Recent Dorkiness

Things to be Thankful For: Terry Gilliam

Y'know, I was gonna do a post about a whole bunch of dorky things to be thankful for tonight (and I may yet still before Thanksgiving weekend is over). But then I discovered that it's Terry Gilliam's 71st birthday, and that is worth being thankful for all by itself. So happy birthday, Mr. Gilliam! And now... Enjoy a brief gallery of pictures from Gilliam's storied career... Known primarily as a member of Monty Python, and the director of numerous cult films, Gilliam made his first big splash with a funnybook connection, working on Harvey Kurtzman's post-MAD humor magazine, HELP! Though I've just found out that Gilliam is not, as is widely believed, the man on the cover of issue 24, when have I ever been one to let something as insignificant as a fact stand in the way of a good story?

While working on HELP!, Gilliam did a fumetti comic starring John Cleese, which was the beginning of his collaborations with the future Monty Python troupe.

Gilliam was primarily an animator for Python, but he also appeared on-screen in a number of memorable roles:

After Python wound down, of course, Gilliam went on to direct some of the best dork movies ever put to film. Personal favorites of mine include…


...The Adventures of Baron Munchausen...

...12 Monkeys...

...and Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.

Along the way, he cast Michael Palin, one of the most universally beloved men in Great Britain, as a fascist bureaucrat and torturer; Robert Dinero in a cameo role as a swash-buckling plumber; the famously handsome Brad Pitt as a cross-eyed mental patient; the equally famously handsome Johnny Depp as a middle-aged, drug-addled reporter with a receding hairline; and (not much of a stretch but still a favorite) Tom Waits as The Devil:

Gilliam also exploded budgets, violated shooting schedules, and suffered through some of the most cursed film sets in the history of everything (watch Lost in La Mancha sometime to see how very appropriate it is that he suffered his most heartbreaking directorial loss while trying to make a Don Quixote film). But he also stayed true to a creative vision that made even sub-par material like The Brothers Grimm into watchable films, and that’s what makes him a treasure.

About Mark Brett (522 Articles)
Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at

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