Barry Humphries, the Australian-born actor and comic who brought us the deliriously dotty “Dame Edna Everage,” died in Saturday at the age of 89.
Humphries death was confirmed by the hospital where he had spent several days after undergoing hip surgery.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia paid tribute to Mr. Humphries on Twitter calling the comic “a great wit, satirist, writer and an absolute one-of-kind.”
For 89 years, Barry Humphries entertained us through a galaxy of personas, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone.
But the brightest star in that galaxy was always Barry.
A great wit, satirist, writer and an absolute one-of-kind, he was both gifted and a gift.
May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/oSAKpxPGae
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) April 22, 2023
From the New York Times:
A stiletto-heeled, stiletto-tongued persona who might well have been the spawn of a ménage à quatre involving Oscar Wilde, Salvador Dalí, Auntie Mame and Miss Piggy, Dame Edna was not so much a character as a cultural phenomenon, a force of nature trafficking in wicked, sequined commentary on the nature of fame.
For generations after the day she first sprang to life on the Melbourne stage, Dame Edna reigned, bewigged, bejeweled and bejowled, one of the longest-lived characters to be channeled by a single performer.
She toured worldwide in a series of solo stage shows and was ubiquitous on television in the United States, Britain, Australia and elsewhere.
Edna soon became a case study in exorbitant amour propre, lampooning suburban pretensions, political correctness and the cult of celebrity, and acquiring a damehood along the way.
A “housewife-superstar,” she called herself, upgrading the title in later years to “megastar” and, still later, to “gigastar.”
An absolute classic featuring the now King and Queen Consort. It’s just so delicious.
RIP Dame Edna and Barry Humphries. pic.twitter.com/P6SKap36Ju
— Christopher Golds (@chrisgolds) April 22, 2023
For years, I laughed along with the world, finding ‘Dame Edna’ (who Humphries first conceived in 1955) to be hysterically funny especially with her over-the-top ad libs during performances.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that, while ‘Dame Edna’ was a drag character, it turned out that Humphries (who was straight) was no friend to the LGBTQ community.
In an interview with the Telegraph in 2016, Humphries called transgender women ‘mutilated men:’ “They had their genitalia chopped off and tucked in and whatever they had to do.”
In a 2018, Humphries told The Spectator that being trans was a “fashion,” and then added, “How many different kinds of lavatory can you have? And it’s pretty evil when it’s preached to children by crazy teachers.”
In the same year, he told the Star Observer he revealed he was a supporter of then-U.S. President Donald Trump saying he was grateful to Trump for “stirring up” politics and that Humphries would not be “joining any marches against him.”
In 2019, Humphries claimed his position had been “grotesquely interpreted” but didn’t clarify further.
RIP Barry Humphries.
A sad reminder that while Dame Edna was a wonderful character and will be greatly missed, her creator was not. Straight, homophobic and transphobic, and really only got worse as the years went on. He made a lot of money on our backs, and supported us not at all. Goodbye Edna. https://t.co/CXdMo3l4Dd
— David Demchuk 👻 (he/him) (@david_demchuk) April 22, 2023
God we are about to see RIP posts about a straight man who was transphobic, biphobic and no friend of the queer community, just because he did drag, doesn’t make him a good ally.
Death is sad, but his bigotry cannot be forgotten.
— Andrew Creak 🏳️🌈 (@AndrewCreak) April 22, 2023
He was not our friend or ally.
It’s important to know the whole story, about who this person was.
I grew up with his character and was sad to see he was not on our side at all. Grim.https://t.co/yhUgzhXDOY https://t.co/2xiwfNsfNl pic.twitter.com/AcOIDPSjOq
— josh snares (@josh_snares) April 22, 2023