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Terry Gilliam

In a filmmaking career encompassing work as a writer, screenwriter, performer, animator and production designer, Terry Gilliam has created some of the most unforgettable visuals ever portrayed on the motion picture screen.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota native graduated from Los Angeles' Occidental College before embarking on a career in magazine illustration. His first professional job was as the assistant editor of Help!, a humour magazine from the creator of Mad Magazine. He branched out as a freelance cartoonist for an unusual, unique new TV program in England entitled Monty Pythons Flying Circus. His work on the show earned him a British Academy Award for graphics in 1969.

Gilliam made his film debut in the comedy troupe's first feature, And Now For Something Completely Different, in which he contributed to the project's script as well as acting and directing the animation. On the group's next venture, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Gilliam co­directed the production with colleague Terry Jones. He made his solo directing debut two years later with Jabberwocky, his comically grisly medieval interpretation of the Lewis Carroll poem.

He scored popular success with his delightful time­travel fantasy, Time Bandits, a magical, family-oriented adventure of a boy and a band of dwarves who journey through time to plunder some of history's most prized artifacts. He followed this effort with the film critics hail as his greatest achievement, Brazil, a visually and dramatically stunning portrait of an Orwellian society that garnered Oscar nominations for Best Screenplay and Art Direction and earned Gilliam the Best Picture, Director and Screenplay honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Gilliam's sumptuous extravaganza, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, won four Academy Award nominations upon its release in 1989, and was followed two years later with another critically­acclaimed feature, The Fisher King, star ring Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges. The movie garnered five Oscar nominations, with co­star Mercedes Ruehl winning a Best Supporting Actress award. Gilliam was cited with a Golden Globe nomination as Best Director.

His most recent directorial effort, 1995's thought­provoking science fiction drama 12 Monkeys, was also a critical and box office hit. The film starred Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

In addition to his work behind the camera, Gilliam has also appeared in the films Spies Like Us, Pleasure at Her Majesty's, Monty Python's Life of Brian, Monty Python: Live at the Hollywood Bowl and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. He has also recorded several albums with the Pythons as well as compiled numerous books on his work with the comedy troupe. Gilliam received the British Academy of Film and Television's (BAFTA) Michael Balcon Award in 1987 for Outstanding Contributions for the Cinema.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Terry Gilliam Facts

Birth NameTerry Vance Gilliam
BirthdayNovember 22, 1940 (81)
BirthplaceMinneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Height5' 9" (1m75)  How tall is Terry Gilliam compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Monty Python And The Holy Grail
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Zero Theorem
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
12 Monkeys
The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus
The Fisher King
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