Inside Dame Edna star Barry Humphries unusual cancer battle

Comedian Barry Humphries, 89, was aware of his deteriorating health as he had been battling cancer for many years before his death.

The Australian died on April 22 following complications from a hip replacement surgery.

The Saturday Telegraph confirmed that the actor had been diagnosed with Extramammary Paget’s disease in 2021.

The Skin Foundation describes this as “a rare, slow-growing disease that is a pre-invasive form of skin cancer”.

It looks similar to a patch of eczema and is most common in people over 50, but less common in males.

The star underwent surgery after discovering “something unusual” on one of his testicles, where doctors informed him that the disease had the potential to “end his life within six weeks”.

Family members confirmed that he remained positive towards his final days despite his condition.

“’He was completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit.” (sic)

Barry was laid to rest on Friday at a private funeral held at the Bowral estate of his long-time friend and artist Tim Storrier.

His unexpected death meant last-minute arrangements were organised within 24 hours.

Wife Lizzie Spender, and children Oscar, 42, Rupert, Emily and Tessa were in attendance at the Southern Highlands service.

The small service also featured British comedian Rob Brydon, 57, journalist Andrew Neal, 73, and writer Kathy Lette, 64, at Friday’s service.

Long-time friend and film director Bruce Beresford, 82, said: “It was very touching, very warm.

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“Everybody was either ­related or a great friend of Barry’s.”

He described Barry’s death as “terribly sad” as he “watched him fade”.

Bruce directed and co-wrote with Barry in the 1972 comedy film The Adventures of Barry McKenzie which starred the late actor’s famous character Dame Edna.

He also showed his support for the comedian when the Melbourne International Comedy Festival removed his name from their top award.

Earlier this week, the organisers received a lot of criticism for their 2019 decision and their “tribute” post on social media.

Bruce said: “He’s one of the great comic geniuses … how can you take his name off an award like that?”

He told ABC Radio Melbourne that it was “offensive” and “insulting”.

A state funeral in Australia is yet to be confirmed but the family has been in contact with the government.

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