Barry Humphries, a Tony Award-winning comedian known worldwide for his outrageous stage persona Dame Edna Everage has passed away. For seven decades, viewers have enjoyed seeing her develop into a pretentious snob with a condescending demeanor. He was 89.
The Sydney hospital where he spent several days after hip surgery due to complications confirmed his death on Saturday. Humphries spent much of his life in London before traveling back to his native Australia in December for the holiday. He described his recent physiotherapy as “agony” in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald published last month.
“It was the most absurd thing, just like domestic issues in general. I was grabbing for a book when my foot tripped over something and I fell,” Humphries recalled of his mishap. Humphries has continued to perform as a comedian, touring the United Kingdom last year with his one-man show “The Man Behind the Mask.”
In Humphries’ hometown of Melbourne, in the middle of the 1950s, a dowdy Mrs. Norm Everage initially appeared on stage as the basis for the role of Dame Edna. Humphries considered her to be a constraining reflection of the postwar suburbia immobility and cultural blandness.
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One of Humphries’ many memorable characters is Edna. Sir Les Patterson, an Australian cultural attaché who is perpetually intoxicated, unkempt, and lecherous, is the next most well-known person. Patterson captured the idea that Australia was a Western cultural wasteland, which led Humphries and many other prominent Australian intellectuals to move to London.
In the 1970s, Humphries, a law school dropout who became a successful actor, writer, and entertainer in Britain, struggled to achieve his American dream. A highlight in the US was winning a Tony Award in 2000 for his Broadway production of “Dame Edna: The Royal Tour.” Anthony Albanese, the prime minister of Australia, paid tribute to the renowned comedian.
“For 89 years, Barry Humphries entertained us through a galaxy of personas, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone,” Albanese tweeted about the elderly Stone, one of Humphries’ most memorable roles. “But Barry was always the brightest star in that cosmos. He was both gifted and a gift. He was a superb writer, satirist, and individual.
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Ricky Gervais, a British comedian, wrote on Twitter: “Farewell, Barry Humphries, you comedy genius.” The British television host Piers Morgan also expressed tribute. Morgan tweeted, “One of the funniest people I’ve ever met.” “A wondrously intelligent, entertaining, daring, provocative, mischievous comedy genius,” Morgan continued. He was married four times and leaves behind his wife Lizzie Spender and four kids.
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