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Australian comedy icon Barry Humphries to be honoured with Sydney state funeral

The memorial was previously a toss up between two states.
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Beloved Australian comedian and entertainment icon Barry Humphries will be honoured with a state funeral in Sydney.

Humphries, best known for his portrayal of the iconic Dame Edna Everage, passed away on April 22 following complications from hip surgery.

The man behind the Dame: Humphries was best known for his portrayal of the glamorous Dame Edna Everage.

(Image: Getty)

Following Humphries’ passing, both the New South Wales and Victorian State Governments expressed their interest in relation to hosting a state funeral in their respective capital cities however, according to the Herald Sun, the Humphries family allegedly declined the proposal from the Victorian State Government.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed Humphries will be remembered in a state memorial service at the Sydney Opera House on Friday, December 15, 2023, at 11am.

The memorial will air on both ABC, ABC News and Nine on Free to Air.

“Barry Humphries was a much-loved Australian and a huge loss to the arts community,” said Mr Albanese, adding “The Australian Government is pleased to work with the New South Wales Government to deliver a State Memorial to honour the life and legacy of this beloved entertainer.”

NSW Premier Chris Minns echoed the Prime Minister’s sentiments, telling reporters “Barry Humphries was one of our nation’s greatest ever comedic talents, and his passing marks the end of an era in Australian entertainment.”

“The Sydney Opera House is a fitting location for what promises to be a memorable send-off, given the venue’s significance in Australian arts, culture, and entertainment,” continued Minns.

Humphries had been living in Sydney prior to his passing.

(Image: Getty)

The confirmation comes after speculation and arguable confusion between NSW State Premier Chris Minns, Victorian State Premier Daniel Andrews, and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

In an interview with Piers Morgan, Mr Albanese stated that the celebration of Humphries’ life would be across two states, stating that the state funeral would be “…co-hosted by the New South Wales and the Victorian Government, and the Australian Government”, further adding, “My government will be a part of that.”

Previously speaking at a state parliament gathering, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews stated that he was not aware the Federal Government would be involved in the state funeral proceedings, telling reporters “I can’t confirm for you where the service will be, or where the funeral will be.”

In the weeks following the 89-year-old’s death, tributes from across the globe have continued to flow as the world remembers the comic.

Barry and Lizzie had been together since 1990.

(Image: Getty)

NSW Premier Chris Minns wrote on Linkedin, “Barry and his alter ego Dame Edna Everage set the world’s stages and screens alight. The all-time most successful solo theatrical performer, anywhere in the world – Barry was a legend. Defining Aussie creativity and performance for generations.”

“Tonight we lost a legend. Barry Humphries has contributed more than seven decades to Australia’s entertainment industry. And his legacy will love on through his many larger-than-life characters and iconic writing”, wrote Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

Tributes also began to pour in from fellow comedians.

“Farewell, Barry Humphries, you comedy genius,” tweeted Ricky Gervais, with ABC’s Sean Micallef stating “no one has made me laugh as much for so many years.”

The former Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were big fans of the Dame.

(Image: Getty)

King Charles III is also mourning the loss of a dear friend, with a spokesperson for the royal family revealing that the pair spoke over the phone prior to Barry’s death.

Following his passing last month at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, the palace also revealed that King Charles had been “writing privately to Mr Humphries’ family.”

Barry is survived by his wife, Lizzie Spender, his four children, and ten grandchildren.

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