Comedian Behind Dame Edna, Barry Humphries Dies At 89

Comedian Behind Dame Edna, Barry Humphries Dies At 89
Source: The Guardian
  • Australian comedian Barry Humphries, the creator of Dame Edna passed away at age 89.
  • The comedian was a household name for his comedic characters such as Dame Edna and Sir Les Patterson.

Comedian Barry Humphries dies at the age of 69

Barry Humphries, a well-known Australian performer who gained fame for his comedic role as Dame Edna Everage, has passed away at the age of 89.

He had been hospitalized in Sydney since March due to complications following hip surgery, which was preceded by a fall in February.

Dame Edna Everage, his most notable character, rose to popularity in the UK during the 1970s and went on to host her TV talk show, the Dame Edna Everage Experience, in the late 1980s.

Barry Humphries as Dame Edna
Barry Humphries as Dame Edna (Source: NPR)

In addition to this iconic persona, Humphries also played the role of the vulgar Sir Les Patterson.

A statement from his family read:

​“​He was completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit.”

It added:

“His audiences were precious to him, and he never took them for granted. Although he may be best remembered for his work in theatre, he was a painter, author, poet, and a collector and lover of ​a​​​​rt in all its forms.”

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Tributes poured in for the comedian from fellow comedians and Prime Ministers!

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid his tribute through social media after the news of his death broke:

“For 89 years, Barry Humphries entertained us through a galaxy of personas, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone. But the brightest star in that galaxy was always Barry.”

He added:

“A great wit, satirist, writer, and an absolute one-of-kind, he was both gifted and a gift. May he rest in peace.”

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also paid his tribute:

“RIP Barry Humphries – one of the greatest ever Australians – and a comic genius who used his exuberant alter egos, Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson, to say the otherwise unsayable. Also an infallibly brilliant Spectator contributor. What a loss.”

British comedian Jimmy Carr tweeted:

“A bit bittersweet doing gigs in Australia this evening, Barry Humphries has passed and no one will ever be as good at crowd work again.”

Australian comedian Adam Hills also paid his tribute through Twitter:

“RIP Barry Humphries. One of the greatest comedians of our time. He was nothing but an utter gentleman to me, and occasionally a Dame. Appropriately, he took his final bow on a Saturday night.”

Short Bio of Barry Humphries

Barry Humphries was an Australian comedian and actor who was born on February 17, 1934, in Kew, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. He is famous for his character creation, Dame Edna Everage, an eccentric and flamboyant Melbourne housewife turned international star.

He also created other characters like the vulgar Sir Les Patterson, and Sandy Stone, an elderly Australian suburbanite.

Barry Humphries as Sir Les Patterson
Barry Humphries as Sir Les Patterson (Source: The West Australian)

The comedian began his career in Melbourne’s club scene in the 1950s and gained popularity in the UK in the 1960s. He has since performed around the world, on stage, on television, and in film, and has won awards for his work.

Apart from his career as a comedian, he is also a famous writer, having published several books, including autobiographical works, novels, and children’s books. He has also worked in movies such as ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns.’

In recognition of his contributions to the arts, the comedian was awarded several honors, including an Officer of the Order of Australia and a Commander of the British Empire.

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