Barry Humphries Plans to Retire Famed Dame Edna Everage Character

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19 Mar 2012

Dame Edna Everage
Dame Edna Everage
Photo by Greg Gorman

Barry Humphries plans to retire his two most famous characters, Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson, according to the Sydney Telegraph.

"Look, the fact of the matter is that I'm beginning to feel a bit senior," the 78-year-old Humphries told the Sydney Telegraph. "It's the best aerobics you could do, leaping around on stage, but it's gruelling when there are other things to do....I've got a contract to write another book, there are places I want to go, things I want to do (including) more painting."

The actor's upcoming Australian tour, which is titled Eat Pray Laugh!, will be the last time Dame Edna and Sir Les will be seen live. "Edna will crop up on television, I guess, but not in a live show," Humphries admitted.

Dubbed Australia's First Lady, Dame Edna is the invention of Barry Humphries, a successful character actor in Europe and Australia; he's also 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. In 2004-05, her Back With a Vengeance played Broadway and earned a Tony nomination for Special Theatrical Event. Edna also joined Michael Feinstein in 2010 in Broadway's All About Me.