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Sir Les Patterson
, 1999

by Polly Borland

type C photograph (image: 48.8 cm x 38.6 cm, frame: 83.7 cm x 66.8 cm)

Barry Humphries AC CBE (b. 1934), actor, writer and artist, is the world’s all-time most successful solo theatrical performer. After studying law at the University of Melbourne, Humphries joined the Melbourne Theatre Company. In 1955 he created his suburban archetypes Mrs Edna Everage, a Moonee Ponds mother and housewife, her long-suffering husband Norm, and the washed-out, ruminative Sandy Stone. Since the late 1950s Humphries has performed in his own one-man shows in Australia, the UK, Europe and the USA, and Edna Everage’s wild vigour has carried her through such triumphs as Housewife, Super-star; Edna, the Spectacle; and Dame Edna the Royal Tour. In 2000 Humphries won a Special Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, a Theatre World Award, and an Outer Critics’ Circle Award. He was the subject of the Australian National Portrait Gallery’s first large-scale biographical exhibition in 2002; the following year, he was the voice of Bruce, the shark, in the animated film Finding Nemo and gained an honorary doctorate from the University of Melbourne. His many books include two different autobiographies, More Please (1992) and My Life as Me (2002). In 2012 he announced that the touring show Eat Pray Laugh would be his last.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2001
Accession number: 2001.57