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Who Is Barry Humphries? 5 Things On Comic & Dame Edna Creator – Hollywood Life

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Image Credit: Everett Collection

  • Barry Humphries is best known as a comedian from Australia.
  • His most beloved character was Dame Edna Everage.
  • He passed away at the age of 89 on Apr. 22, 2023.

Barry Humphries has died at the age of 89. The Australian comic, who was best known for his comedic character Dame Edna Everage, died on Saturday after staying at a Sydney, Australia hospital due to complications from a hip surgery he had in March, according to his family, per Deadline. “He was completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit,” his family said in a statement. ”With over 70 years on the stage, he was an entertainer to his core, touring up until the last year of his life and planning more shows that will sadly never be.”

Friends and fans also took to social media shortly after news of Barry’s death made headlines, and many praised the legacy he left behind. “One of my comedy heroes has left us. His subversive comedy always made us laugh until we hurt and we’ll still laugh with him and his creations for evermore,” one tweet read. “Australia has lost one of its greatest! Funny, literate and fiercely intelligent Barry Humphries was quite simply an entertaining genius. The characters he created brought laughter to millions … My thoughts are with family on this sad day!” another read.

Barry was best known for his comedic characters, including Dame Edna Everage.

Barry Humphries
Barry as Dame Edna Everage. (Everett Collection)

The character, which was originally conceived in 1956 and Barry portrayed for seven decades, was a condescending snob and one of the most beloved he ever brought into the spotlight. He would wear a purple wig, quirky glasses, and long dresses as Edna and speak with a distinct accent. The act was initially part of a one-man stage show, but went on to television and even a movie debut in John B. Murray’s The Naked Bunyip in 1970.

The Sydney Morning Herald called Edna “a perfect parody of a modern, vainglorious celebrity with a rampant ego and a strong aversion to the audience (whom celebrities pretend to love but actually, as Edna so boldly makes transparent, they actually loathe for their cheap shoes and suburban values).”

Barry Humphries
Barry as Dame Edna on ‘The Tonight Show with Jay leno.’ (Everett Collection)

One of the other popular characters Barry portrayed was Sir Les Patterson, who had the exact opposite personality of Dame Edna Everage. He has been described as a Roman Catholic male from Sydney and first appeared in one of Barry’s one-man shows in 1974. The character went on to television and film and even appeared on some of Dame Edna’s shows. He also presenteda documentary about the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, which was called, Sir Les and the Great Chinese Takeaway, in 1997.

He started disguising himself as characters when he was a child.

Barry previously revealed he would spend hours playing dress-up by himself in a garden when his father would spend little time with him. “Disguising myself as different characters and I had a whole box of dressing up clothes … Red Indian, sailor suit, Chinese costume and I was very spoiled in that way … I also found that entertaining people gave me a great feeling of release, making people laugh was a very good way of befriending them. People couldn’t hit you if they were laughing,” he told The Telegraph

Barry also worked as a film producer, script writer, and painter.

Barry Humphries
Barry had many talents he used over the years. (Everett Collection)

He was a man of many talents and started his professional career in the early 1950s. After studying at the University of Melbourne, Barry joined the Melbourne Theatre Company, which was new at the time. He eventually moved to London, England and took part in more projects, including contributions to the satirical magazine Private Eye. His cartoon strip, The Wonderful World of Barry McKenzie was one of his most popular.

Barry’s paintings were landscape paintings and his work is in both private and public collections. He also liked to collect art from other artists and was known for having an impressive collection, including one of the biggest private collections of artist Charles Conder in the world. When it comes to script writing, Barry wrote many of the scripts for his Dame Edna Everage shows and more.

He was married four times.

He first married Brenda Wright in 1955, when he was 21, and the marriage lasted two years. He went on to marry Rosalind Tong in 1959 and their marriage lasted until 1970. They welcomed daughters Tessa and Emily during their time together. Barry’s third wife was Diane Millstead from 1979 until 1989, and they had son Oscar together. At the time of his death, Barry was married to actress Elizabeth Spender, whom he exchanged vows with in 1990.

Barry admitted to being in ‘agony’ just weeks before he died.

The funny comedian had unfortunately had to have a hip replacement after a fall and told The Sydney Morning Herald that the physiotherapy was “agony.” He also called the way he fell “ridiculous” when describing the moment. “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,” he said.

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