Dame Edna creator Barry Humphries dies in Sydney at 89

Tony Award-winning comic Barry Humphries, internationally famend for his garish stage persona Dame Edna Everage, a condescending and imperfectly-veiled snob whose evolving character has delighted audiences over seven many years, has died. He was 89.

His dying within the Sydney hospital, the place he spent a number of days with issues following hip surgical procedure, was confirmed by his household.

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

”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 reveals that may sadly by no means be,” they added.

Performer Barry Humphries as Sir Les Patterson performs on the Final Evening of the BBC Poms on the Royal Albert Corridor, in London, Sept. 15, 2009.
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Mr. Humphries had lived in London for many years and returned to native Australia in December for Christmas.

He informed The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper final month that his physiotherapy had been “agony” following his fall and hip substitute.

“It was the most ridiculous thing, like all domestic incidents are. I was reaching for a book, my foot got caught on a rug or something, and down I went,” Mr. Humphries stated of his fall.

Mr. Humphries has remained an lively entertainer, touring Britain final 12 months together with his one-man present “The Man Behind the Mask.”

The character of Dame Edna started as a dowdy Mrs. Norm Everage, who first took to the stage in Mr. Humphries’ hometown of Melbourne within the mid-Fifties. She mirrored a postwar suburban inertia and cultural blandness that Mr. Humphries discovered stifling.

Edna is one among Mr.Humphries’ a number of enduring characters. The following most well-known is Sir Les Patterson, an ever-drunk, matted and lecherous Australian cultural attache.

Patterson mirrored a notion of Australia as a Western cultural wasteland that drove Humphries together with many main Australian intellectuals to London.

Actress Joan Collins and actor Barry Humphries pose during a party to celebrate the 180th Anniversary of weekly politics magazine The Spectator, held at the Churchill Hyatt Hotel in central London, May 7, 2008.

Actress Joan Collins and actor Barry Humphries pose throughout a celebration to have fun the a hundred and eightieth Anniversary of weekly politics journal The Spectator, held on the Churchill Hyatt Lodge in central London, Might 7, 2008.
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Mr. Humphries, a regulation faculty dropout, discovered main success as an actor, author and entertainer in Britain within the Seventies, however the USA was an ambition that he discovered stubbornly elusive.

A excessive level in the USA was a Tony Award in 2000 for his Broadway present “Dame Edna: The Royal Tour.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to the celebrated comic.

“For 89 years, Barry Humphries entertained us through a galaxy of personas, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone,” Albanese tweeted, referring to the melancholic and rambling Stone, one among Humphries most enduring characters. “But the brightest star in that galaxy was always Barry. A great wit, satirist, writer and an absolute one-of-kind, he was both gifted and a gift.”

British comic Ricky Gervais tweeted: “Farewell, Barry Humphries, you comedy genius.”

Piers Morgan, British tv character, tweeted: “One of the funniest people I’ve ever met.”

“A wondrously intelligent, entertaining, daring, provocative, mischievous comedy Genius,” Mr. Morgan added.

The multi-talented Mr. Humphries was additionally a revered character actor with many stage and display credit, an creator of novels and an autobiography, and an completed panorama painter.

John Barry Humphries was born in Melbourne on Feb. 17, 1934. His dad and mom had been comfy, loving and strait-laced, and should have puzzled about their eldest son, whom they known as Sunny Sam. His mom used to inform him to cease drawing consideration to himself.

Earlier than he’d completed on the prestigious Melbourne Grammar College, Humphries was extra interested by artwork and secondhand bookshops than soccer. At 16, his favourite creator was Kafka and later stated he “felt a little foreign.”

He spent two years at Melbourne College, the place he embraced Dadaism — the subversive, anarchic and absurdist European artwork motion.

His contributions included “Pus In Boots,” waterproof rubber boots filled with custard, and, on the performance art side, getting on a tram with an apparently blind accomplice whomMr. Humphries would kick in the shins while yelling “Get out of my way, you disgusting blind person.”

In 1959, he settled in London and was soon working in Peter Cook’s comedy venue The Establishment. He played Sowerberry in the original London production of “Oliver!” in 1960 and repeated the role on Broadway. He appeared with Spike Milligan and William Rushton in “Treasure Island.”

Mr. Humphries, with New Zealand artist Nicholas Garland, created the Barry McKenzie comic strip for the satirical magazine Private Eye in 1964.

When the strips came out as a book, the Australian government banned it because it “relied on indecency for its humour.” Mr. Humphries professed delight on the publicity and implored authorities to not carry the ban.

By then Mr. Humphries’ ingesting was uncontrolled. In Melbourne in late 1970, he was charged with being drunk and disorderly. He lastly admitted himself to a hospital specialising in alcoholism for the therapy that will flip him right into a lifelong abstainer.

In 1972 got here the primary Barry McKenzie movie — financially supported by the Australian authorities, regardless of the sooner ban. It was savaged by the critics, largely as a result of they trembled at what the world’s first movie to characteristic beer induced vomiting would do to Australia’s picture abroad.

Nevertheless it was a well-liked success and a sequel two years later included then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam knighting Edna, who was Mr. McKenzie’s aunt.

Married 4 occasions, he’s survived by his spouse Lizzie Spender, 4 youngsters and 10 grandchildren.

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