Sunday, May 5

Comedian and Dame Edna star Barry Humphries dies aged 89

Barry Humphries, who performed Dame Edna Everage, has died on the age of 89.

The celebrated Australian comic had been readmitted to hospital in Sydney after struggling issues following hip surgical procedure final month and died on Saturday night.

The entertainer performed the garish, lilac-haired drag persona on stage and TV for greater than 60 years.

Dame Edna was Humphries’ most well-known creation

Arguably Australia’s single most well-known comedy export, the self-described giga-star was identified for her extravagant spectacles, rapier wit, double entendres, fondness for gladioli flowers and the well-known greeting “Hello possums!”.

Humphries additionally performed Sir Les Patterson, an unkempt, lecherous, uncouth, drunken character who held a number of fictional diplomatic positions, together with cultural attaché to the Court of St James and minister for the yartz (arts).

Other extra delicate, melancholy creations included Sandy Stone, an aged gentleman who inhabited the world of his youth.

An announcement from Humphries’ household stated: “He was completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit.

“With over 70 years on the stage, he was an entertainer to his core, touring up till the final 12 months of his life and planning extra exhibits that may sadly by no means be.

“His audiences had been valuable to him, and he by no means took them as a right.

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Barry congratulates Dermot on ‘popping out’.

“Although he may be best remembered for his work in theatre, he was a painter, author, poet, and a collector and lover of art in all its forms.

“He was additionally a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and a pal and confidant to many.

“His passing leaves a void in so many lives.

“The characters he created, which introduced laughter to hundreds of thousands, will stay on.”

Read extra:
‘Farewell, possum!’: From Dame Edna Everage to the person behind the masks

Paying tribute, Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese stated: “For 89 years, Barry Humphries entertained us by means of a galaxy of personas, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone.

“But the brightest star in that galaxy was always Barry.

“A fantastic wit, satirist, author and an absolute one-of-kind, he was each gifted and a present. May he relaxation in peace.”

Australia's Barry Humphries poses after receiving his Most Excellent Order of the British Empire from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, London October 10, 2007. REUTERS/Steve Parsons/Pool (BRITAIN)
The Australian entertainer was made a CBE in 2007

Humphries turned a staple of the British comedy circuit after transferring from Australia to London in 1959 and showing in West End exhibits corresponding to Maggie May and Oliver.

He was among the many main members of the British comedy scene, alongside Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Spike Milligan.

Awarded the CBE in 2007 for companies to leisure, he remained energetic on stage, touring Britain final 12 months along with his one-man present The Man Behind The Mask.

Barry Humphries
The entertainer has been hailed ‘an absolute one-of-kind’

Journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil recalled the “funny, hugely literate, fiercely smart” Humphries, tweeting: “So sad to learn Barry Humphries has passed away.

“When I visited him in his Sydney Hospital two weeks in the past he was ailing from a number of well being issues. But his spirits and wit had been as acute as ever.

“We laughed away as the stories poured out.”

He added: “I count myself lucky and privileged I got to see him one more time. A comic genius the likes of which we will never see again.”

Humphries portraying Sir Les Patterson, the Australian cultural attache character
Sir Les Patterson was one other of Humphries’ enduring comedian personas

Tributes paid to a ‘true genius’

Comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: “Farewell, Barry Humphries, you Comedy genius.”

Actor and comic Rob Brydon stated: “RIP Barry Humphries. A true great who inspired me immeasurably.

“It was a delight to name him my pal.

“I’ve been in Australia and was with him only 3 days ago. He was, as ever, making me laugh. His talent shone until the very end.”

Impressionist Rory Bremner wrote on social media: “Heavens. With the passing of #barryhumphries we lose an all-time great.

“Lightning quick, subversive, mischievous, widely read, deeply knowledgeable about art, music & literature- & savagely funny.

“Dame Edna arguably the best comedian persona ever. Les Patterson too. True genius.”

Australian actor Jason Donovan tweeted: “Australia has misplaced certainly one of its biggest.

“Funny, literate and fiercely intelligent, Barry Humphries was quite simply an entertaining genius.

“The characters he created introduced laughter to hundreds of thousands… My ideas are with household on this unhappy day.”

Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, presents Barry Humphries the Wizard of Oz award for his fictional character Sir Les Patterson at the Oldie Of The Year Awards 2021 at The Savoy Hotel in London, Britain, October 19, 2021. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS
The then Duchess of Cornwall presenting Humphries the Wizard of Oz award for his fictional character Sir Les Patterson on the Oldie Of The Year Awards 2021

Dame Esther Rantzen stated “the world is just that bit sadder” following the dying of her pal, who she stated “influenced her greatly”.

“When I was lucky enough to be honoured with damehood, I was very frequently introduced as Dame Edna because it became a phrase which came naturally, and I was thrilled.

“Barry was cultured and intelligent and a voracious reader and all of the issues that Sir Les Patterson not. A fantastic artistic artist.”

Diana enjoying a chat with the flamboyant Dame
Diana having fun with a chat with the flamboyant Dame

Sir Michael Parkinson stated he had misplaced a “dear friend of many years”, describing Humphries as a “cultured, highly intelligent, fascinating man who just happened to create, in Dame Edna Everage, one of the everlasting comedy characters of all time as well as one of my favourite guests on my talk show.”

“In a time when the word is bandied around far too easily, we have truly lost a genius,” Sir Michael added. “I shall miss him and the Dame in equal measure. So will we all.”

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “”RIP Barry Humphries – one of many biggest ever Australians – and a comic book genius who used his exuberant alter egos, Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson, to say the in any other case unsayable.”

Married 4 occasions, Humphries is survived by his spouse Lizzie Spender and 4 kids.

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