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Phyllis Diller Dead at 95

Submitted by on August 21, 2012 – 10:36 am Comments

Phyllis Diller Phyllis Diller is the reason we know such names as Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, and Roseanne Barr. She was comedic genius in a man’s world and is now known as an icon to both men and women comedians.

The hilarious woman, most known for her laugh, passed away Monday morning in her Los Angeles home. Diller was 95 years old. She was recently treated at a local hospital for injuries to her wrist and had been recovering in the comforts of her own home. Her manager, Milt Suchin said that Diller died peacefully in her sleep. Of course she had “a smile on her face.”

Many of our current ladies of comedy responded to the news. Rivers tweeted that she was “beyond saddened.” “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 stated, also mentioning that just last month, her and daughter Melissa had the privilege of enjoying lunch with Diller.

DeGeneres also tweeted about the loss. “Phyllis Diller was the queen of the one-liners. She was a pioneer.” Whoopi Goldberg and Barbra Steisand were among the many other celebrities who posted heartfelt messages at the news.

Diller was born, Phyllis Ada Drive in Lima, Ohio. She eloped with Sherwood Anderson Diller in 1939 after three years at a Chicago music conservatory. The couple later divorced in 1965.

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Diller spent her early life as a mother and a homemaker. She did not start her comedy career until 1955. Then, 37 years old, she began performing at San Francisco’s Purple Onion nightclub. She quickly made her mark and performed for decades on TV shows and in nightclubs, having performed over 30 times by 1961 on “The Jack Paar Show,” a precursor of “The Tonight Show.”

Diller’s name was just as big as the many other guests on the comedy and variety shows of the 60′s. She even had her own show in 1966, an ABC sitcom, but it lasted just one season.

As previously mentioned by DeGeneres, Diller was the queen of one-liners, as she spouted off anecdotes about her marital life and the life of a mother and housewife. She seemed to perfect the self-deprecating jokes and played on her hilarious appearance, that was all just a part of the act.

Diller was definitely a fan of plastic surgery, and even won a special award from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. She had 17 different procedures done by nine different surgeons over the course of 22 years. But she always made it clear that “I like myself. I knew I was kidding.”Phyllis Diller

Because of her health, Diller had retired from touring and nightclubs in 2002. She did however lend her voice to many animated characters, from shows such as “King of the Hill” and “Family Guy” to films such as “A Bug’s Life.”

Diller published a memoir in 2005, “Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse.” A back injury in 2007 resulted in her having to cancel an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in celebration of her 90th birthday. She was however, welcomed in 2011 to a panel with Anderson Cooper as part of the “Queens of Comedy” on CNN.

Keaven Neely

Keaven is a stay at home mother of two little girls. She writes her blog This Mama Is Crazy and also sells her arts and crafts on her Etsy site. Writer of “The No BS Zone”

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