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Eric Idle (born 29 March 1943) is an English comedian, actor, author, and musician. Idle is a former member of the British surreal comedy group Monty Python, a member of the parody rock band The Rutles, and the writer, for the music and lyrics, of the Broadway musical Spamalot (based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail). Known for his elaborate wordplay and musical numbers, Idle performed many of Python's songs, including “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (from Life of Brian), and the “Galaxy Song” (from The Meaning of Life). After Monty Python's Flying Circus, he hosted Saturday Night Live in the US four times in the first five seasons. Idle's initially successful solo career faltered in the 1990s with the failures of his 1993 film Splitting Heirs (written, produced by, and starring him) and 1998's An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (in which he starred). He revived his career by returning to the source of his worldwide fame, adapting Monty Python material for other media. Following the success of the musical Spamalot (which won the Tony Award for Best Musical), he also wrote Not the Messiah, an oratorio derived from the Life of Brian. He featured in a one-hour symphony of British Music when he performed to a global audience at the London 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony.

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