Barry Humphries, Creator of Dame Edna Everage, Dies at 89

Tony Award-winning comedian Barry Humphries, famous for his iconic character Dame Edna Everage, has died at the age of 89 following complications from hip surgery.

Barry Humphries, the renowned Australian comedian and actor who created the iconic character Dame Edna Everage, has died at the age of 89. Humphries was known for his garish stage persona, a condescending and imperfectly-veiled snob who delighted audiences with her evolving character over seven decades.

Humphries passed away in a Sydney hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for complications following hip surgery. His family confirmed his death.

Dame Edna began as a dowdy Mrs. Norm Everage, who first took to the stage in Melbourne in the mid-1950s. The character evolved over time, reflecting a postwar suburban inertia and cultural blandness that Humphries found stifling. Edna is just one of Humphries’ several enduring characters, with the next most famous being Sir Les Patterson, an ever-drunk, disheveled and lecherous Australian cultural attaché.

Humphries found major success as an actor, writer, and entertainer in Britain in the 1970s, and later won a Tony Award in 2000 for his Broadway show “Dame Edna: The Royal Tour.” While he achieved fame and success around the world, his homeland remained close to his heart. He returned to Australia last December for Christmas, and spoke to The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper about his physiotherapy following his fall and hip replacement, describing it as “agony.”

Following news of his death, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to the celebrated comedian, and British comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: “Farewell, Barry Humphries, you comedy genius.” Piers Morgan, the British television personality, also paid tribute, describing Humphries as “one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.”

Humphries was married four times, and is survived by his wife Lizzie Spender, four children, and ten grandchildren. His legacy as a groundbreaking comedian and performer will be remembered for generations to come.