• 07.26.12

Terry Gilliam Archive Offers a Peek Inside a Creative Mind

Holly Gilliam, daughter of Monty Python member Terry Gilliam, began organizing her father’s archive last year. Now, she’s blogging about it.

Little kids seldom have any real concept of who their parents are as actual people; they’re just Mom and Dad. But when those kids eventually grow up some, it slowly dawns on them, “Oh hey, my dad was in Monty Python and he directed Brazil.Holly Gilliam may have hit that point a long time ago regarding her father, Terry Gilliam, but her enthusiasm for his work hasn’t dimmed at all. In fact, she’s now sharing it with the rest of us.


In October of 2011, Holly decided to organize her father’s archive, drawing from loads of work that originated in his days before joining Monty Python, as well as gems from the seminal British sketch group’s heyday. Eventually, she plans to ready the material for a book and an exhibition, but for now Holly has begun documenting the sifting process on her blog.

Gilliam spent the period just before Monty Python’s formation as something of a creative journeyman: making cartoons, taking photos, and working as an assistant for 1960s humor magazine, Help! The material from the director’s early days with the sketch group includes all manner of original artwork and cutouts, storyboards, designs, sketches, and other insightful gems. (Most tantalizing so far, on July 23 Holly found an old film canister containing one of Gilliam’s earliest attempts at animation, entitled “Beware of the Elephant,” which she promises to digitize soon.) The best is surely yet to come, but have a look at the slideshow above to see what’s been uncovered so far.

Below, watch a preview for Terry Gilliam’s latest film, The Wholly Family.

Hat tip Cartoon Brew.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.