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Barry Humphries, best known for his comic character Dame Edna Everage, 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”.Melbourne-born Humphries moved to London in 1959, appearing in West End shows such as Maggie May and Oliver!

Inspired by the absurdist, avant-garde art movement dada, he became a leading figure of the British comedy scene alongside contemporaries like Alan Bennett, Dudley Moore and Spike Milligan.

‘Hello possums!’
Dame Edna first appeared in the 1950s when he was living in Australia, as a parody of suburban housewives – based on his own mother.

“Edna was painfully shy at first,” Humphries told the Guardian in 2018. “Hard to believe!”

She became more outrageous as the years went on, and was famed for her lilac-rinsed hair, flamboyant glasses and catchphrase: “Hello possums!”Humphries even wrote an autobiography, My Gorgeous Life, as the character.

His other popular characters on stage and screen included the more grandfatherly Sandy Stone.

He said of Stone in 2016 that he could “finally feel myself turning into him”.The comic actor, author, director and scriptwriter, who was also a keen landscape painter, announced a farewell tour for his satirical one-man stage show in 2012. But he returned last year with a series of shows looking back at his career.

His other credits included voicing the shark Bruce in 2003 Pixar animated film Finding Nemo, as well as appearances in 1967 comedy Bedazzled, Spice World, The Hobbit and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.

He was married four times, and leaves behind his wife of Lizzie Spender and four children.

Source: bbc

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