Graham Chapman

Graham Chapman
A black-and-white photo of Chapman with a pipe
Born
Graham Chapman

(1941-01-08)8 January 1941
Died4 October 1989(1989-10-04) (aged 48)
Resting placeAshes given to family or friends
Other namesGray Chapman
CitizenshipBritish
Alma materEmmanuel College, Cambridge
St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College
Occupation
  • Comedian
  • writer
  • actor
Years active1960–1989
Known forOne of six members of Monty Python
Partner(s)David Sherlock (1966–1989)

Graham Chapman (8 January 1941 – 4 October 1989) was an English comedian, writer, actor, and author and one of the six members of the British surreal comedy group Monty Python. He played authority figures such as the Colonel and the lead role in two Python films, Holy Grail (1975) and Life of Brian (1979).

Chapman was born in Leicester and was raised in Melton Mowbray. He enjoyed science, acting and comedy and, after graduating from Emmanuel College, Cambridge and St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College, he turned down a career as a doctor to be a comedian instead. Chapman eventually established a writing partnership with John Cleese, which reached its critical peak with Monty Python during the 1970s. He subsequently left Britain for Los Angeles, where he attempted to be a success on American television, speaking on the college circuit and producing the pirate film Yellowbeard (1983), before returning to Britain in the early 1980s.

In his personal life, Chapman was openly homosexual and a strong supporter of gay rights, and was in a long-term partnership with David Sherlock. He was an alcoholic during his time at Cambridge and the Python years, and quit drinking shortly before working on Life of Brian. He later became an enthusiast and patron of the Dangerous Sports Club. Chapman died of tonsil cancer which spread to his spine in 1989, on the Pythons' 20th anniversary. His life and legacy were commemorated at a private memorial service at St Bartholomew's with the other five Pythons.