Graham Arthur Chapman (8 January 1941 – 4 October 1989) was an English comedian, writer, actor, and one of the six members of the surreal comedy group Monty Python. He played authority figures such as the Colonel and the lead role in two Python films, Holy Grail and Life of Brian.
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 Medical College, he turned down a career as a doctor to be a comedian. Chapman established a writing partnership with John Cleese, which reached its critical peak with Monty Python during the 1970s. Chapman left Britain for Los Angeles in the late 1970s, attempting to be a success on American television, speaking on the college circuit and producing the pirate film Yellowbeard, before returning to Britain in the early 1980s.
Chapman was openly homosexual and a strong supporter of gay rights, and was in a relationship with David Sherlock for most of his adult life. He suffered from alcoholism during his time at Cambridge and later during the early Python years, quitting just before working on Life of Brian. Chapman died of tonsil and spinal cancer on 4 October 1989, on the eve of Monty Python’s 20th anniversary, and his life and legacy were commemorated in a private memorial service at St Bartholomew’s with the other Pythons.
Biometric evidence will be released shortly.