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Barry Humphries: The Inimitable Barry Humphries

Barry Humphries: The Inimitable Barry Humphries

If you asked even most Australians to name their nation’s most important entertainment export, they might say Nicole Kidman or Russell Crowe or Olivia Newton-John or Mel Gibson or the Bee Gees, or some other singer or movie star. And if “important” here means simply “famous,” they would be right. The people I’ve just listed are global figures, even though none of them was actually born in Australia. But for many Australians of my generation, if “important” means something closer to talented or even touched by genius, these celebrities are put in the shade by a native-born comic performer whose fame never reached much beyond his homeland and that of his forebears. In fact, his fictional creations overshadowed and transcended his own reputation. Those that might instantly recognize Dame Edna Everage, Les Patterson, and other celebrities may have difficulty remembering Barry Humphries. He died in Sydney, Australia, last week, at the age 89.

Humphries is one of the Australians who were in Humphries’ group. wunderkinds The 1960s were a time of great change in Britain. These included art historian Robert Hughes, feminist author Germaine Greer and poet, critic and entertainer Clive James. It has now become a journalistic…

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