The BBC reports:
Australian entertainer Barry Humphries, best known for his comic character Dame Edna Everage, has died aged 89. The star had been in hospital in Sydney after suffering complications following hip surgery in March. He had a fall in February.
Humphries’ most famous creation became a hit in the UK in the 1970s and landed her own TV chat show, the Dame Edna Everage Experience, in the late 1980s.
Melbourne-born Humphries moved to London in 1959, appearing in West End shows such as Maggie May and Oliver! Inspired by the absurdist, avant-garde art movement dada, he became a leading figure of the British comedy scene alongside contemporaries like Alan Bennett, Dudley Moore and Spike Milligan.
Sky News reports:
The self-described giga-star was known for her extravagant spectacles, rapier wit, rich source of double entendres, fondness for gladioli flowers and the famous greeting “Hello possums!”. Humphries also played Sir Les Patterson, an unkempt, lecherous, uncouth, drunken character who held multiple fictional diplomatic positions, including cultural attaché to the Far East and minister for the yartz (arts).
Paying tribute, Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese said: “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 statement from Humphries’ family said: “He was completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit.”
Pink News reports:
In 2016, Humphries defended the philosopher and writer Germaine Greer, who described transgender women as “men who believe that they are women and have themselves castrated”. Humphries said he agreed with Greer, and mentioned Caitlyn Jenner as part of the discussion.
“I agree with Germaine! You’re a mutilated man, that’s all. Self-mutilation, what’s all this carry on?” he told The Telegraph. Three years later, Humphries claimed his position had been “grotesquely interpreted” – but didn’t not offer further clarification.
In a 2018 interview with The Spectator he also claimed that being trans is a fashion, adding: “How many different kinds of lavatory can you have? And it’s pretty evil when it’s preached to children by crazy teachers.”
The Guardian reports:
Over his career, Humphries appeared in films playing characters such as the Great Goblin in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Bruce the great white shark inFinding Nemo.
He also appeared in The Rocky Horror Picture Showsequel Shock Treatment; the Spice Girls film Spice World; and had a small role in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
Humphries was married four times, and had four children. His last marriage, to the actor Lizzie Spender in 1990, lasted to his death. “Why has this last marriage endured? Oh, because I’m a bit smarter now,” he once said. “The truth is I’m not a very easy person to be married to.”