Barry Humphries, actor and producer dame edna averageDied in Sydney at the age of 89.
The Tony-winning Australian comedian was hospitalized Wednesday due to complications following hip surgery last month. Humphreys was undergoing treatment after a fall in February. reports Sydney Morning Herald,
The artist, who was born in Melbourne in 1934, rose to fame in the 1950s after originating the drag-character housewife Edna Everage. Sporting lilac hair and funky glasses, the act served as social satire. The composition hit the London stage in the 1970s and gained a fan base for Humphreys’ performances in the worlds of theatre, film and TV for the next few decades. Before becoming a notable personality, Humphreys was a fixture on the West End stage, appearing in shows such as Oliver.
Todd Williamson/WireImage Dame Edna Everage – aka Barry Humphreys
The star expanded its operations to the US in 2000 with a Broadway production. Dame Edna, The Royal Tour, for which he was presented with a special Tony Award. His other honors include Officer of the Order of Australia (OA) in 1982 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), which Queen Elizabeth conferred on him in 2007 for his contribution to the arts.
Humphreys also appeared in several films, including dazzle (1967), Spice World (1997), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), and finding Nemo (2003).
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was one of several public figures to pay tribute to the star.
“For 89 years, Barrie Humphreys entertained us through a galaxy of personalities, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone,” tweeted Albanese, referring to the latter character as one of Humphreys’ most enduring characters. “But the brightest star in that galaxy was always Barry. A great wit, satirist, writer, and an absolute kind heart, he was both a gift and a gift.”
Comedian Ricky Gervais also posted a dedication, tweeting, “Farewell, Barry Humphries, you comedy genius.”
News personality Piers Morgan wrote, “He is one of the funniest people I have ever met,” adding, “an amazingly intelligent, amusing, daring, provocative, mischievous comic genius.”
In 2011 Humphreys appeared with Morgan as his beloved character during a segment on CNN offering commentary on the Royal Family.
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also posted a tribute, saying Humphreys was “one of the greatest Australians ever” and “a comedic genius”.
The icon’s family released a statement remembering his life and the people he inspired with his work.
“With more than 70 years on stage, he was his original entertainer, traveling through the last year of his life and planning more shows that would never happen,” the statement said. “He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and also a friend and confidante to many. His passing leaves a void in so many lives. The characters he created, which made millions laugh, will live on “
Humphreys is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Spender, and four children.