Australian Comedian Barry Humphries/Dame Edna Dead At 89

Australian Comedian Barry Humphries/Dame Edna Dead At 89
“Dame Edna Everage” (via official Facebook)

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.”

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.”

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.