.

“Terry has been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, a variant of frontotemporal dementia,” a representative for Jones said in the BAFTA press release. “This illness affects his ability to communicate and he is no longer able to give interviews. Terry is proud and honoured to be recognised in this way and is looking forward to the celebrations.”

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Jones wrote, directed and starred in such films as “Life of Brian” and “The Meaning of Life” and co-directed “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” with Terry Gilliam. As a member of the sketch comedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” which began airing on the BBC in 1969, he played recurring characters like a nude organist, a screeching housewife and a high-strung cardinal from the Spanish Inquisition.

In 2014, for the first time in 34 years, Jones performed live onstage at London’s O2 Arena with the other four living members of Monty Python. Critics called the show, “Monty Python Live (Mostly),” “deeply poignant.”

“It was impossible not to experience a tingle of sadness knowing Python would never again tread the boards together,” wrote a critic for the Telegraph.

rebecca.keegan@latimes.com

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