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 Graham Chapman

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Graham Chapman

  • Birth 8 Jan 1941 Leicester, Leicester Unitary Authority, Leicestershire, England
  • Death 4 Oct 1989 Maidstone, Maidstone Borough, Kent, England
  • Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: Scattered over Wales in a fireworks display on New Years Day, 2000.
  • Memorial ID 8108

Comic Writer, Performer. Born Graham Arthur Chapman in Leicester, England, the younger son of Walter and Edith Chapman. He attended Melton Mowbray Grammar School where he became involved in theatre. In 1959 he was admitted to Emmanuel College, Cambridge University where he studied medicine. He joined the Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club where John Cleese was also a member. In 1962, Chapman and Cleese wrote and performed in the revue ‘Double Take.' He was graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge the same year, and from St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School in 1966. Chapman practiced medicine briefly before he and Cleese took a job writing for Marty Feldman's television show ‘Marty' as well as co-writing several episodes of ‘Doctor in the House.' Chapman was then recruited into the writing team for ‘The Frost Report,' where he met Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones. In 1969, Chapman, Cleese, Idle, Palin, Jones, and American animator Terry Gilliam formed the comedy group which they dubbed Monty Python Flying Circus. First airing on Oct. 5, 1969, ‘Monty Python's Flying Circus' startled viewers with its unusual and irreverent style. A surprise hit, the program ran until 1974. The following year, ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail' which Chapman co-wrote and starred in, debuted and quickly developed a cult following. ‘Monty Python's Life of Brian' which Chapman also co-wrote and starred in, appeared in 1979 accompanied by immense controversy due to its perceived content. Chapman published his memoirs, ‘A Liar's Autobiography: Volume VII' in 1980. It was followed by the last group film effort in 1983, ‘Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.' His only solo project, ‘Yellowbeard' which appeared that same year was a profound failure. In 1988, Chapman began working on another series when his health began to decline. A malignant tumor was discovered on his tonsil which was then surgically removed. Chapman continued working, appearing in the Python compilation ‘Parrot Sketch Not Included.' A medical exam in 1989 revealed another tumor on his spine, the removal of which confined him to a wheelchair. The illness outraced every effort to fight it and his health continued to fail. Wheelchair bound, he attended the September 1989 taping for the Monty Python's Flying Circus 20th anniversary special. On October 1, he was hospitalized after a massive stroke. He died three days later at the age of 48 from complications of the stroke and spinal cancer. His teammates avoided his funeral in order to give Chapman's family some privacy. They sent only a Python foot wreath with the message ‘To Graham from the other Pythons. Stop us if we're getting too silly.' In January 1990 they organized a memorial service at St Bartholomew's Hospital Great Hall where Cleese's eulogy to his long time friend began, "Graham Chapman, co-author of the 'Parrot Sketch,' is no more. He has ceased to be, bereft of life, he rests in peace, he has kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the Great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky." An appropriate send off for a man who loved nothing better than to shock.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 11 Jan 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8108
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Graham Chapman (8 Jan 1941–4 Oct 1989), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8108, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a Scattered over Wales in a fireworks display on New Years Day, 2000..