Happy birthday Terry Gilliam!

Terry Gilliam at 2009 Comic-Con
Terry Gilliam at 2009 Comic-Con

Terrence Vance Gilliam (picture ©Natasha Baucas) was born on November 22, 1940 in Medicine Lake, Minnesota, USA.

His family moved to California in 1952 and Terry Gilliam attended university in Los Angeles where he graduated in political sciences. Since a very young age Gilliam developed a passion for comics and eventually that was the kind of job he wanted so he found his first jobs as a cartoonist and animator.

The political conviction he ripened through the years led him to reject going to Vietnam with the army and he moved to England, where he resumed his work as an animator. He joined the Monty Python group giving them his most famous contribution for the TV show “Flying Circus”, which was a huge success. During the show Gilliam worked occasionally as an actor as well.

In 1968 Terry Gilliam took British citizenship but he kept the American one.

During his work Terry Gilliam met Maggie Weston, who became his wife in 1973.

During the ’70s and ’80s Terry Gilliam worked as screenwriter and director for various movies produced with the Monty Python.

In 1985 the movie “Brazil” written and directed by Terry Gilliam was released. This was a surreal comedy that slowly revealed the drama of a dystopic society. The description of the complexity of the scenography and the plot, full of literary and cinematographic references, could fill up an essay on its own.

The following Terry Gilliam projects had often bad luck, starting with 1988 movie “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” as its costs went over the original budget because of various production problems.

Instead 1991 movie “The Fisher King” and 1995 movie “12 Monkeys” were regularly completed and were successful.

In 1999 an attempt to shoot the movie “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” was unsuccessful because the protagonist Jean Rochefort started suffering from herniated disc after a few days and a flood cause great damages to the set.

In 1996 Terry Gilliam renounced his American citizenship as a protest against then president George W. Bush.

There were big problems during the shooting of the movie “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”, started in 2007, as Terry Gilliam was hit by a bus and actor Heath Ledger died and had to replaced by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell.

Terry Gilliam has also a residence in Italy and his support led to the creation of the Umbria Film Festival that is held in the city of Montone. Not accidentally the city gave him honorary citizenship.

Terry Gilliam is an extraordinary screenwriter and director who developed a unique style through the years. There are voices about his next projects, especially about a new beginning of the shooting of the movie “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”: the important thing is that he keeps on charming us and making us think for many more years!

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