Graham Arthur Chapman was a British
comedian and writer. He was one of the six Monty Python
members and lead actor in their two narrative films
(King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and
Brian in Life of Brian).
Chapman studied medicine at Emmanuel College at the
University of Cambridge, where he began writing comedy
with classmate John Cleese. He qualified as a doctor
at the Barts Hospital Medical College, but never actually
practiced medicine. The duo wrote professionally on
the BBC during the 1960s, primarily for the ubiquitous
David Frost but also for Marty Feldman.
They joined Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle
and American artist Terry Gilliam for Monty Python's
Flying Circus in 1969. Cleese and Chapman's classic
Python sketches included "The Ministry of Silly
Walks" and "Dead Parrot."
One of his particularly famous sketches was the character
of The Colonel, a stuffy army officer who occasionally
appeared out of nowhere to order the end of a sketch
for being too silly. After Cleese left the show in
1973, Chapman wrote alone for the final season. He
then developed a number of movie scripts, most notably
Yellowbeard, where he starred with Cleese, Peter Cook,
and Cheech and Chong.
The remaining Python members have acknowledged that
Chapman was exasperating to work with, and difficult
to know. But none of the other Pythons could have played
King Arthur or Brian as well as Chapman.
death, speculation of a Python revival inevitably faded—as
Idle said, "we would only do a reunion if Graham
came back from the dead. So we're negotiating with