Australian comedian and satirist Barry Humphries, best known for his gladioli-throwing character Dame Edna Everage, has died aged 89. Described as one of the greatest raconteurs of his age, his achievements as a writer, painter, actor and scholar were overshadowed by his shrill toned and sequined global superstar alter-ego, spreading her homespun philosophy, who was initially based on his mother.
He was born 17 February 1934 6.30 am Melbourne, AU, and started inventing fictional characters from an early age, spending hours in his parent’s back garden dressing up in various costumes.
Despite his talent and great success he did have his demons, being severely afflicted by long periods of alcoholism and depression. A reviewer commented: “It may be that the regular transformation into Edna or Les was partly an act of exorcism. He once confessed to experiencing on stage the strange sensation of “standing on one side watching Edna doing appalling things to the audience”. His other alternative identity was a lecherous, drunken, foul-mouthed Sir Les Paterson. He also created the character, Barry McKenzie, the boorish, sexist, arrogant Australian, who appeared in a comic strip he wrote for Private Eye.
He had an Aquarius stellium in his creative and hidden 12th house ranging from Venus, North Node, Saturn to Sun. A showbizzy, publicity attracting Mars Mercury in Pisces in his 1st opposed Neptune in his 7th house of relationships. And a turbo-charged and lucky Jupiter opposition Uranus was square an attention-demanding Pluto in his performing and entertaining 5th house. A mix of reclusive and over-the-top diva. His Aries Moon was sparsely aspected being only sextile Venus.
Coming to terms with the unconscious is always a necessity with a strong 12th house and it may well be his inner fragility was what spurred his need to create a false identity. Hiding behind a false persona was part of his way of coping.
He also, which may be relevant, had his Mercury conjunct his Sun/Moon midpoint which Ebertin describes as: ‘one’s attitude and thoughts to the male and female principles.’ So he clearly was ambivalent about who he wanted to be. His uncommitted Neptune in the 7th would account for multiple marriages.
Intriguingly he had a marked 13th harmonic, as did Peter Sellers, which is associated with genius and breakthrough but is also ascribed by one astrologer with confusion about identity. Barry Humphries also had an even more noteworthy creative 7th harmonic and 5th – as well as the global influence 22H and leaving a legacy 17H.