CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — 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 a long time, has died. He was 89.
His dying within the Sydney hospital, the place he spent a number of days with problems following hip surgical procedure, was confirmed by his household.
“He was utterly himself till the very finish, by no means dropping his good thoughts, his distinctive 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 exhibits that may sadly by no means be,” they added.
Humphries had lived in London for many years and returned to native Australia in December for Christmas.
He advised The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper final month that his physiotherapy had been “agony” following his fall and hip alternative.
“It was essentially the most ridiculous factor, like all home incidents are. I used to be reaching for a e book, my foot bought caught on a rug or one thing, and down I went,” Humphries stated of his fall.
Humphries has remained an energetic entertainer, touring Britain final 12 months together with his one-man present “The Man Behind the Masks.”
The character of Dame Edna started as a dowdy Mrs. Norm Everage, who first took to the stage in Humphries’ hometown of Melbourne within the mid-Fifties. She mirrored a postwar suburban inertia and cultural blandness that Humphries discovered stifling.
Edna is one in every of Humphries’ a number of enduring characters. The subsequent 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.
Humphries, a regulation faculty dropout, discovered main success as an actor, author and entertainer in Britain within the Nineteen Seventies, however america was an ambition that he discovered stubbornly elusive.
A excessive level in america 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 by way of a galaxy of personas, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone,” Albanese tweeted, referring to the melancholic and rambling Stone, one in every of Humphries most enduring characters. “However the brightest star in that galaxy was at all times Barry. An ideal wit, satirist, author and an absolute one-of-kind, he was each gifted and a present.”
British comic Ricky Gervais tweeted: “Farewell, Barry Humphries, you comedy genius.”
Piers Morgan, British tv character, tweeted: “One of many funniest folks I’ve ever met.”
“A wondrously clever, entertaining, daring, provocative, mischievous comedy Genius,” Morgan added.
The multi-talented Humphries was additionally a revered character actor with many stage and display screen credit, an creator of novels and an autobiography, and an achieved panorama painter.
John Barry Humphries was born in Melbourne on Feb. 17, 1934. His dad and mom had been snug, loving and strait-laced, and will need to have puzzled about their eldest son, whom they referred to 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 bit international.”
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 full of custard, and, on the efficiency artwork facet, getting on a tram with an apparently blind confederate whom Humphries would kick within the shins whereas yelling “Get out of my method, you disgusting blind individual.”
In 1959, he settled in London and was quickly working in Peter Cook dinner’s comedy venue The Institution. He performed Sowerberry within the unique London manufacturing of “Oliver!” in 1960 and repeated the function on Broadway. He appeared with Spike Milligan and William Rushton in “Treasure Island.”
Humphries, with New Zealand artist Nicholas Garland, created the Barry McKenzie cartoon for the satirical journal Non-public Eye in 1964.
When the strips got here out as a e book, the Australian authorities banned it as a result of it “relied on indecency for its humor.” Humphries professed delight on the publicity and implored authorities to not carry the ban.
By then 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 may 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 function beer induced vomiting would do to Australia’s picture abroad.
But it surely was a well-liked success and a sequel two years later included then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam knighting Edna, who was McKenzie’s aunt.
Married 4 instances, he’s survived by his spouse Lizzie Spender, 4 kids and 10 grandchildren.