Barry Humphries spent seven decades making audiences laugh both through his timeless parody characters and own unashamed wit.
The Australian performer died on Saturday at the age of 89 after years of performing on both stage and television.
His characters ranged from the high-camp of Dame Edna Everage, to the sleaze of Aussie statesman Sir Les Patterson.
Here is a selection of Humphries’ quotes, from and about his alter-egos.
– On humour
“I was born with a priceless gift, the ability to laugh at the misfortunes of others.”
“I can laugh at myself, I think it’s one of the precious things Dame Nature gave me … I think if you can’t laugh at yourself you might be missing the joke of the century.”
“I like anyone who can make me and an audience laugh.”
– On political correctness
“Les Patterson can say things that are completely incorrect, and it’s a relief to express views which we privately hold, but dare not publicly ventilate – otherwise we’d be history… our careers would be over.”
“In the early 60s, I felt Edna had run out of steam. But no, she proved indestructible – and a very useful mouthpiece. She can say things, for instance, about political correctness that I couldn’t possibly express.”
“I love making an audience gasp. I don’t crave the sound of applause. I crave the sound of sharply indrawn breath. That’s a good sound.”
– On Australia
“You mustn’t judge Australia by the Australians” – as Dame Edna.
“To live in Australia permanently is rather like going to a party and dancing all night with one’s mother” – Humphries.
– On politics
“I have very little interest in politics – but my characters have insights which would have benefited the nation if they’d taken more notice of them.”
– On sobriety
“For some people like me, it’s off the menu. It just doesn’t work. I have it in the house for other people. I could give you an absinthe if you want one. I brought upon myself some horrible events.”
– On his fears
“I’m very scared of ghosts. I believe in them and I’m very wary of them. I don’t like to sleep in haunted places and Australia’s very spooky. Ghosts are there.”
– On old age and being in his 80s
“It is a good innings and I don’t know what I attribute it to. But I don’t do exercise and I think that’s the answer.”
“Is there a follow-up to the CBE and if so, how long does it take?”
– On health
“I come from a family who have a great deal of prudishness about illness. If someone was very ill we’d say he hasn’t been very well lately, which means dying.”