Barry Humphries, the iconic comedian, satirist, and actor, has passed away in Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital at the age of 89 after complications from hip surgery.
Born in Melbourne in 1934, Humphries made a name for himself with his character creations, such as the iconic housewife and cultural commentator, Dame Edna Everage, and the lecherous diplomat, Sir Les Patterson. He also had a successful career as a writer, painter, and actor – working on London’s West End and New York City’s Broadway.
A statement released by Humphries’ family on Saturday night said that “He was completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit.
“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.
“His audiences were precious to him, and he never took them for granted. Although he may be best remembered for his work in theatre, he was a painter, author, poet, and a collector and lover of art in all its forms.
“He was also a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and a friend and confidant to many. His passing leaves a void in so many lives.
“The characters he created, which brought laughter to millions, will live on.”
Humphies’ screen credits included A Night with Dame Edna, An Evening’s Intercourse with Dame Edna, Edna: The Spectacle, Back with a Vengeance, The Dame Edna Treatment, Dame Edna Live: The First Last Tour as well as movies including The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Finding Nemo.
Tributes have come in from all over the entertainment world, as well as from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese – who called Humphries “the brightest star” and “a great wit, satirist, writer and an absolute one-of-kind, he was both gifted and a gift.”
For 89 years, Barry Humphries entertained us through a galaxy of personas, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone.
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.
May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/oSAKpxPGae
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) April 22, 2023
Speaking about Humphries, comedian John Cleese said that he was “The funniest stand up I ever saw” – although confessing that “I loved Les more than Edna…”
Ricky Gervais called him a “comedy genius,” while Guy Pearce reflected on his time with Humphries as “One of the funniest experiences of my life.”
Showbiz reporter Peter Ford wrote “What a brilliant mind and what a legacy! Australia will send many other more funny people into the world – but I can’t imagine any will match Barry Humphries.”
Humphries leaves behind his wife Lizzie Spender, his four children, and 10 grandchildren.
See More (From 2015): Barry Humphries, Dame Edna and Sir Les signed by News Corp