In a recent announcement, Barry Humphries’ daughter has stepped forward to address and dismiss swirling rumours that she boycotted her father’s state memorial due to the choice of host, Richard Wilkins.
The comedy legend, best known for his alter egos, Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson, sadly passed away on April 22, 2023 at the age of 89.
On Friday, December 15, hundreds gathered at the Sydney Opera House to celebrate the life of acclaimed Australian entertainer.
When the state memorial was announced speculations arose that Humphries’ family had chosen to boycott the ceremony over backlash to the choice of Wilkins as host.
The rumour mill went into overdrive more recently when Humphries’ daughter, Emily, was a no-show at the memorial with many speculating that it was a deliberate act of protest to the selected emcee.
Putting an end to the rumours, she clarified her stance, highlighting that her absence was not a statement against Wilkins.
“I want to be loud and very clear. I am grateful to both Richard and the organisers for their part in this send-off,” she said in a statement posted to Facebook, as per The Daily Mail.
“Despite some complexities in my relationship with my father, I was proud of his achievements and think a public send-off important for both him and his public.
“Privacy and intimacy were missing elements in my relationship with him so public comments have really bothered me. That they are inaccurate and hurtful to another fired me up.”
Emily explained her absence from her father’s state memorial, stating, “they’re not my thing” and revealing she was “away working on a film project in Sri Lanka”.
However, she assured her followers she did attend her late father’s private Bowral funeral, at the home of artist Tim Storrier, in April with her stepmother Lizzie Spender, sister Tess, brothers Oscar and Rupert, and the comic’s grandchildren.
The announcement that Wilkins would serve as Master of Ceremonies at Humphries’ state memorial reportedly ignited a storm of outrage from the late icon’s family and friends.
According to an exclusive from Sydney Confidential, the revelation of Wilkins’ participation in the ceremony did not sit well with Humphries’ close circle with their attendance coming under question.
“Like a number of Barry’s friends, I was amazed and aghast that Channel 9 personality Richard Wilkins was chosen to be the MC at this important event, Barry’s memorial,” a longtime friend of Humphries, Professor Ross Fitzgerald, told the publication at the time.
“I am also very puzzled how this happened … I find it very hard to believe that members of the family and the children for example would have approved this.
“It is important for me to stress, Richard Wilkins seems to be a nice bloke, but like a number of Barry’s friends, he seems to us and to me and to [Barry’s daughter] Emily to be an inappropriate choice.”