Graham Chapman


Graham Chapman : biography

df=y August 1 – 4 October 1989

In September 2012 a British Comedy Society blue plaque, to commemorate Chapman, was unveiled at The Angel pub in Highgate, North London, by Jones, Palin, Barry Cryer and Carol Cleveland. Palin said, "This was Graham’s manor and Graham was a lovely guy. I spent many happy times with him, most of which I forget. Highgate was his patch and he should be celebrated because he was a very good, brilliant, funny, nice, wise, kind man, who occasionally drank too much."


Year Film Role Notes
1969 The Magic Christian Oxford Crew UncreditedAlso Writer
1970 Doctor in Trouble Roddy
The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer Fromage Also Writer
1971 And Now for Something Completely Different Various Roles Also Writer
The Statue News Reader
1975 Monty Python and the Holy Grail King Arthur, Various Roles Also Writer
1978 The Odd Job Arthur Harris Also Writer/Producer
1979 Monty Python’s Life of Brian Brian, Various Roles Also Writer
1982 Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl Various Roles Also Writer
1983 Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life Various Roles Also Writer
The Crimson Permanent Assurance Clerk Short FilmUncredited
Yellowbeard Captain Yellowbeard Also Writer
1987 Still Crazy Like a Fox Detective Inspector Palmer TV Film
1988 Jake’s Journey Sir George/Queen TV FilmAlso Writer
1989 Stage Fright Smart Alec Uncredited
2012 A Liar’s Autobiography Himself VoiceAlso Writer

Death and funeral

Chapman died on 4 October 1989 after suffering from tonsil cancer and secondary spinal cancer. Chapman had several chemotherapy treatments and tumour removal surgeries within the final months of his life, and at one point, he used a wheelchair. Weeks before Chapman’s death, his cancer was declared terminal. Chapman had produced scenes for the 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of Flying Circus, the final time he appeared on television, but he became ill again three days before his death. Those present at the time of Chapman’s death in a Maidstone hospital included his brother, sister-in-law, partner David Sherlock, and his former Python fellows John Cleese and Michael Palin, who had to be led out of the room to deal with their grief.The Pythons Autobiography Terry Jones and Peter Cook had visited earlier that day. Chapman’s death occurred on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of Flying Circus, and Jones called it "the worst case of party-pooping in all history". It was reported that Chapman’s last words were: "Sorry for saying fuck", to a nurse who accidentally stuck a needle in his arm shortly before he died.Chapman, Graham, and Jim Yoakum. Graham Crackers. N.p.: Career, 1997. Print.

The five surviving Python members had decided to stay away from Chapman’s private funeral to prevent it from becoming a media circus and to give his family some privacy. They sent a wreath in the shape of the famous Python foot with the message: "To Graham from the other Pythons. Stop us if we’re getting too silly". They held a private memorial service for Chapman in St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London two months after his death, with a chorus of the Chinese version of the hymn "Jerusalem" ("… Bling me my speal, oh crowds unford, bling me my chaliot of file…"). Cleese delivered his eulogy to Chapman, which began as follows: