Barry Humphries, Comedian Known For Dame Edna Everage Persona, Dies At 89

Barry Humphries, the Australian actor and comedian best known for his larger-than-life alter ego, Dame Edna Everage, has died at 89. As reported by the BBC, Humphries passed away in a Sydney hospital from complications following hip surgery, having had a fall in February.

Humphries was a beloved fixture of both Australian and British entertainment. He moved to the UK in 1959 and quickly became a core part of the comedy scene, hosting his own talk show, "The Dame Edna Experience," as well as other series and specials including "Dame Edna's Neighborhood Watch," "Dame Edna Kisses It Better," and "The Dame Edna Treatment." The character was known for her purple-tinted bouffant hair, signature diamante-studded glasses, colorful fashion choices, and her signature greeting: "Hello, possums!"

U.S. audiences may be familiar with Dame Edna from an appearance in "Saturday Night Live" in 1977, and for her 1990s celebrity talk show "Dame Edna's Hollywood," as well as touring stage shows across North America. Humphries also voiced the Australian-accented shark Bruce in Pixar's 2003 animated film "Finding Nemo," played game show host Bert Schnick in the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" sequel "Shock Treatment," and provided the voice and motion capture performance for the Great Goblin in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

Farewell, possum

Pictured above (L) with legendary producer Cameron Mackintosh, Humphries was a mainstay of the stage as well as the screen. In his roles as Dame Edna Everage and his other well-known alter ego, Sir Les Patterson, he spent more than seven decades performing live comedy, including his Olivier Award-winning show "A Night With Dame Edna." He also played the role of Fagin in "Oliver!" and appeared in the West End musical "Maggie May," along with other theatrical roles.

Humphries' family released a statement confirming his death (via ABC News), telling his friends and fans that, "He was completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit." They added, "With over 70 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."

Indeed, Humphries himself stated those intentions in a recent interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. Though he said his fall and the subsequent hip replacement had left him in "agony," he was already making plans to work around it during his upcoming tour. Joking that with his new titanium hip, people could call him "Bionic Bazza." Humphries mused, "I sit a lot in the show, and there's a bit of pacing ... I don't think it's going to be a problem, but I do have to get on with my physio."

Though he unfortunately didn't make it to his next tour, Humphries brought joy and laughter to several generations over his years on the stage and screen, and he'll be greatly missed by his fans.