Barry Humphries, the man behind the flamboyant stage character Dame Edna, will retire, according to U.K.’s The Independent. The comedian will retire his famous drag persona as well as his other character, Sir Les Patterson, after completing the Australian tour of his new show Eat Pray Laugh! this summer.
Humphries created Dame Edna in 1955 while touring Australia. The character was bestowed the title of Dame by Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in the 1974 film Barry McKenzie Holds His Own. Humphries used Edna to comment on the U.K. political and social scene on the 1980s. In the late 1980s, Edna became host of the popular talk show The Dame Edna Experience. The character also wrote an autobiography titled My Gorgeous Life. Humphries says that despite retirement, he is working on another book by the purple-haired diva.
Dame Edna last appeared on Broadway in the 2010 show All About Me, co-starring Michael Feinstein. Her other credits include Dame Edna: The Royal Tour (winner of a special Tony Award in 2000) and Dame Edna: Back with a Vengeance (nominated for a Best Special Theatrical Event Tony in 2005). Humphries made his Broadway debut in 1963 in Oliver!.