John Barry Humphries AO CBE was a multi-talented Australian comedian, actor, author, and satirist. He was born on February 17, 1934, in Kew, Victoria, Australia, and passed away on April 22, 2023. Humphries was widely recognized for his unique sense of humor and ability to create memorable characters that entertained audiences across the world.
He was also a film producer and scriptwriter, a star of London’s West End musical theatre, a writer, and a landscape painter. For his delivery of dadaist and absurdist humour to millions, biographer Anne Pender described Humphries in 2010 as not only “the most significant theatrical figure of our time … [but] the most significant comedian to emerge since Charlie Chaplin”.
Humphries was first educated at Camberwell Grammar School, where he has been awarded a place in the Gallery of Achievement. His father’s building business prospered and Humphries was sent to Melbourne Grammar School, where he spurned sports, despised mathematics, shunned cadets “on the basis of conscientious objection”, and graduated with brilliant results in English and Art. He described his schooling as “self-educated, attended Melbourne Grammar School” in a Who’s Who entry.
Humphries spent two years studying at the University of Melbourne, where he studied Law, Philosophy and Fine Arts. During this time he was a Private in the Melbourne University Regiment, serving a period of National Service in the CMF of the Australian Army.
Barry Humphries Career
Humphries had performed songs and sketches in university revues, so he joined the newly formed Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC). During this time he created Edna Everage, his most famous character. “Olympic Hostess”, the first stage sketch featuring Mrs Norm Everage, premiered at Melbourne University’s Union Theatre on 12 December.
Barry Humphries had a diverse and successful career as a comedian, actor, author, and satirist. He first gained recognition in the 1950s as a performer in the Melbourne University revues, where he created the character of Dame Edna Everage, a housewife and self-proclaimed international megastar.
Humphries’ creation of Dame Edna Everage propelled him to stardom in Australia, and he soon began performing as the character on television and in live shows. Dame Edna Everage became known for her flamboyant outfits, outrageous behavior, and sharp wit, and she quickly became a beloved character among audiences across the world.
Humphries also created the character of Sir Les Patterson, a crude and offensive Australian diplomat, who also became a popular character in Humphries’ repertoire. Sir Les Patterson was known for his crude humor and outlandish behavior, and he appeared in various television shows, stage performances, and films.
In addition to his work as a comedian and actor, Humphries was also a talented writer, film producer, and scriptwriter. He wrote and produced several films, including “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie” (1972) and “Les Patterson Saves the World” (1987). He also wrote several books, including an autobiography titled “My Life As Me” (2002).
Humphries’ talent as an actor and comedian extended to the stage, where he appeared in various productions in London’s West End, including “Oliver!” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” He was also a landscape painter, and his artwork was exhibited in galleries across Australia.
Throughout his career, Humphries received numerous accolades for his contributions to the arts. He was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1982 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2007. In 2012, he was inducted into the Logie Awards Hall of Fame.
Barry Humphries’ career spanned several decades, and he remained a prominent figure in the entertainment industry until his passing in 2023. His unique brand of humor and his memorable characters will continue to entertain audiences for years to come.
Movies and TV Shows
Barry Humphries had a successful career in both movies and television, where he showcased his unique brand of humor and memorable characters.
In movies, Humphries wrote and produced several films, including “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie” (1972) and “Les Patterson Saves the World” (1987). “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie” was a comedy film about a young Australian man who travels to England, while “Les Patterson Saves the World” saw Humphries reprise his role as the crude Australian diplomat Sir Les Patterson. Both films were successful in Australia and featured Humphries’ signature humor.
Humphries also appeared in various movies as an actor, including “Nicholas and Alexandra” (1971) and “Finding Nemo” (2003), where he provided the voice for the character of Bruce the shark.
In television, Humphries was best known for his on-stage and television alter egos Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson. He first introduced Dame Edna Everage to Australian audiences in the 1950s, and she quickly became a beloved character on television. She appeared on numerous shows, including “The Dame Edna Experience” and “The Dame Edna Treatment,” and interviewed celebrities such as Cher, Elton John, and Madonna.
