Joan Rivers on The Dame Edna Experience (1987)

Humphries’ career skyrocketed in the 1970s and 1980s, as Dame Edna became a sensation on both sides of the pond, helped by a series of talk show appearances in which Humphries displayed his talent with a quick verbal rejoinder while remaining firmly in character. Although he appeared, in and out of character, in a number of films—including infamous flops like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Rocky Horror Picture Show sequel Shock Treatment—Humphries’ truest passion remained his one-person stage shows, in which he played multiple character, with Dame Edna as the most prominent. By the 2000s, the character had achieved rare iconic status, appearing in a Tony-winning Broadway run, popping up on shows like Ally McBeal (playing a character with “Dame Edna” as the credited performer), and even getting a run of Australian stamps.


Humphries retired from regular performances in the 2010s, although he was still willing to bring Edna out from time to time. His reputation was tarnished in more recent years, though, by transphobic comments, including calling trans identity “a fashion.”

Humphries died earlier today. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, and four children.