January 13, 2008 / 5:15 PM / 12 years ago

Dame Edna told by doctors to rest for six months

Dame Edna Everage poses at the 50 Golden Years of Dame Edna event at Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne August 23, 2006. REUTERS/Stuart Milligan

LONDON (Reuters) - 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 U.S. market in 2000, winning a Tony award for the show “Dame Edna: The Royal Tour” on Broadway. He also appeared in the U.S. television sitcom “Ally McBeal”.

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