Barry Humphries: 5 Things About The Australian Comic & Dame Edna Creator Dead At 89

Australian comedian and actor Barry Humphries, who was best known for his character Dame Edna Everage, passed away on May 4th, 2023, at the age of 89. The news of his death was confirmed by his family in a statement released to the media.

Humphries had been a prominent figure in the Australian entertainment industry for more than six decades. He was known for his sharp wit, distinctive style, and irreverent humor. His iconic character, Dame Edna Everage, a self-proclaimed housewife and international superstar, became a cultural phenomenon and made him a household name around the world.

Here are five things to know about Barry Humphries:

  1. Early Life and Career
    Barry Humphries was born in Kew, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, in 1934. He studied at the University of Melbourne, where he became involved in student theatre productions. He made his professional debut in 1955 as a comedian in a revue titled “Between the Wars.” He went on to perform in numerous comedy shows, radio programs, and television series in Australia and the UK.
  2. Creation of Dame Edna Everage
    Humphries created the character of Dame Edna Everage in the 1950s. Originally intended to be a minor character in his comedy act, Dame Edna quickly became a fan favorite and went on to become Humphries’ most famous creation. Her distinctive look, which included large glasses, purple hair, and outlandish outfits, became instantly recognizable.
  3. Success in the UK and US
    Humphries’ success in Australia led to international fame, particularly in the UK and US. He performed on British television shows such as “The Benny Hill Show” and “The Frost Report” in the 1960s. He also made appearances on American television programs, including “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Muppet Show.”
  4. Other Characters
    In addition to Dame Edna, Humphries created numerous other characters, including Sir Les Patterson, a boorish Australian politician, and Sandy Stone, an elderly Australian man. He also appeared in films such as “Nicholas Nickleby” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
  5. Honors and Recognition
    Throughout his career, Humphries received numerous honors and awards. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1982 for his services to the performing arts. In 2007, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to entertainment. He also received a Tony Award for Special Theatrical Event in 2000 for his Broadway show “Dame Edna: The Royal Tour.”

Barry Humphries’ death has been met with an outpouring of tributes and condolences from fans and colleagues around the world. He will be remembered as a comedic genius who brought joy and laughter to millions.

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