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Michael Palin

Michael Palin

Birthday: 5 May 1943, Ranmoor, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, UK
Birth Name: Michael Edward Palin
Height: 179 cm

Michael Palin is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter. He was one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python.After the Monty Python television series ended in 1974, the Pal ...Show More

Michael Palin
[Michael's sister Angela] so much wanted to act. She never got big parts; it didn't really work out Show more [Michael's sister Angela] so much wanted to act. She never got big parts; it didn't really work out for her. But I think she had depression going way back. She was gifted, intelligent and very funny. But for some reason she just couldn't value herself enough. Hide
Fame really is a trap. When I start complaining about this, [my wife] Helen quite rightly says: 'Wel Show more Fame really is a trap. When I start complaining about this, [my wife] Helen quite rightly says: 'Well, here's an idea: don't make another 10-part television series.' But fame would cut anybody off from the kind of things that I like to do, [such as] observing the world. Learning about trains. Discovering new music. You also find yourself bearing other people's expectations. I don't want to bear anybody's expectations. I just want to do... what I can do. And to be judged on that. All of this comes back to what Ernest Hemingway said: 'Don't talk about writing; just write.' And I sometimes tend to think: 'Don't talk about living; just live.' Hide
[My father] was always confronting people. Bus conductors, waitresses: he felt everyone was laying t Show more [My father] was always confronting people. Bus conductors, waitresses: he felt everyone was laying traps and should be treated with suspicion. There was always tension when he was around. I found it deeply embarrassing. That's why I hate rows and try to avoid confrontation. Hide
The freedom to do what I wanted to do was much more important to me than the shackles of stardom. Th Show more The freedom to do what I wanted to do was much more important to me than the shackles of stardom. The more money you earn, the higher your status, the more people are around you. I don't know how people like Johnny Depp operate. He's got about 40 or 50 people who look after his life. My people are my wife and my kids and my grandsons. Hide
I was an enormous fan of The Beatles. When Terry Jones and I were writing together during the 60s, w Show more I was an enormous fan of The Beatles. When Terry Jones and I were writing together during the 60s, whenever a new Beatles album came out we were at the shop first thing to get our copy. We put off a day's writing to get to grips with the White Album. It influenced us very much, not just the music but what The Beatles stood for, a quality they had in their music and their writing that was so different to the pop we'd grown up with in the 50s and early 60s. We loved the lyrics and the poetry, as well as the humour in it. The Beatles represented something sort of young and fresh that we hoped we were also a part of. Hide
People tend to think that those in showbiz are awful, apart from a couple of us like Gary Lineker an Show more People tend to think that those in showbiz are awful, apart from a couple of us like Gary Lineker and myself, who are nice. I think Gary is married to a younger woman now so he's lost a few points and doesn't have to be nice anymore. Lucky him! Hide
[on the different kinds of fans he meets] One are the people who know me from Python, and want a bit Show more [on the different kinds of fans he meets] One are the people who know me from Python, and want a bit of a laugh, especially if they've had a drink or two. A lot of the others now are people who've seen me traveling, and they're slightly more sober, and they're just interested in travel, where I've been, all that sort of thing. And the third lot are the people who've seen Ripping Yarns, who, like George Harrison, I revere. Hide
[Explaining how Terry Gilliam, unlike himself, has carved out a film career] Gilliam is a battler. H Show more [Explaining how Terry Gilliam, unlike himself, has carved out a film career] Gilliam is a battler. He's like some sort of samurai warrior; wherever he goes, there are corpses. Hide
I'm a Wallander (2008) fan. Another favourite is Mad Men (2007) and, on radio, almost anything on BB Show more I'm a Wallander (2008) fan. Another favourite is Mad Men (2007) and, on radio, almost anything on BBC 6 Music, which takes me out of my musical comfort zone. Hide
[I'm] one of that cursed generation doomed to take nothing seriously. [I'm] one of that cursed generation doomed to take nothing seriously.
[on the thought of performing with Robin Williams] It would have been like being invited to play in Show more [on the thought of performing with Robin Williams] It would have been like being invited to play in a jazz band when you couldn't play an instrument. Hide
[on the death of Robin Williams] His ear for mimicry was superb and he could do parody brilliantly. Show more [on the death of Robin Williams] His ear for mimicry was superb and he could do parody brilliantly. I can imagine that having that ability is a bit like being possessed - the devil of comedy is in you and it must have been hard to live with. Hide
