Comedic writer and actor Neil Innes, who created a Beatles parody group called the Rutles and frequently worked with the members of the beloved British comedy troupe Monty Python, has died at age 75, his agent, Nigel Morton, confirmed Monday.
The comedian and musician died of natural causes Sunday night, Morton said.
“We have lost a beautiful, kind, gentle soul whose music and songs touched the heart of everyone and whose intellect and search for truth inspired us all,” a statement released on behalf of his family Monday said.
“He died of natural causes quickly without warning and, I think, without pain.”
Innes was such a frequent collaborator with the Monty Python troupe that he sometimes was called the “seventh Python.” A musician as well as a writer, he wrote songs for the popular film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, appeared in Monty Python’s Life of Brian and toured the U.K. and Canada with the group.
Utterly dismayed to hear about Neil Innes. Right out of the blue…<br><br>A very sweet man, much too nice for his own good<br><br>Lovely writer and performer. When he worked with Python on our stage show, I listened every night to “How sweet to be an Idiot” on the tannoy<br><br>Very sad…..
He was also a member of the band the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, later renamed the Bonzo Dog Band, whose song I’m The Urban Spaceman won him an Ivor Novello award.
Colleagues have been paying tributes to Innes on Twitter, including the prominent British actor Mark Gatiss, who fondly wrote in tribute, “Sweet dreams, sweet idiot.”
Neil Innes has gone. As a Python-obsessed teen I saw him at Darlington Arts Centre & missed my bus home to catch his brilliance. I used to record ‘The Innes Book of Records’ on C-60s & marvel at his talent. I still hum ‘I like Cezanne, says Anne’. Sweet dreams, sweet idiot.