Dame Edna told to rest by doctors

LONDON - Australian comic Barry Humphries has been ordered to rest for six months because of complications over appendix surgery, a spokesman for the Magners Glasgow International Comedy Festival said on Sunday.

Humphries, the creator of Australian characters Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson, had his appendix removed at the end of December.

The enforced rest means Humphries, 73, has been forced to cancel a North American tour - due to start later this month - as well as his only British-scheduled appearance in Glasgow in March.

"He's going in for surgery this week as there have been complications," a spokesman for the Glasgow International Comedy Festival told Reuters. "He has been told by his doctors to take a six-month rest."

Humphries, who was born in Melbourne, created the character of housewife Edna Everage in 1955, teasing the suburbs for their morning teas and social graces in caustic commentaries that left people unsure whether to be embarrassed or to laugh.

Four years later Humphries left Australia, heading to London where he appeared in numerous West End productions during the 1960s, including the musicals "Oliver" and "Maggie May".

In the 1970s Humphries put Edna on the British stage, along with his other satirical characters Barry McKenzie, the progenitor of Crocodile Dundee, trade union con-man Lance Boyle, and Sir Les.

That was just the start of a string of productions in London that led to Dame Edna - she awarded herself the title in 1974 - having her own television talk shows, television specials and a series of books.

Humphries cracked the US market in 2000, winning a Tony award for the show "Dame Edna: The Royal Tour" on Broadway. He also appeared in the US television sitcom "Ally McBeal".

- REUTERS

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