Rock stars, royalty and Rupert Murdoch on Friday praised late Australian entertainer Barry Humphries, whose life was celebrated in a glitzy state memorial at the Sydney Opera House.

Best known for his alter ego "Dame Edna Everage", Humphries died aged 89 in April this year after more than seven decades on screen and stage.

A roll call of celebrities and dignitaries lined up to pay tribute during the memorial, which was delayed until December at his family's request.

Following the ceremony, the famed opera house -- where Everage famously warbled alongside the Sydney Symphony Orchestra -- will be lit up in the comedian's honour.

Humphries was adored in both the United Kingdom and his native Australia.

In a message read out by Australia's arts minister, King Charles III said Humphries was a "cultured and erudite man", but that "no one was safe" from his wit.

Singer Elton John, media baron Murdoch, celebrity chef Rick Stein and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber were among the high-profile cast that sent video messages.

"He was a raconteur of incredible genius. I will miss him so much," said John.

"Barry you will never be silenced, your friendship still resides deeply in my heart," Murdoch said.

Away from the limelight, Humphries was known for his complicated love life -- he was married four times -- and sometimes controversial remarks.


A guest dressed as Dame Edna Everage arrives at the State Memorial service for Barry Humphries / © POOL/AFP

"Most nights my brother and I sat in the back row of a theatre praying he wouldn't say something he shouldn't," his son Rupert told the memorial.

Other characters dreamt up by Humphries included the lecherous Sir Les Patterson, and the dull, elderly man of the suburbs Sandy Stone.

His turns as Everage and Patterson saw him achieve international renown, particularly in Britain where he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007 for services to entertainment.

Everage was first conceived when Humphries toured southern Australia as a young actor in the 1950s.

She evolved from a drab housewife to a self-proclaimed "gigastar" parody of a celebrity best known for her catchphrase "Hello Possums".

At the height of her fame, Everage hosted a primetime talk show that attracted luminaries such as Mel Gibson, Sean Connery, Charlton Heston and Chubby Checker.