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30 Fantastic Facts About Terry Gilliam You Might Have Missed Before

Terry Gilliam
(Photo : Il Fatto Quotidiano)

Terry Gilliam, one of the finest directors in the world, is famous for his trademark of Dutch tilt shots, scenes with magical realism, bizarre animation sequences. His movies often feature a rich baroqueness and dichotomous eclecticism, which is due to his fascination with the Baroque period, due to the distinct struggle between spirituality and rationality in that era. Heroes in his movies usually dream of an unknown woman, whose face is obscured. Gilliam is one of the few directors who would at any cost refrain using R rated language in their movies, regardless of the movie’s rating. Here are some really interesting facts about the American-born British film director, you might have missed before:

    BIFF 2011 Day 3 - Terry Gilliam in Bradford, City of Film"BIFF 2011 Day 3 - Terry Gilliam in Bradford, City of Film" by National Science and Media Museum Events is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

  1.  In the year 2009, he was given the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award for lifetime achievement. The same year, he was also honored with the Director with Unique Visual Sensitivity Award at the Camerimage film festival in Łódź, Poland.
  2.  Gilliam’s first successful feature, the 1981 movie “Time Bandits,” earned more than eight times its original budget in the US alone.
  3.  An asteroid – 9619 Terrygilliam, discovered on March 17, 1993 was named in his honour.
  4.  His 1988 movie “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” was nominated for four Oscars and won three BAFTA Awards, among several other Prizes in Europe.
  5.  He became a board member of Videre Est Credere (Latin for "to see is to believe"), a UK human rights charity, in the year 2009.
  6.  Terrence Vance Gilliam was born on November 22, 1940 to James Hall Gilliam and Beatrice in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  7.  His father was a travelling salesman for Folgers, before becoming a carpenter. They moved to the Los Angeles neighborhood of Panorama City in the year 1952.
  8.  He obtained British citizenship in the year 1968, and subsequently held dual citizenship – American and British for the next 38 years, until he renounced his American citizenship in January 2006.
  9.  He attended Birmingham High School, where he was the president of his class and senior prom king. He had achieved straight A grades, and was also voted “Most Likely to Succeed.”
  10.  It was during his high school that he started to read Mad magazine, which became a very big influence on Gilliam’s work.
  11. Terry Gilliam"Terry Gilliam" by Il Fatto Quotidiano is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

  12.  In the year 1962, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Occidental College. He claims that it was his experiences at this time that set the foundations for his views on the world.
  13.  He started his career as an animator and strip cartoonist, and worked for Help! Magazine. His early photographic strips featured future Python cast member John Cleese.
  14.  With Help! Folding, he jokingly announced in the final issue that he is being transferred to the European branch, which never even existed, and moved to Europe.
  15.  In England, he animated sequences for the children's series Do Not Adjust Your Set which ran from 1967 to 1969.
  16.  He was a member of “Monty Python's Flying Circus” from its outset, credited at first as an animator, and later as a full member.
  17.  He published Animations of Mortality, an illustrated, tongue-in-cheek, semi-autobiographical how-to guide to his animation techniques and the visual language in them, in the year 1978.
  18.  Gilliam, along with Terry Jones, co-directed “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” in which he was responsible for photography.
  19.  He had been featured in several sketches, but rarely had main roles. In fact, he most took on parts that no one else wanted to play.
  20.  He had played a number of roles in various roles both Patsy and The Old Man From Scene 24 in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and the jailer in “Monty Python's Life of Brian.”
  21.  Apart from this, he is credited to have designed the covers of most of the Monty Python albums, and all of their movies, sound track albums.
  22. Terry Gilliam // The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus // TIFF09"Terry Gilliam // The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus // TIFF09" by fightingtheboss is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

  23.  Following the breakup of Python troupe, he became a screenwriter and director. It was around this time, that he started to think of movies in terms of trilogies.
  24.  With “Harry Potter” series’ author J. K. Rowling being a fan of Gilliam, he was the first choice of the author to direct “Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone” in 2000, but Warner Bros., decided to hire Chris Columbus for directing.
  25.  Since “Brazil,” his frequent use of the 14 mm lens in his movies, has made the filmmakers informally name the lens as “The Gilliam.”
  26.  In May 2018, Gilliam suffered a perforated medullary artery that was inaccurately reported as a stroke, leading to several speculations from the media outlets.
  27.  His scripts often feature black comedy, ending with a dark tragicomic twist, set in a dark paranoid atmosphere, with unusual characters.
  28.  Since 1973, he has been married to Maggie Weston, British makeup and costume designer, who has worked on “Monty Python's Flying Circus,” and many of the Python films.
  29.  The couple have three children together – Amy Rainbow Gilliam, Holly Dubois Gilliam and Harry Thunder Gilliam. Harry is known to have worked on several of Terry’s movies.
  30.  He resides in Highgate, London, while also maintaining a residence in Italy, near the Umbria–Tuscany border. Terry is known to have been instrumental in establishing the annual Umbria Film Festival.
  31.  His films are known for their distinctive look, recognizable from just a short clip, known to create a surreal atmosphere of psychological unrest, using low-angle shots, high-angle shots and Dutch shots.
  32.  Gilliam made his opera debut at London's English National Opera in May 2011, directing “The Damnation of Faust,” by Hector Berlioz, which received positive reviews in the British press.
  33.  Terry Gilliam Net Worth: $50 Million

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