Curtains for Humphries' Dame Edna Everage
Updated: 2012-03-19 08:11
By Agence France-Presse in Sydney (China Daily)
Australian comedian Barry Humphries said on Sunday that he would retire iconic character Dame Edna Everage, a gaudy lilac-haired parody of suburbia, because he felt a "bit senior" and was ready to move on. [William West / Agence France Presse]
Australian comedian Barry Humphries said on Sunday he would retire iconic character Dame Edna Everage, a gaudy lilac-haired parody of suburbia, because he felt a "bit senior" and was ready to move on.
Everage, along with the lecherous and boorish Sir Les Patterson, are Humphries' best-known characters, but the veteran comedian, 78, said his current tour would be their last stage outing.
"Edna will crop up on television I guess but not in a live show," Humphries told Australia's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
"The fact of the matter is that I'm beginning to feel a bit senior.
"It's the best aerobics you could do, leaping around on stage, but it's grueling when there are other things to do."
Humphries' turns as Everage and Patterson saw him achieve international renown, particularly in Britain where he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007 for services to entertainment.
He also won a special Tony award for a live theatrical event in 2000, Dame Edna: The Royal Tour through North America.
Everage was first conceived when Humphries toured southern Australia as a young actor in the 1950s and evolved from drab housewife to a self-proclaimed "gigastar" parody of celebrity best known for her catchphrase "Hello Possums".
She went on to host her own 1980s talk show, The Dame Edna Experience, which attracted a huge array of luminaries including Sean Connery, Charlton Heston, Mel Gibson, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dusty Springfield and Chubby Checker.
Her 1990s talk shows, Dr Dame Edna Kisses It Better and The Dame Edna Treatment were just as star-studded, with guests ranging from actors Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin and Martin Sheen to Shane Warne and Ivana Trump.
Sporting her trademark horn-rimmed glasses and wisteria curls, Everage even had a cameo as Claire Otoms - an anagram of "A Sitcom Role" - in the US television series Ally McBeal.
She has also appeared on Broadway and been a frequent guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Vanity Fair received death threats after she penned a satirical column about learning Spanish which drew the ire of actress Salma Hayek, prompting the magazine to publish a full-page apology to the Hispanic community.
Everage also starred in the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, held in her home town of Melbourne, and is seen as one of the most enduring comic figures of modern times.
The coarse and vulgar Patterson came later, first appearing in a Humphries stage show in 1974 and evolving into a caricature of Australian diplomats abroad at a performance in Hong Kong.