Barry Humphries
by Ronald P. Kane

Better known these days as ‘Dame Edna," Humphries’ two best LP’s of the 70’s were done in England for Charisma: The Sound of Edna and Housewife Superstar. The latter LP introduced Sir Les Patterson to the vinyl universe.

His recording career began in his native Australia in the 1950s. Dear Beryl, a sketch found on one of his early EPs, was known to have been a favorite of Charisma artist Sir John Betjeman (the one-time Poet Laureate of England). Legend has it that Betjeman could recite it from memory.

Humphries went to England at the beginning of the 60s and was an Original Cast member of Oliver! (and yes, he does appear on the Decca Original Cast LP of 1960). Later, he was invited by Peter Cook to perform at "Establishment," Cook’s satirical nightclub, where he introduced Mrs. Norm Everage, later to become Dame Edna. The British public initially exhibited tremendous indifference.

In the 60s & early 70s, he kept making records for the Australian market, notably for EMI & Philips before arriving at Charisma in England. And, of course, after Charisma, he went on to make lots of records for EMI Australia, Epic UK, Naxos and more – ultimately arriving at his own production company’s label, Tamarin.

He has also written numerous books, made 3 feature films and acted in countless other feature films, had several TV series, as well as having considerable success on the stage in England, Australia, Canada and the U.S., mostly as Dame Edna.

©2004 Mark J. Moerman. This information may not be reposted without permission and proper acknowledgement.