The world of entertainment is mourning the loss of a true icon after the passing of legendary comedian Barry Humphries, who died on Saturday, April 22 at the age of 89.
Following a fall at his home in Sydney in February, Humphries was readmitted to the hospital due to complications following hip surgery. Sadly, it was there that the comedic genius behind the beloved characters of Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson passed away.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Barry Humphries passed away peacefully in Sydney, Australia today. He was surrounded by his family,” his publicist confirmed in a statement.
“He was completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit.
“With over seventy years on the stage, he was an entertainer to his core, touring up until the last year of his life and planning more shows that will sadly never be. His audiences were precious to him, and he never took them for granted.
“Although he may be best remembered for his work in theatre, he was a painter, author, poet, and a collector and lover of Art in all its forms. He was also a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and a friend and confidant to many. His passing leaves a void in so many lives.
“The characters he created, which brought laughter to millions, will live on.
“We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.”
Humphries was born on February 17, 1934. He was renowned for his comedic, satirical, and artistic talents, as well as his character acting. His most popular alter egos were Dame Edna Everage, a superstar Melbourne housewife and Sir Les Patterson, Australia’s vulgar cultural attaché to the Court of St. James’s.
Humphries was also a successful film producer, scriptwriter, and London West End musical theater star. Additionally, he was an award-winning author and accomplished landscape painter. In 2010, Anne Pender, his biographer, hailed Humphries as the most significant comedian since Charlie Chaplin.
Humphries’ characters, especially Dame Edna Everage, garnered international acclaim, and he appeared in numerous films, stage productions, and television shows. Edna began as a caricature of Australian suburban complacency but later evolved into a satire of stardom over four decades.
For his work in the entertainment industry, Humphries received numerous accolades for his work, including a Special Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, a Theatre World Award, and an Outer Critics’ Circle Award in 2000. In 2002, the Australian National Portrait Gallery honoured him with its first large-scale biographical exhibition, and the following year he lent his voice to Bruce the shark in the animated film Finding Nemo.
He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Melbourne. Among his many books are two autobiographies, More Please (1992) and My Life as Me (2002).
Humphries’ extraordinary talent for bringing iconic characters to life has made an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. The depth of his influence is reflected in the outpouring of tributes that have emerged from all corners of the world, attesting to the profound impact he had on people’s lives. His passing has left a deep void that will be felt for years to come, but his legacy will undoubtedly live on.
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
Australia has lost one of its greatest!
Funny, literate and fiercely intelligent
Barry Humphries was quite simply an entertaining genius.
The characters he created brought laughter to millions …
My thoughts are with family on this sad day! pic.twitter.com/5YuozMmzHI
— Jason Donovan (@JDonOfficial) April 22, 2023
RIP Barry Humphries. A true great who inspired me immeasurably. It was a delight to call him my friend.
I’ve been in Australia and was with him only 3 days ago. He was, as ever, making me laugh. His talent shone until the very end.
My love goes out to Lizzie and all the family. pic.twitter.com/G5aJfLiVkK
— Rob Brydon (@RobBrydon) April 22, 2023
RIP Barry Humphries. One of the greatest comedians of our time. He was nothing but an utter gentleman to me, and occasionally a Dame. Appropriately, he took his final bow on a Saturday night.
— Adam Hills (@adamhillscomedy) April 22, 2023
Barry Humphries. 1934 – 2023.
One of my comedy heroes has left us. His subversive comedy always made us laugh until we hurt and we’ll still laugh with him and his creations for evermore.
Today, these words from Dame Edna’s BBC show in 2019 seem fitting.
Thank you, possum. pic.twitter.com/r92G4hI5e3
— William Hanson (@williamhanson) April 22, 2023
What an honour to share a moment with the genius Barry Humphries. One of the funniest experiences of my life. RIP kind sir. pic.twitter.com/WWcCoQvbCS
— Guy Pearce (@TheGuyPearce) April 22, 2023
‘Seeing Barry Humphries live was like being struck by a thunderbolt. I had never laughed so much in my life. That anyone could be so hilarious was magic. Off-stage he was elegant & sophisticated but just as funny as Dame Edna. A lethal wit, fast & fearless he was the greatest’. D pic.twitter.com/j3155VHNV6
— David Walliams HQ (@davidwalliams) April 22, 2023
RIP Barry Humphries – one of the greatest ever Australians – and a comic genius who used his exuberant alter egos, Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson, to say the otherwise unsayable. Also an infallibly brilliant Spectator contributor. What a loss.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 22, 2023
Barry Humphries is one of the most important forces in Australian Comedy. None of us would be where we are without him blazing a trail for us all to follow. I’m crossing my fingers and whatever toes I have for a speedy recovery.
— Adam Hills (@adamhillscomedy) April 20, 2023
RIP Barry Humphries, 89.
One of the funniest people I’ve ever met. A wondrously intelligent, entertaining, daring, provocative, mischievous comedy genius. As hilarious in private as he was as the iconic Dame Edna. What a life, what a character. Thanks for all the laughs, Barry. pic.twitter.com/M9tHIW2IY7
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 22, 2023
Vale Barry Humphries, an irreplaceable Australian icon.
Barry brought audiences so many laughs, but he was much more than #DameEdna, or any of his stage creations. I have the fondest memories of my friendship with Barry, being bowled over by his playful charm and subversive wit.… pic.twitter.com/hATOqNMOBv
— Tara Moss (@Tara_Moss) April 22, 2023
Humphries is survived by his wife Lizzie, his children Tessa, Emily, Oscar and Rupert, and 10 grandchildren.