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 demise 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 utterly himself till the very finish, by no means shedding his good thoughts, his distinctive wit and generosity of spirit,” a household assertion stated.
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”With over 70 years on the stage, he was an entertainer to his core, touring up till the final yr of his life and planning extra reveals 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 probably the most ridiculous factor, like all home incidents are. I used to be reaching for a e book, my foot received 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 yr along 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 considered one of Humphries’ a number of enduring characters. The subsequent most well-known is Sir Les Patterson, an ever-drunk, dishevelled and lecherous Australian cultural attaché.
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 college dropout, discovered main success as an actor, author and entertainer in Britain within the 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 via a galaxy of personas, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone,” Albanese tweeted, referring to the melancholic and rambling Stone, considered one of Humphries most enduring characters. “However the brightest star in that galaxy was all the time 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 persona, 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 writer of novels and an autobiography, and an completed panorama painter.
John Barry Humphries was born in Melbourne on February 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 enthusiastic about artwork and secondhand bookshops than soccer. At 16, his favorite writer was Kafka and later stated he “felt slightly overseas”.
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 means, you disgusting blind particular person”.
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 sketch for the satirical journal Personal 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 humour”. Humphries professed delight on the publicity and implored authorities to not carry the ban.
By then Humphries’ consuming 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 remedy 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 function beer induced vomiting would do to Australia’s picture abroad.
However it 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.