Renowned television personality Richard Wilkins has been announced as the Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the upcoming state memorial of the late Barry Humphries at the Sydney Opera House. However, this decision has sparked controversy among Humphries' family and close friends.
Barry Humphries, a celebrated comedian, passed away in April at the age of 89. His state memorial, scheduled for December 15 at 11 am, is expected to draw a large crowd, including dignitaries and fans. While the event promises to be a grand affair, the choice of Wilkins as the MC has been met with disapproval from some of Humphries' inner circle.
Professor Ross Fitzgerald, a long-time friend of Humphries for six decades, expressed his dismay at the selection of Wilkins, a prominent figure on Channel Nine's 'Weekend Today' Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Fitzgerald remarked, "Like many of Barry's friends, I was both amazed and aghast at the decision to have Richard Wilkins MC this significant event."
Decision Dispute Emerges
Fitzgerald further questioned the process behind this decision, mentioning his attempts to reach out to the NSW Premier's department for clarity.
He noted that while the department claimed the decision had the backing of Humphries' widow, Lizzie Spender, and their children, there are family members who were reportedly unaware of Wilkins' role in the memorial service.
The academic clarified that his decision to skip the memorial was not due to any personal animosity towards Wilkins. However, he, along with others close to Humphries, feel that Wilkins, despite being a respectable figure in entertainment reporting, lacks the necessary gravitas and humor sense for this role.
Wilkins, in response to these claims, expressed to the Daily Mail Australia his deep respect and affection for Humphries, having shared both personal and professional ties over many years. He stated he was "honoured and humbled" to be chosen by the family for the MC role.
The state memorial for Barry Humphries at the Sydney Opera House next month is not just a commemoration of a great comedian but also a moment for fans to celebrate his illustrious career. The NSW government highlighted the event as a gathering of dignitaries, family, friends, and fans from all over to honor Humphries' remarkable achievements.
Fans can obtain up to two free tickets through an online queuing system on the Sydney Opera House website, ensuring widespread participation in this momentous occasion.