When Michael L. Walters first donned the “wisteria” coif and rhinestone glasses in early 1999, he never dreamed he would still be performing the character today - not to mention gaining the blessing of Dame Edna’s original creator, Barry Humphries or having the honor of appearing at a special event on Humphries’ birthday in 2010. Walters says he was equally surprised when he discovered that producers all over the world would be eager to present his impeccable impersonation.
“My ‘life as Edna” started at a mystery dinner in Orlando, Florida. The cast all performed multiple roles - sort of a rotation. There was this new character based on the archetype of a psychotic cooking show host, and on one seemed to strike the right tone to pull it off. They asked me to do it, and for some reason I thought ’Dame Edna!’ I wouldn’t call Edna psychotic like this character was, but there was something about the character’s lines that seemed to fit. They got me a purple wig and a pair of rhinestone glasses - and off I went. I’ll admit my early attempts at the voice and mannerisms left a lot to be desired in terms of real impersonation, but some how or another it was a hit! I was having a blast and getting good laughs. Then strangely enough, audience members would approach me after the show and ask if they could have the character appear at their party or charity event. Always the starving artist, I leapt at the chance. The character has really evolved and become part of me. It’s always a wild ride and I am so grateful to Barry (Humphries) for his genius and support.