I'm not that ambitious. I didn't have a goal. I wanted to write well, act well and bring up my famil Show more I'm not that ambitious. I didn't have a goal. I wanted to write well, act well and bring up my family well and sometimes you couldn't do one and the other at the same time. Hide
Being feted in Hollywood is quite irresistible. They are very warm and very generous. But as soon as Show more Being feted in Hollywood is quite irresistible. They are very warm and very generous. But as soon as the takings go down and you have a bad third week, the calls aren't returned. Hide
I don't see why it should be remarkable that you can acquire a reputation for fairness and decency. Show more I don't see why it should be remarkable that you can acquire a reputation for fairness and decency. Those are qualities shared by so many people. And the great majority of people I meet are decent people, just trying to navigate their way through the world without causing too much trouble. Hide
No, I don't think [my father] quite... got Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969). Also, he was develop Show more No, I don't think [my father] quite... got Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969). Also, he was developing Parkinson's and the medication was giving him hallucinations. Graham Chapman was a medical man, as you know. He was fascinated by the fact that my father was seeing hamsters running up his trouser leg. In fact, my mother would have to retrieve them and put them in a bag ... I was grateful then that we could laugh, and Graham found it extraordinary that it was so surreal and Pythonic. My mother, bless her, defended Python. I don't know how much she understood it. Hide
I couldn't say that I was frightened of my father. But I never felt totally comfortable with him. Pe Show more I couldn't say that I was frightened of my father. But I never felt totally comfortable with him. Perhaps because of his stammer. When you just can't get the words out, it distances you. And it placed you - as an articulate child - in the awkward position of being able to do something which he, the adult, couldn't. I imagine that could be enervating. That might have been it. My father did have a slight tendency to put down anything I did. I don't think he meant it. Hide
[on Robin Williams] He could do it all, he could do absolutely everything, and he could do everybody Show more [on Robin Williams] He could do it all, he could do absolutely everything, and he could do everybody. Hide
Something about John Cleese was always very unsettled, I felt. There was always something else he wa Show more Something about John Cleese was always very unsettled, I felt. There was always something else he wanted to do. He seemed constantly driven by this sense that there was a nirvana somewhere; some unique place where mind, body and soul would be utterly satisfied. Hide
Well, John Cleese, of course, is from Weston-super-Mare. So he knows all about pleasure and fulfillm Show more Well, John Cleese, of course, is from Weston-super-Mare. So he knows all about pleasure and fulfillment. I think he set himself a very high standard of achievement and possibly feels he never quite attained it. He's always moving: first to New York, then to California, now Monaco. Where next? I always wanted to say to him: 'John, you're so talented. You have a lovely wife and kids; just relax.' But there was always something more that he wanted, to a point that was almost destructive. Hide
[2015] As soon as Tom was born, I decided to quit smoking. I'd always been an enthusiastic smoker, b Show more [2015] As soon as Tom was born, I decided to quit smoking. I'd always been an enthusiastic smoker, but whenever he wanted a cuddle, I had to put out the fag, find an ashtray, then make sure he didn't eat it - for a while he had a thing for eating butts. He was an angelic child. And very law-abiding. I remember trying to park the car and he kept saying: "Dad, are you sure we can park here?" He was terrified about what would happen if we did something wrong, which surprised me, because we weren't particularly strict. Strict enough, but nothing like my father. Hide
I am certainly more interested in interviewing than being interviewed. Sometimes you find yourself a Show more I am certainly more interested in interviewing than being interviewed. Sometimes you find yourself attacked from the start. Hide
I have never claimed to be the nicest man in the world. That's a cliché that has somehow come to be Show more I have never claimed to be the nicest man in the world. That's a cliché that has somehow come to be widely accepted. It drives [wife] Helen mad. As she and my children [Tom, Will and Rachel, now all grown-up] will testify, I have a short fuse over certain things. Like if the one-inch nails are not where they should be in the box, and they've been moved to the three-inch section. [Pantomime bellow] Who did this? Hide
When I read profiles of myself I sometimes think: I have spent my whole life struggling to understan Show more When I read profiles of myself I sometimes think: I have spent my whole life struggling to understand my motivations and impulses, and I've never quite sorted them out. To be absolutely frank with you, I'm still not sure I understand them. Then these people wander in, and suddenly they've cracked it in half-an-hour. I always assumed that, with age, I would understand myself better. Unfortunately, it's proving to be quite the opposite. I'm no closer to defining what it is that I really am than I ever was - other than somebody who is intensely curious about life. Hide
[From an interview about the late Graham Chapman]: "He always regarded death as highly overrated and Show more [From an interview about the late Graham Chapman]: "He always regarded death as highly overrated and could never understand why anybody made such a fuss about it". Hide
I loved Spike Milligan, yet I never realised, until I got to know him, that this person, who made me Show more I loved Spike Milligan, yet I never realised, until I got to know him, that this person, who made me so happy, was desperate, and that writing the comedy I adored was tearing his life apart. When I interviewed him for Comic Roots (1982), I asked him what it felt like to work on The Goon Show (1968). He said, 'It was like one good summer.'" What a moving phrase that is. 'One good summer'. Something fleeting, that you can never recapture. That sense of: was it all just a dream? I think it was extremely perceptive of Spike to say that. Hide
Fame changes everything. When you're well-known, you're expected to be different. Some people assume Show more Fame changes everything. When you're well-known, you're expected to be different. Some people assume you must have a yacht, and four homes. Or that you're famous because you are 'A Decent Man'. Just think of the number of people who do selfless work in this country every day; nobody has even heard of them. Hide
We've had disagreements over the years about lifestyle and business and money, and all the things pe Show more We've had disagreements over the years about lifestyle and business and money, and all the things peripheral to what we do best of all, which is produce comedy. The one thing that hasn't changed is our enjoyment of each other's sense of humour. I've always been wary of a Python reunion because we don't have Graham Chapman, who was such an important part of Python. He had his problems - he was a self-confessed alcoholic - but, God, he was a good actor and an odd, eccentric writer, too. We'd miss him if we got back together. Hide
I just loved acting with [John Cleese]. Perhaps because there was no competition between us. I was s Show more I just loved acting with [John Cleese]. Perhaps because there was no competition between us. I was short and he was tall. He was imperious and I was defensive. He needed me and I needed him. It made those shop sketches, like the dead parrot, extremely enjoyable to do. Me trying to be endlessly obliging, him being increasingly aggressive. Hide
Yes. Until [meeting the future members of Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969) I had been a very obli Show more Yes. Until [meeting the future members of Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969) I had been a very obliging kind of a guy. Having to defend your material, in that company... you just couldn't be diffident. Also, I realised that I was quite good at it. They gave me great confidence. Hide
I met [John Cleese] on The Frost Report (1966), after which he was offered all sorts of things, but Show more I met [John Cleese] on The Frost Report (1966), after which he was offered all sorts of things, but he rang me up instead, and decided to do Python. Which was quite a risk, for a man so driven by success. When we were collaborating, the only question was: does this work or not? He was very funny, and he appreciated good writing from others. So that was fine. Until the third series, when John clearly wanted to go, and people started to ask why. Whenever humour is taken out of the equation, the Pythons don't necessarily get along that well. Comedy brought us together. Hide
We did enjoy writing sketches about Marcel Proust. And we were actually trying to debunk that sort o Show more We did enjoy writing sketches about Marcel Proust. And we were actually trying to debunk that sort of elitism. But you do have to know about something, in order to debunk it. Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969) has suffered from very high praise. There were some things that quite laboriously didn't work. The television shows were, as you suggest, uneven. Really good material was in there, among a lot of dross. I still think some of the obscure stuff is good, and often needed to be there. Hide
People look for patterns in everything. It's what keeps us sane, I suppose. I struggle to see any pa Show more People look for patterns in everything. It's what keeps us sane, I suppose. I struggle to see any patterns in my life. I think I can understand depression a bit because of my sister. My own feelings of ... I'm aware that, if you feel down, it can be strangely unrelated to circumstances around you. That's just the way life is. Hide
I thought the Fish Called Wanda (A Fish Called Wanda (1988)) script was awful when John (John Cleese Show more I thought the Fish Called Wanda (A Fish Called Wanda (1988)) script was awful when John (John Cleese) first showed it to me ... and it's the most successful film I've ever done. Hide
Michael Palin's FILMOGRAPHY
All as Actor (37) as Creator (1)
Michael Palin Michael Palin'S roles
Mr. Big Nose
Mr. Big Nose

First Swallow-Savvy Guard
First Swallow-Savvy Guard

Ernie Clicker
Ernie Clicker

Ken Pile
Ken Pile

Various, Himself - Host, Dick Savage, Himself, Himself - Co-Host, Himself - Special Guest, Topol the Idiot
Various, Himself - Host, Dick Savage, Himself, Himself - Co-Host, Himself - Special Guest, Topol the Idiot

Jack Lint
Jack Lint

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