More results...

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

More results...

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Barry Humphries, Friend of the Jewish People (1934-2023)

Australian entertainer Barry Humphries, best known for his comic character Dame Edna Everage, has died at the age of 89.

Besides being a fan of Dame Edna, I was a fan of Barry Humphries.

For a start, he was long known to be a friend of Israel and the Jewish people. I had heard this from a family member, and it was highlighted by this appearance of his at a Jewish gala:

The laughter flowed with a string of anecdotes to his interviewer, JW3 trustee Claudia Rosencrantz, the former ITV executive who for many years produced the ITV show that helped to make his name.

But he broke from the humour to recall his affinity with the Jewish boys at the Church of England Grammar school in his native Melbourne in the days when it operated a Jewish quota. His best friend from school is a retired Progressive rabbi in the city, John Levi.

“I rather liked them because they were outsiders,” he said. Melbourne, and to some extent Toronto, had the largest population of Holocaust survivors and refugees from Nazi Europe outside Israel, he added.

As a young boy, he became aware that “terrible events were taking place”, remembering the woman who used to give him the stamps from letters sent by her husband still in Germany. 

“Some of the stamps had swastikas on them and a horrible man with a little black moustache. I valued these stamps and put them in my collection.

One day she stopped giving me the stamps [saying] ‘I haven’t had any more letters’.”

In fact, Barry made his iconic character Dame Edna Jewish (well, kind of):

And I’m Jewish, of course. Yes. I looked hard in the mirror and saw that I was Jewish. My children definitely think I am. I have no real proof, just a feeling.

‘Dame Edna’ would repeat her claim she was Jewish in a subsequent interview, but gave a different rationale:

With my background it was not spoken of, but I could play canaster without anyone teaching me, so I thought ‘well I must be Jewish!’ And I get on very well with North London people. I like the mix of skepticism and humour, and the intelligence of the average Red Sea pedestrian.


The same article revealed Humphries involvement with “cultural Jewish events”, with him having been a patron of the Jewish Music Institute’s Suppressed Music Project, which focuses on composers who suffered under the Nazi regime.

Longtime Israellycool readers may remember this gem of a dig at Jewish BDS-hole Miriam Margolyes, which I posted many moons ago and couldn’t help but see it as Humphries taking aim at her for her anti-Israel ways.

May Barry’s memory forever be for a blessing.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Scroll to Top