Monty Python songwriter Neil Innes dead at 75

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Neil Innes, a songwriter and actor who collaborated with the Monty Python Flying Circus comedy team, died Sunday, his agent said. He was 75.

Innes also was known for his work with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and The Rutles, a parody of The Beatles, the BBC reported. In addition to writing songs for the Monty Python troupe, Innes appeared in two of its films: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” in 1975 and “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” in 1979.

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“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,” Innes’ family said in a statement.

Innes’ agent told the BBC the composer’s death was unexpected and that he had not been ill.

Innes also appeared in Python cartoonist Terry Gilliam’s “Jabberwocky” before joining Python member Eric Idle on “Rutland Weekend Television,” according to New Musical Express. That show morphed into the spoof movie of The Beatles, “The Rutles,” where Innes played Ron Nasty, based on Beatles singer John Lennon.

Innes wrote the song, “Death Cab For Cutie,” which was used in The Beatles’ 1967 film “Magical Mystery Tour,” the BBC reported.

Innes wrote and performed in sketches on Monty Python’s television series in 1974 when John Cleese temporarily left the group, the BBC reported. Along with Douglas Adams, he was one of two non-Python members to be credited as a writer in the series.

A film about Innes, called “The Seventh Python,” was made in 2008.

Neil Innes, the English writer, comedian and musician who collaborated with the Monty Python comedy troupe, died Dec. 29. He was 75.
Neil Innes, the English writer, comedian and musician who collaborated with the Monty Python comedy troupe, died Dec. 29. He was 75. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)