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Barry Humphreys: Comedian Dame Edna Everridge dies at 89

Australian entertainer Barry Humphries has died aged 89.

The star was hospitalized in Sydney in March following complications following hip surgery. He fell in February.

Humphries is best known for her work, which took Britain by storm in the 1970s and was featured on her own TV talk show, Dame Edna Ever Experience, in the late 1980s.

His other characters include the lewd and drunk Sir Les Paterson.

In a statement, his family remembered him as “just himself until the end, who never lost his brilliant mind, unique wisdom and generosity.”

They said Humphries’ fans were “invaluable to him” and said his character “made millions of people laugh”.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese offered his condolences shortly after news of Humphries’ death broke.

“A great joker, satirist, writer and one-of-a-kind man with both talent and talent,” Mr Albanese said.

Born in Melbourne, Humphries moved to London in 1959 and appeared on West End shows such as Maggie May and Oliver!

Inspired by the absurdist avant-garde Dada art movement, he became a leading figure in British comedy alongside contemporaries such as Alan Bennett, Dudley Moore and Spike Milligan.

Broadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell, who is a friend of Humphries, told the BBC he had an “extremely bright mind”.

“A world where I don’t have Barry Humphreys’ friendship really hurts. Because he’s so tough and dynamic and loving and direct…that’s a big absence in my life right now,” she said.

Comedian Rory Bremner described Humphreys in a tweet as “lightning quick, subversive, mischievous…and hilariously funny.”

He said with his death “we are losing one of the greatest men of all time”.

Actor and comedian Rob Brydon also described Humphreys as a “truly great man who inspired me endlessly” and said “it’s a joy to call him my friend “.

He said he had only seen him three days ago and he “made me laugh as always”.

“Hello possum!”


In 1955, Humphreys played Mrs Norman Everage, a housewife from the Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds, in a college production.

This is the first iteration of the irrepressible character that has defined his career.

It only took a week to create, Humphreys said.

Instead, it developed into Lady Edna, his flashy, tongue-in-cheek comic alter-ego that has disappointed audiences in Australia and beyond for decades. He said the character was based on his own mother.

“Edna was very shy at first,” Humphries told The Guardian in 2018. “incredible!”

Over the years, she has grown more and more outrageous, known for her rinsed purple hair, lavish glasses and her catchphrase “Hello possum!”

Lady Edna surprised then-Prince Charles and his wife Camilla on the royal variety show in 2019 when she sat next to them and joked ‘they found me a better seat’ , before leaving.

Humphreys even wrote an autobiography, My Magnificent Life, as the character.

His other popular roles on stage and screen include the somewhat grandfatherly Sandy Stone.

Of Stone, he said in 2016 that he “finally feels like I’m transforming into him”.

Humphreys also produced six series for BBC Radio 2, the final three-part series celebrating the BBC’s centenary.

Radio 2 producer Laura Busson says his series ‘Barry Humphries Forgotten Musical Masterpieces’ is a huge hit with audiences and will air today on BBC Sounds in honor of the comedian.

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