The New York Times reports that Barry Humphries — the 73-year-old creator of the beloved Everage — is suffering from complications due to appendix surgery he underwent last month. Doctors have ordered the actor to rest for the next six months; Humphries will also undergo additional surgery this week.
Humphries was due to begin his 2008 tour Jan. 18-20 at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, TX. The tour was scheduled to continue through Feb. 27 at the North Fork Theatre in Westbury, NY.
A press statement from Everage, released on Jan. 10, put the news in a more comic light: "Dear Loyal Possums/No woman is indestructible, not even me I am afraid./I have lived an unselfish life nurturing others with no thought for myself. I call it 'putting something back' and I notice every little glamourpuss in the business has copied this innovative phrase./However, the other day my personal Doctor, after the usual check-up, told me there was a little feminine procedure I needed that could not wait./'Not botox!' I said in horror. 'No,' he said snapping on his surgical gloves, 'but if you want to go on 'putting it back' I have to 'take something out.'/'What about my Austin possums, and my adoring fans in Fort Worth?' I blubbed a catalogue of my favourite American cities. 'They all love you Dame Edna, and they will wait' said Dr Shadenfreude, a Tommy Lee Jones look-alike, if ever there was one./Texas (or any other State) is no country for sick Gigastars, so I will see you very soon Possums./You will be back at the height of your powers,' said the Doctor with a glint in his poised speculum. And so I will Darlings, so I will!/ A joyous heart always/Dame Edna Everage Megastar."
Dubbed Australia's First Lady, Dame Edna is the invention of Barry Humphries, a successful character actor in Europe and Australia as well as an esteemed landscape painter. Some of Humphries' theatrical credits include roles in Waiting for Godot, Oliver! and Maggie May, but his most successful outings have been as Dame Edna, a character he created in 1956. Humphries was given the Order of Australia in 1982 and was endowed with an Honorary Doctorate of Griffith University in Australia in 1994. The Dame found success on Broadway during the 2000 season with her Tony Award-winning show, Dame Edna: The Royal Tour.
For more information visit www.dame-edna.com.