Australian comedian Barry Humphries, internationally renowned for his over-the-top stage persona Dame Edna Everage, is posthumously awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) as part of the King’s Birthday Honours celebrations.
Humphries, who died last month, aged 89, was saluted with the highest honor for “eminent service to the arts” as a comedian, actor, author, satirist and entertainer, and for “the promotion of Australian culture, and as a patron of organisations”. Just six ACs were awarded, from a total list of 1,191 Australians recognized for their achievements.
A law school dropout, Humphries found major success as an actor, writer and entertainer in Britain in the 1970s, both with his Dame Edna creation, the grotesque cultural attache Sir Les Patterson, and others characters. He remained an active entertainer, touring Britain last year with his one-man show The Man Behind the Mask.
The late funnyman leads recipients from the fields of entertainment and music, which includes soprano Marina Prior, who was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her “significant service to musical theatre as a singer and performer.”
Also, Dead Can Dance co-founder Lisa Gerrard was appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “service to the performing arts through music.”
The honors roll marks the first time birthday salutes were awarded on behalf of King Charles, following his coronation in May.
The awards were established in 1975 by Queen Elizabeth II of England and the commonwealth states, which include Australia, in recognition of special achievements by the country’s citizens. Until now, they’ve been known as Queen’s Birthday Honours.
“Recipients have made substantial contributions and had a significant impact at the local, national or international level,” reads a statement from the Governor-General. “Some are volunteers, others have had a remarkable impact in professional roles – many have done both. They are all inspiring and their service is valued by us all.”