Monty Python actor Neil Innes, who appeared in iconic films including Life of Brian and The Holy Grail and later played in Beatles spoof band the Rutles, has died at the age of 75.
As NME reports, the news of the actor and songwriter’s unexpected passing was confirmed by his agent, who added that Innes had not been ill at the time.
Innes is affectionately known as “the seventh Python” thanks to his contributions to the comedy group’s sketches and movies, contributing songs such as ‘Knights of the Round Table’ and ‘Brave Sir Robin’ in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as well as the iconic whistled melody in Life Of Brian‘s ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’.
He also performed and wrote sketches for the group’s final TV series following John Cleese’s temporary exit, and performed live with them across the UK and Canada.
Following Python’s breakup, Innes teamed with Eric Idle to create the sketch show Rutland Weekend Television, spawning Beatles spoof group the Rutles, which saw Innes play a John Lennon-type character named Ron Nasty.
Innes was also the founder of absurdist pop group the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, who famously scored a Top 5 hit with ‘I’m the Urban Spaceman’ in 1968 which, as The Guardian points out, was produced pseudonymously by Paul McCartney.
Innes’ family have released a statement regarding his passing, saying: “We have lost a beautiful, kind, gentle soul whose music and songs touched the heart of everyone and whose intellect and search for truth inspired us all.”
His cause of death has not been made public at this time.