Sir Les Patterson also appeared on various television shows, including “The Paul Hogan Show” and “The Les Patterson Show,” where he entertained audiences with his crude humor and outlandish behavior.
Humphries also appeared on various television programs as himself, including “An Audience with Dame Edna Everage” and “Barry Humphries’ Flashbacks.” In these shows, he shared stories and insights about his life and career in show business.
Barry Humphries’ contributions to the entertainment industry through his movies and television shows have left a lasting impact on audiences across the world. His unique humor and memorable characters will continue to entertain audiences for years to come.
He was born in Melbourne, Victoria, on 17 February 1934, as the son of Eric Humphries (né John Albert Eric Humphries) (1905–1972), a construction manager, and Louisa Agnes (née Brown). He emigrated from Manchester, England to Australia as a grandfather. He grew up in a “clean, tasteful, and modern suburban home” on Christowel Street, Camberwell, then one of Melbourne’s new “garden suburbs”. Early in his life, Humphries spent a lot of time playing dress-up in the back garden with his father, who spent little time with him.
Barry Humphries Wife
Barry Humphries was married to his wife, Lizzie Spender, for over 25 years. The couple met in the 1980s when Spender was working as a freelance journalist in Australia, and they were introduced by a mutual friend.
Spender is the daughter of renowned poet Stephen Spender and violinist Natasha Litvin. She was born in London and raised in France, where she attended the Sorbonne University. After moving to Australia, she began working as a journalist and writer, and she has written for various publications, including The Guardian, The Observer, and The Australian.
Humphries and Spender were married in 1990, and they had two children together, Oscar and Rupert. The family split their time between their homes in London, Melbourne, and Italy.
Throughout their marriage, Spender was supportive of Humphries’ career, and she often accompanied him to events and performances. In a 2016 interview with The Guardian, Humphries described Spender as “a great support” and “a wonderful sounding board.”
Unfortunately, the couple faced a difficult time in their marriage in 2010 when it was revealed that Humphries had fathered a child with another woman while he was separated from Spender. The revelation caused a strain on their marriage, and they separated for a period before reconciling.
Humphries and Spender remained married until his passing in 2023, despite the challenges they faced. Their relationship was a testament to their enduring love and commitment to one another, even in the face of difficulties.
Barry Humphries Net Worth
Barry Humphries’ net worth was estimated to be around $12 million. His wealth came from his successful career as a comedian, actor, author, and producer.
Latest News About Barry Humphries: Cause of Death
Barry Humphries: Dame Edna Everage comedian dies at 89
Australian entertainer Barry Humphries, best known for his comic character Dame Edna Everage, has died aged 89.
The star had been in hospital in Sydney after suffering complications following hip surgery in March. He had a fall in February.
Humphries’ most famous creation became a hit in the UK in the 1970s and landed her own TV chat show, the Dame Edna Everage Experience, in the late 1980s.
His other personas included the lecherous drunk Sir Les Patterson.
Tributes for Humphries poured in as the news of his death broke, including from the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
“A great wit, satirist, writer and an absolute one-of-kind, he was both gifted and a gift.” Mr Albanese said.
In a statement, his family remembered him as “completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit”.
They said Humphries’ fans were “precious to him”, and said his characters, “which brought laughter to millions, will live on”.
Barry Humphries Physical Stats
Barry Humphries was a tall and imposing figure, standing at 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm) tall. He had a distinctive appearance with his bushy eyebrows, sharp nose, and wavy hair, which he often styled into a pompadour.
|February 17, 1934
|Kew, Victoria, Australia
|Comedian, Actor, Author, Satirist, Film Producer, Script Writer, Landscape Painter
|Creating and portraying characters such as Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson
|Lizzie Spender (m. 1990)
|Oscar and Rupert
|6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)
|89 years old (as of 2023)