My Secret Life: Barry Humphries

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The Independent Online

Barry Humphries CBE was born on 17 February 1934, in Melbourne, Australia. Best known for his alter-ego, Dame Edna Everage, he is a comedian and satirist but has also worked as a film producer, writer and star of musical theatre. He is an accomplished painter and is currently working on HP's "What do you have to say?" campaign to provide art which the public can personalise and print online. He lives in London.

I drive/ride...a small fleet of Volkswagen Passats. They are reliable and Volkswagen always take good care of me. When I am in Australia I tend to walk more as you can guarantee sunshine in the summer months.

If I have time to myself...I paint extraordinarily accomplished landscapes and portraits. I have showcased my work in galleries in Australia since 1951. It is great to know that others enjoy my work.

You wouldn't know it but I'm no good at...any kind of sport. I have no interest in any way, shape or form.

You may not know it but I'm very good at...driving, believe it or not.

A book that changed me...The Treasure Hunters, Enid Blyton's novel for children, published in 1940.

Movie heaven...Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr Caligari the German expressionist horror film.

Comfort eating...pasta. My wife is an accomplished cook and has even published two cookbooks.

When I was a child I wanted to be...a magician. Sadly, I never learnt the skills needed to perform.

I wish I'd never worn...bedsocks. Not the most flattering piece of clothing.

All my money goes on...rare books. I have quite an extensive collection, including some fantastic novels that many people have not heard of.

At night I dream of...babes!

My favourite building...St Pancras Station the original design [by William Henry Barlow] has been restored and enhanced with the new extension.

My biggest not being a cocktail pianist.

It's not fashionable but I like...whistling. I seem to whistle wherever I go much to the annoyance of other people.

The shop I can't walk past...Harold Moores Record Shop on Great Marlborough Street, London W1. Music is another one of my passions and this place is full of hidden gems.

My favourite work of art...I appreciate many artists but if I had to pick it would be the Tiepolo frescoes in the Residenz in Wrtzburg, Germany.

The soundtrack to my life...Mahler's Ninth Symphony, which I listen to all the time.

The best invention ever...The jaffle iron, as we call it in Australia. You can make great sandwiches when you don't want to cook something properly.

My favourite journey is...the one from the dressing room to the stage.