Barry Humphries, the Australian comedian and satirist who became a global icon for his creation of the flamboyant and hilarious character Dame Edna Everage, has died at the age of 89.
Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1934, Humphries began his career in the 1950s as a satirical comedian, quickly becoming known for his quick wit and sharp tongue. He gained a cult following in Australia and beyond, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that he created the character that would make him a household name: Dame Edna.
Dame Edna, a larger-than-life character with a signature bouffant hairstyle, outlandish clothing, and a razor-sharp tongue, became an instant hit with audiences around the world. Humphries’ portrayal of the outrageous and outrageous yet endearing Edna was nothing short of genius, and his talent for improvisation and his gift for timing made him one of the funniest comedians of his generation.
Over the years, Humphries continued to delight audiences with his performances as Dame Edna, as well as his other beloved characters, including Sir Les Patterson, the foul-mouthed Australian cultural attaché, and Sandy Stone, the aging suburbanite. He also appeared in numerous films and television shows, including “The Hobbit” and “Absolutely Fabulous.”
Unfortunately his career did not come without some controversy.
Humphries came under fire for anti-trans statements in 2016, and after blowback, apologized.
Humphries, who was 81 at the time of the 2016 remarks, was agreeing with Germaine Greer when he said of trans women, “You’re a mutilated man, that’s all. Self-mutilation, what’s all this carry on? Caitlyn Jenner — what a publicity-seeking ratbag.”
Humphries replied to the blowback: “I don’t know anything about politics. You can’t describe the world as it is anymore. You get jumped on. I’m happy to say I do. I give offense therefore I am. Not too much offense, though.”
Humphries will be remembered though as a master of the art of comedy, and his contributions to the world of entertainment will be remembered for years to come. His wit, his irreverence, and his ability to make audiences laugh will be sorely missed.
Rest in peace, Barry Humphries, and thank you for the laughter you brought to so many people’s lives.