Barry Humphries, Australian comic who created Dame Edna, dies at 89


Barry Humphries, an Australian comic who created and embodied the lilac-coiffed, cat eye-bespectacled Dame Edna Everage, a personality that started within the Fifties as a satire on suburbia and advanced into a world goddess of glitz and irreverence who carried out for British royalty and on Broadway levels, has died in a Sydney hospital at 89.

The demise was confirmed by the hospital on April 22, the Related Press reported, however no different particulars had been instantly offered. Mr. Humphries was hospitalized for issues after hip surgical procedure.

The persona of Dame Edna was so full that the character was higher recognized than its creator. Edna’s world grew to have its personal full backstory — with a broadcast “autobiography”— that included remembrances of a useless husband, Sir Norman Everage, and an toddler daughter taken by a “rogue koala” however who escaped to turn into a nun. It’s all made up, in fact.

But it surely was the sparkly, sassy and barely condescending Dame Edna, not the quietly considerate Mr. Humphries, whom crowds got here out to see and be welcomed with the signature greeting: “Howdy, Possums!”

The character turned greatest recognized to American audiences by means of outrageous speak exhibits starting within the late Eighties with “The Dame Edna Expertise,” the place Edna would playfully mock and tease friends such because the actor Charlton Heston, who was known as Chuck.

In one other present, “Dame Edna’s Hollywood” (1991—1993), she went within the span of two minutes from calling the comedian Robin Williams a “kaleidoscopic nightmare” to dancing to the tune of “Act Naturally” performed by a giant band led by Ringo Starr.

In 1999, Dame Edna opened at Broadway’s Sales space Theater along with her present “Dame Edna: The Royal Tour,” wherein she skewered just about everybody and the whole lot, on her approach to a Tony Award. “The present is so humorous that it introduced on a good friend’s bronchial asthma (“She made me wheeze”),” the reviewer Richard Laermer wrote in The Washington Submit.

Dame Edna appeared on the 2006 Closing Ceremonies of the Commonwealth Video games in Melbourne, belting out a music over video hyperlink whereas 1,000 “Commonwealth Dames” waved Edna’s signature flower, the gladiola, or “gladdies” as she known as them.

Dame Edna so completely took the highlight that it was an occasion in itself when Mr. Humphries emerged as himself. An interviewer on Australia’s “60 Minutes” wished to know when Mr. Humphries ended and Dame Edna started.

“When does Dame Edna turn into Dame Edna?” he requested. “When she places …”

“The glasses on,” Mr. Humphries minimize in.

“Glasses,” stated Mr. Humphries. “The glasses make the character.”

Possibly solely Elton John has gone larger and bolder in eyewear. Dame Edna, nevertheless, didn’t play with varied types. It was at all times the cat eye in high-wattage spangle.

The thought was impressed by the silent-film-era actress Stephanie Deste, an Australian who within the Nineteen Twenties was recognized for her handmade eyeglass frames with diamante-studded wings. The glasses turned a part of the transition of the Dame Edna character within the Sixties from mousy Melbourne housewife to, as Mr. Humphries described, “chanteuse swami-monstre sacre.”

Mr. Humphries by no means wore glasses in public.

It is a creating story.


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