Barry Humphries’ family and friends to boycott his state memorial as Richard Wilkins is chosen to MC the farewell

Richard Wilkins will MC at Barry Humphries’ state memorial at the Sydney Opera House, but it seems the late star’s friends and family aren’t happy about it.

Loved ones of the comedian have chosen to eschew the public farewell which will be held on Friday, December 15, at 11am following his death in April aged 89.

Professor Ross Fitzgerald, who was friends with Barry for 60 years, said the Weekend Today star was the ‘wrong choice’ to MC the farewell. 

‘Like a number of Barry’s friends, I was amazed and aghast that Channel Nine personality Richard was chosen to be the MC at this important event,’ he told The Daily Telegraph on Sunday.

‘I am also very puzzled how this happened. I had someone contact the NSW Premier’s department, who said that everything had been run past Lizzie Spender and the children and had their approval.’

Richard Wilkins, 69, (pictured) will MC Barry Humphries’s state memorial at the Sydney Opera House, but it seems the late star’s friends and family aren’t happy about it

However, Professor Ross went on to claim there are family members who were ‘not aware’ of Richard’s involvement in the service, though it’s unclear if this is true.

The academic stressed his absence from the memorial was not because of a personal vendetta against the 69-year-old entertainment reporter.

‘It is important for me to stress, Richard Wilkins seems to be a nice bloke, but like a number of Barry’s friends, he seems to us and to me and to [Barry’s daughter] Emily to be an inappropriate choice,’ the Professor said.

Loved ones of the comedian (pictured) have chosen to eschew the public farewell which will be held on Friday, December 15, at 11am following his death in April aged 89

Loved ones of the comedian (pictured) have chosen to eschew the public farewell which will be held on Friday, December 15, at 11am following his death in April aged 89

He added that the veteran television presenter had ‘no gravitas and little, if any, sense of humour’.

When asked about the claims, Richard told Daily Mail Australia: ‘I had the enormous pleasure of spending a great deal of personal and professional time with Barry over many decades… and developed profound love and respect for him.

‘I was honoured and humbled to be asked by Barry’s family to perform the role of MC at his State Memorial.’

Professor Ross Fitzgerald, who was friends with Barry for 60 years, said the Weekend Today star was the 'wrong choice' to MC, reported The Daily Telegraph on Sunday

Professor Ross Fitzgerald, who was friends with Barry for 60 years, said the Weekend Today star was the ‘wrong choice’ to MC, reported The Daily Telegraph on Sunday

The late comedian Barry Humphries will get a state memorial at Sydney Opera House next month following his tragic death in April.

The memorial will give fans the opportunity to get two free tickets per person via a queuing system online.

‘The State Memorial will bring together dignitaries, family, friends and fans of Mr Humphries from across Australia and around the world to celebrate his extraordinary career and achievements,’ the NSW government said in a statement.

The tickets are offered through the Sydney Opera House website.

The academic stressed his absence from the memorial was not because of a personal vendetta against the 69-year-old entertainment reporter

The academic stressed his absence from the memorial was not because of a personal vendetta against the 69-year-old entertainment reporter 

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