Graham Arthur Chapman (1941-1989) was an English comedy writer and actor known for his work with Monty Python. Fans will recognize Chapman from his roles as King Arthur in Monty Python and The Holy Grail and Brian in Monty Pythons Life of Brian, as well as his involvement in countless now-classic sketches in Monty Python's Flying Circus. Alongside John Cleese (his long-time collaborator, whom he met at Cambridge), Chapman co-wrote "The Parrot Sketch", one of the most beloved comedy routines in British culture, if not the English language as a whole. Cleese recalls that Graham would sit silently through long writing sessions, before suddenly introducing an idea so absurd that it changed the course of the sketch. Somewhat counter-intuitively, one of his most memorable characters was that of an army Colonel who cut narratives short for being "far too silly".
Chapman was a physician, which (like many of his fellow Pythons) made him vastly over-educated for his primary line of work. He was also an alcoholic, and ultimately gave up drinking in 1977. During the seventies he admitted publicly that he was homosexual, and began to speak out for LGBT rights.
He died of cancer in 1989, the day before the 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of Flying Circus (Terry Jones called this "the worst case of party-pooping in all history"). His memorial service can be found on YouTube; emotionally fragile Tropers who love Python would do well to avoid the video altogether.
Graham Chapman is known for the following works:
- Monty Python's Flying Circus
- Monty Python and The Holy Grail
- Monty Pythons Life of Brian
- Monty Pythons the Meaning of Life
- How to Irritate People
- At Last the 1948 Show