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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Barry Humphries

1971 (printed 2010)
Bill McAuley

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 35.5 cm x 49.0 cm, image: 27.5 cm x 41.0 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 2010
© Bill McAuley

Artist and subject

Bill McAuley (age 20 in 1971)

Barry Humphries (age 37 in 1971)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

No Laughing Matter

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2002

The biographical exhibition of Barry Humphries was the first display of its kind at the National Portrait Gallery.

Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency