Phyllis Diller Passes -

Phyllis Diller Passes

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Phyllis Diller Passes

By Robert T. Trate     August 20, 2012
Source: CNN

Comedian Phyllis Diller, known for her self-deprecating humor, died "peacefully in her sleep" at her Los Angeles home Monday morning, her manager told CNN. Diller was 95.

Her son, Perry, "found her with a smile on her face," manager Milt Suchin said.

Diller's career as a stand-up comic, which she started at age 37, skyrocketed in the 1960s, partly because of her many appearances with Bob Hope on his television specials, USO tours and three movies.

She became a pop culture icon for her disparaging jokes about her looks, her cooking and her fictitious husband "Fang." She wore a blonde fright wig, held a long cigarette holder as a prop and laughed with a loud cackle.

One line attributed to her demonstrates how Diller got laughs: "Burt Reynolds once asked me out. I was in his room."

"She was a true pioneer," said talent agent Fred Wostbrock. "She was the first lady of stand-up comedy. She paved the way for everybody. She paved the way for Joan Rivers, Chelsea Handler, Roseanne Barr, Ellen Degeneres, and all the women stand-up comics. She was the first and the best."

Joan Rivers posted a tribute to Diller on Twitter.

"The only tragedy is that Phyllis Diller was the last from an era that insisted a woman had to look funny in order to be funny," Rivers tweeted. "If she had started today, Phyllis could have stood there in Dior and Harry Winston and become the major star that she was. I adored her!"
Roseanne Barr tweeted that Diller was "a revolutionary woman who inspired me."

"last time I saw Ms. Diller she'd a stroke & when her assistant told her she could no longer drink gin, I immediately took her out 4 martinis," Barr tweeted.

Ellen DeGeneres tweeted "We lost a comedy legend today. Phyllis Diller was the queen of the one-liners. She was a pioneer."
Whoopi Goldberg called Diller "a true original."

Francesca Hilton, a stand up comic and daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor, said Diller was her mother's best friend.

"She had the best laugh in the world," Hilton said.

Diller was born Phyllis Ada Driver in Lima, Ohio, on July 17, 1917, the daughter of an insurance salesman.

She had six children with her first husband, Sherwood Diller, who she married in 1939. She married Warde Donovan in October 1965, a month after divorcing Diller. The second marriage lasted 10 years.
She was trained as a classical pianist, but never pursued music as a career. She worked as a copywriter for a northern California newspaper, the San Leandro News-Leader, in the early 1950s.

She took the stage at San Francisco's Purple Onion Club on March 7, 1955, for her first stand-up comedy performance. She appeared as a contestant on Groucho Marx's show "You Bet Your Life" in 1957.

Her long personal and professional friendship with Hope began when the two met at a District of Columbia, nightclub in 1959.

Diller's late-night national television debut came on "The Jack Parr Show" in 1959. Two years later, the first of her five comedy albums, "Phyllis Diller Laughs," was released.

NBC gave Diller her own variety show, "The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show," in 1968.

Diller had a run on Broadway in 1970, starring as Dolly Levi in "Hello Dolly!"

She officially retired from stand-up comedy in 2002.
Diller's "creative passion" was painting, Beverly Hills art gallery owner David Streets said.


Her paintings were "very much a reflection of her soul, bright, funny, happy, whimsical full of color and life," Streets said.

Thanks to
dnfalkenheim for the submission.


Showing items 1 - 9 of 9
nemesis1_57 8/21/2012 7:16:40 AM

Rip I remember growing wacthing her on TV. I can only imagine how hard it was to follow her.

fatpantz 8/21/2012 8:15:04 AM

The funniest female comedian the world has seen.  I grew up to her and Carol Burnett and feel her humour helped make me who i am today.

RIP Phyllis Diller, rest easy knowing you made the whole world smile

monkeyfoot 8/21/2012 9:16:36 AM

Yeah, I grew up on her and Burnett also. They were pretty much the top female comedians when I was a kid. I will miss her.

I'm kind of suprised Mania did an article on this since she didn't really do any genre work and I didn't think many really knew who she was nowadays.

RIP Miss Diller. Say hello to Fang for me.

ThrillerSam 8/21/2012 10:55:13 AM

I also grew up with her... I remember they would spoof her on cartoons as well. Legend for sure. RIP.

zentonto 8/21/2012 6:33:57 PM

What a laugh! I can still hear it.

McQuestion 8/21/2012 9:17:36 PM

 If you're on The Simpsons, then you're a part of cultural history forever. Nuff said.

Muenster 8/21/2012 10:19:21 PM

Gonna miss her. She was a spunky old gal and a class act. Her son says she went in her sleep with a smile on her face. We should all be so fortunate.

doublec 8/22/2012 2:26:52 AM

 Always amazes me how many people think something can be real or relevent ONLY if it's a Simpons and/or Family Guy reference...

But that's a joke Phyllis would have laughed that laugh at while seeing the irony in it . R.I.P. and thanx for all the laughs in my childhood.

domino2008 8/22/2012 4:33:34 AM

She entertain us for generations , made us laugh over the many years , liked her in the Bob Hope movies an on tv shows . I hope she still making them laugh where ever she may be !  RIP



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