In the superstitious business of show, it is said that when one celebrity dies two are sure to follow.
And so it is with the passing of Australian entertainment royalty Barry Humphries, as we also mourn the loss of iconic personalities Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson.
Barry Humphries passed away on 22 April 2023 aged 89, leaving behind a legacy of laughter forever punctuated by his wickedly delicious trademark satire.
Through personas such as the vainglorious ‘gigastar’ Dame Edna Everage and the uncultured ‘cultural attaché’ Sir Les Patterson, Humphries delivered searing wit and razor-sharp commentary with outrageous aplomb.
His work as Edna and Les made Barry a pillar of Australian comedy and culture, not to mention an international icon, and his impact has been likened to that of timeless comic Charlie Chaplin.
The characters also allowed Barry Humphries creative licence to tread where other comedians couldn’t, or simply wouldn’t dare.
Complete opposites of one another, the uncouth and uncultured Sir Les lampooned the most basal aspects of Australian and Australians. Meanwhile, Dame Edna targeted our higher aspirations while hobnobbing with celebrities and bringing them down a peg or two.
In Dame Edna and Sir Les, we bid farewell to our beloved, bespectacled grandmother and a boorish, sleazy uncle.
But Barry – the man behind the cat-eye glasses and wisteria hue hair – will always be remembered as one of our favourite entertainers.
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